Vijayawada: Telugu Desam Party politburo member Varla Ramaiah on Friday urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson Justice Arun Kumar Mishra to order a probe into the alleged human rights violations and illegal arrests of peaceful protesters in Andhra Pradesh. He urged the commission to take stringent action against officials responsible for the deterioration of law and order in the state.

In a letter to Justice Mishra, Mr. Ramaiah said the YSRCP government and the police were allegedly resorting to gross violations of the fundamental rights and Article 19. They were suppressing all voices of dissent and scuttling democracy at every step, he alleged. If the erring officers are not held accountable for their suppressive actions, they will cause further erosion of democratic values in the state, the leader said.

He said the TDP state leadership had called a statewide protest on 28 August against the hike in petrol and diesel prices. Alleging that the petrol price in Andhra Pradesh, at around Rs. 108 per litre, was the highest in the country, Mr. Ramaiah said the protests were held in a peaceful manner by the party cadre and duly following the COVID-19 safeguards. The intention was to put pressure on the state government to reduce the prices of petrol and diesel.

Mr. Ramaiah said that the ruling party unleashed the police force and TDP leaders, party cadre, and the public were arrested, while others were placed under house arrest. Several FIRs were registered against the TDP leaders in Kotabommali, Dendulur, Pulivendula and Bommanahal police stations. More FIRs were booked in order to threaten people from expressing their dissent in a peaceful manner, he said.

Decrying the government's oppressive tactics, the TDP leader said in many places leaders were arrested and detained illegally. The police without adhering to the Constitution and in violation of the democratic norms illegally detained demonstrators, placed them under house arrests, filed cases, and arrested them, he alleged.

Mr. Ramaiah expressed concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and the growing excesses of the ruling YSRCP and the police force. He appealed to the NHRC to conduct an inquiry and take appropriate action against the people responsible.

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