Catching the police by surprise, a group of NSUI activists led by its president Venkat Balamoor tried to barge into Pragathi Bhavan on Wednesday morning demanding that the government cancel its decision to conduct examinations for all final year students in view of COVID-19 .

Disguising themselves as health workers, the NSUI activists landed at Pragathi Bhavan main gate in a van wearing PPE kits. One of them also scaled the iron grill on the main road even before the police guarding the place realised what happened. The group raising slogans against the government also sat on the main road waving the NSUI flags. The sudden appearance of a large group at such a heavily guarded place surprised the police who swung into action and dragged the person who scaled the iron grill while stopping others from doing so. They were arrested and shifted to Goshamahal police station.

Mr. Venka Balamoor said they were protesting against the government’s decision to go ahead with the final year exams of various courses and also to conduct Common Entrance Tests (CETs) when COVID-19 was spreading rapidly. He said the issue is already in the court and their intention was to bring it to the notice of Chief Minister, K. Chandrasekhar Rao. He reminded how students were infected with coronavirus in Karnataka when it conducted the exams.

The police arrested 31 persons and charged them under various sections.

After the arrest, Congress leaders led by the CLP leader Bhatti Vikramarka and MLAs T. Jagga Reddy and D. Sreedhar Babu went to Goshamahal police station to visit the arrested. However, they were not allowed by the police leading to argument between Mr. Jagga Reddy and police personnel there.

When an officer did not budge and allegedly behaved indecently with Mr. Vikaramarka, the Youth Congress president Anil Kumar Yadav demanded that the police treat the CLP leader with respect. He said the arrested NSUI activists were not terrorists and Congress leaders have every right to visit them.

Mr. Jagga Reddy took strong objection to the police behaviour and reminded them that they were servants of people and not the TRS party. “When we were in rule police never behaved so irresponsibly,” he said even as some officers tried to pacify him.

Later, addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan, they condemned the arrest of the NSUI activists and demanded their immediate release. Mr. Vikramarka said it was unfortunate that students were being arrested for registering protest. Mr. Jagga Reddy said such suppression was never seen in the combined Andhra Pradesh when students had full freedom to express their democratic resentment. In separate statements, TPCC president, N. Uttam Kumar Reddy and Bhongir MP, Komatireddy Venkata Reddy condemned the arrests and the ‘highhandedness’ of the police.

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