VISAKHAPATNAM: J Apparao, an associate professor of Andhra University was arrested by the Visakhapatnam rural police during the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday under mysterious circumstances. The police claimed that he was arrested for suspected links with the banned Maoists, triggering tension on the university campus as a large number of students boycotted the classes and staged a protest at the Visakhapatnam rural SP's office.
Apparao who is an associate professor in the Telugu department, was picked up by men in plain clothes from his residential quarters on the Andhra University campus. The family members said that three men knocked their doors at around 1 am on Thursday and demanded that Apparao come with them. "They said they were policemen but refused to
produce any arrest warrant or present their identity cards. We were scared but then they shoved my husband into a four-wheeler and left the spot even before the neighbours came to help us," said Mynavathi, the professor's wife.
The news spread like a wildfire and a large number of faculty members and students gathered at the residence of Apparao. Soon after the dawn, the family members along with some research scholars lodged a complaint with the Three Town police stating that he was kidnapped and forcible taken out of his residence.
As news started being flashed on vernacular television channels that Apparao has been kidnapped, more support was received from students and teachers of Andhra University to the family members of Apparao. The associate professor is a native of Korrapalle area under G Madugula mandal in Visakhapatnam agency area and is a known tribal rights activist who worked for protection of tribal rights. He is also known to be a kind person who helps students from tribal areas and poor financial condition.
Meanwhile, Visakhapatnam rural superintendent of police Koya Praveen responded to the media queries and confirmed that Apparao was indeed taken into custody by the rural police following his alleged connections with the left-wing extremists over the past a few years. He said that the police have been observing the activities of Apparao and have strong evidence against him for providing logistical support including supply of explosives to the banned Maoist party.
Soon after, the family members of Apparao along with a large number of students and representatives of Andhra University Teachers Association rushed to the rural SP's office. Claiming that Apparao was innocent, they demanded that he should be presented before the media immediately. Some members of AUTA even held discussions with the authorities to let them meet Apparao but in vain as the police said that the SP was out of city and would return only in the evening where more details about the arrest would be revealed.
Interestingly, the police did not inform the Andhra University authorities about the arrest which is mandatory to arrest a university employee from the university premises. When contacted, Andhra University vice-chancellor GSN Raju said that the police might have acted discreetly as it was a sensitive and serious issue. However, he vouched for the innocence of associate professor and stated that the university faculty members were holding discussions with the police for the release of Apparao.