Explained: Andhra Government's Sedition Charge Against YSRCP Rebel MP K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju

Explained: Andhra Government's Sedition Charge Against YSRCP Rebel MP K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju, right, with Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Snapshot
  • Lok Sabha MP K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju alleges that he has become the target of a witch-hunt for criticising YSRCP supremo Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Two days ago, Supreme Court of India granted bail to rebel YSR Congress Party leader K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju in a sedition case. He is a member of Lok Sabha representing the Narasapuram constituency.

Raju was arrested by the Andhra Pradesh CID on 14 May on the charge of sedition after he filed a petition in the Special Court for CBI cases in Hyderabad seeking cancellation of bail granted to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister (CM) Jagan Mohan Reddy in a quid pro case on the grounds of violation of bail conditions.

The rebel YSRCP leader had made many allegations including that of corruption, mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, etc. against the state government.

Raju had alleged that he was tortured in the police custody. Further, in his petition before the Supreme Court, he said that the state government had asked the DIG, CID, Amaravathi, to conduct an inquiry into his “actions in addressing the print and electronic media accusing failure of the chief minister and his government in dealing with COVID-related issues”.

Following his arrest, the statement from the CID reportedly said:

“MP from Narasapur Raghu Rama Krishna Raju has been arrested at his residence at Hyderabad. There was information against Raju, stating that he has been indulging in hate speeches against certain communities and promoting disaffection against the government.”

“A preliminary enquiry has been ordered by ADG CID PV Sunil Kumar IPS. It was found that through his speeches Raju was indulging in a systematic, schematic effort to cause tensions among the communities and by attacking various government dignitaries in a way which will cause loss of faith in the government which they represent. There is hate speech against communities and social groups also, which was used to foment social and public order disturbances in conspiracy with a few media channels,” it further read.

On the orders of the CID ADG, a case was registered against the MP under Sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 505 (statements conducing public mischief) read with 120B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

The Narasapuram Lok Sabha MP was medically examined and whole procedure video-graphed at the Army Hospital at Secunderabad, Telangana at the intervention of the Supreme Court. The report found a fracture in the toe area of the left foot and other injuries.

The court stated that the report of his medical examination indicated that he may possibly have been ill-treated in custody, and granted him bail.

Appearing for Raju, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi said, “If this happens to a sitting MP what will happen to a ordinary person?”. He told the bench that since Raju has been critical of CM Jagan Mohan Reddy, the sedition charge was added just to make his bail difficult.

Raju has alleged that he is the target of a witch-hunt after parting ways with YSRCP supremo Jagan Mohan. The differences between the two came to light in 2019 after the former criticised the chief minister’s policy to convert state’s Telugu medium schools to English medium.

In October 2020, Raju wrote a letter to PM Modi, alleging that the Andhra Pradesh government was promoting conversion to Christianity in the state in violation of the Indian Constitution.

He said that the Christian population had increased from 1.8 per cent in 2011 to 25 per cent through conversion. He said that there were about 33,000 churches in the state, equivalent to Hindu temples. However, the demographic change was not officially entering the government records.

He alleged that those who converted had entered the legislatures and other lucrative government jobs with fake caste certificates to take advantage of reservations. He urged that these mistakes be rectified in the 2021 census and measures be taken to make reservations available only to those who are eligible.

Raju’s counsel Senior Advocate Rohatgi also told the Supreme Court that Raju has only been criticising the government and not engaged in sedition. “Sedition means causing disaffection and trying to overthrow the govt. That is sedition,” he said.

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave appearing for the state of Andhra Pradesh argued against the bail, and said that Raju had targeted Reddy, and Christian community, thus inciting communal disharmony. He also suggested that the injuries found by the medical personnel on Raju were “self-inflicted”.

While the court granted bail to Raju, it imposed several conditions, including that he would not give any interview to the media with regard to the case or show his injuries.

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