The Jaganmohan Reddy government has ordered the withdrawal of prosecution of youth belonging to a minority community involved in a case of attack on a police station in Guntur in 2018.

Andhra Pradesh BJP leaders, retired bureaucrats and political analysts have censured the state government decision as one based on “vote bank politics.”

An irate mob had attacked the Old Guntur Police Station on 16 May 2018, pelting stones, and damaging several vehicles. The crowd had gathered there demanding immediate action on a youth accused of molesting a 10-year-old girl of their community.

A few policemen were also injured in the ensuing violence and additional forces had to be deployed to prevent further escalation of the situation in the town with a substantial population of the minority section.  

In a similar incident on Tuesday night, although of larger proportions, a huge crowd from a minority community went on a rampage in Bangalore, damaging the house of a Congress MLA, and the DJ Halli Police Station, besides setting many vehicles on fire. A derogatory post on religion has reportedly triggered the youth who resorted to arson.

In the order issued on Wednesday, the Reddy government stated its decision “to withdraw the prosecution against the accused Muslim Youth in Old Guntur Police Stations.”

“Government hereby direct the Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh to issue instructions to the Assistant Public Prosecutors / Station House Officers concerned to file a petition under section 321 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (Central Act No. 2 of 1974) before the concerned Courts, if any, for withdrawal of prosecution against the accused involved in crime numbers registered against Muslim Youth in Old Guntur Police Station, Guntur, in connection with (trying) to ingress into the Police Station,” the GO issued by Kumar Vishwajeet, principal secretary, home department said.

Six cases were booked on the youth in the said PS under various sections of the IPC like 307 (attempt to murder), 324 (causing hurt by dangerous weapons), 341 (wrongful restraint), 353 (assault or criminal force deterring a public servant from discharging duties).

The decision to withdraw the cases was taken last month by Reddy’s cabinet.  

“It is these actions by governments based on vote bank politics that embolden criminals. Shame on YSJagan government …,” tweeted IYR Krishna Rao, retired Chief Secretary, Andhra Pradesh.

“Such stance of the earlier governments led to the situation in Bangalore today,” Rao, associated with the BJP, further said

“This tendency to appease some sections should stop. Wrongdoers should be punished, regardless of their affiliations. The government should stop vote bank politics and uphold the legal, constitutional processes,” Bhanu Prakash Reddy, secretary, AP BJP told DH.

The Old Guntur PS incident had occurred when TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu was the Chief Minister. Police officials had then stated that they would push for a stern penalty for the law and order violators.

“TDP or YSRCP governments are not permanent but our legal system is. The accused can be acquitted by the courts if proven innocent, but such executive orders would set bad precedents,” Prof DAR Subrahmanyam, chairman, Navyandhra Intellectual Forum says.  

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