The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Andhra Pradesh government to form a high-level three-member panel to examine if paramilitary forces needed to be deployed on the Osmania University campus, dubbed as the hotbed for the movement for separate Telangana.
A bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly said the panel headed by state home secretary would comprise the Osmania University Vice Chancellor and Hyderabad police commissioner.
“The committee will take steps in next ten days to restore peace in the university,” said the bench adding, “If any deployment of forces is required in university or surrounding area, it should be done in the consultation with the committee.”
The bench, however, said that, “The state government will be free to deploy civil police to ensure law and order in the university campus.”
The bench was hearing a lawsuit by the state government challenging the state’s High Court order to it to pull out paramilitary forces from the university campus. The High Court order was suspended earlier by the apex court.
With the state government failing in categorically telling the court if the Osmania University students’ stir for a separate state was infiltrated by maoists, the apex court quizzed the state government on its rationale for deploying the elite anti-maoist force “Greyhounds” in the university campus.
The bench sought to know if such anti-Maoist forces had ever been deployed to quell public rallies or meetings organised by various political parties.
Upholding the students’ democratic right to hold public meeting and express their views on any issue, the bench said, “The students were holding a meeting. They were expressing their views on an issue. You cannot prevent them from expressing their views.”
While granting liberty to the students to hold meetings and rallies inside the campus, the bench said such meeting should be convened only after due permission from competent authorities. The bench, however, asked the authorities to ensure that no outsider attend such meetings