After two weeks of absence from work and apparently resting in a farmhouse, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) returned to action on Sunday. Putting an end to all rumours on his health, he released a review meet in Hyderabad’s Pragathi Bhavan. Meanwhile, questions were raised by journalists on the CM’s health and a writ petition too was filed in state’s High Court to know his whereabouts in the last two weeks. Now, instead of addressing the grave coronavirus situation in Telangana, KCR is targeting scribes who expressed doubts on his health and questioned his absence from work.
Investigative journalist Venkateswara Rao who works for newspaper Adaab Hyderabad was arrested and sent to police remand by Cyberabad police for expressing doubts that the Telangana CM might have got Covid-19. Defending his arrest, the Cyberabad police commissioner in a statement said, “He wrote rumours and threatening articles in the time of corona crisis. He unnecessarily spread false news which affects the health system of people. He conspired against the government and people, so that our police arrested him and sent him to remand.” In addition, well-known Telugu journalist Teenmar Mallana was attacked by ruling party Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s (TRS) activists while he was going in a car. He was the one who had recently filed a writ petition in Telangana High Court seeking the details about KCR’s health and his whereabouts.
Slamming KCR’s autocratic style of functioning and crackdown on journalists, the Congress condemned the arrest and attack on media personnel. Guduru Narayana Reddy, a senior Congress leader, said that it was natural to have a doubt on the CM’s health as he had been unseen for weeks that even he expressed doubts. “Venkateswara Rao expressed his doubt and journalist Mallanna filed a petition in HC seeking CM›s whereabouts. How could the ruling party activists attack him? The police must book attempt to murder cases on the attackers in Covid times. The government behaves in an atrocious manner. The government and TRS party are suppressing the freedom of expression in the state.” CPI secretary Narayana too found fault within TRS activists by saying the party was crushing the anti-government voices.
Going to a farmhouse is not a new thing for KCR, but staying continuously for two weeks during these testing times was rare.