Human Rights activist Balagopal passes away అక్టోబర్ 9, 2009Posted by Telangana Utsav in Essays, Identity, Koya, livelihoods, Polavaram, SEZ.
Tags: Andhra Pradesh, Human Rights, Social Movements
Rights activist Balagopal passes away
Express News Service, 09 Oct 2009
HYDERABAD: K Balagopal, who was at the forefront of the human rights movement in Andhra Pradesh for over a quarter of a century, is no more.
He died here tonight following a heart attack.
Around 9:45 p.m., the 57-year-old experienced discomfort at his home in Priya Colony, Mehdipatnam, on account of incessant hiccups, and this was shortly accompanied by chest pain. He was rushed to a hospital in the vicinity but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Friends and acquaintances rushed over on receiving the news.
Balagopal is survived by his wife, Vasanta Lakshmi, a journalist, and son, Prabhata, an Intermediate student.
A social scientist, Balagopal was the most visible civil rights activist in the State, taking up varied issues, from the killing of Naxalites in fake ‘‘encounters’’ and the arrest of villagers on the pretext that they gave shelter or food to Maoists, to the plight of those displaced by Special Economic Zones.
A brilliant mathematician, Balagopal began his career as a teacher in Warangal but soon turned full-time human rights activist. Along with another well-known civil libertarian, KG Kannabiran, he led the AP State Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) for many years. Later, he floated the Human Rights Forum (HRF).
Balagopal was arrested several times (and was once even kidnapped by Green Tigers, a self-styled outfit — allegedly supported by the police) during the course of his long innings as a civil liberties activist when he toured almost every part of the State championing the cause of the poor and those oppressed by the state machinery.
A decade ago, Balagopal took a legal turn, so to speak. He became a lawyer and fought hundreds of cases in both the High Court and lower courts on behalf of the poor, without charging a paisa. He was among those who argued before the High Court that cases be booked against policemen in every instance of ‘‘encounter’’ death and a bench concurred with the view.
The sudden demise of Balagopal came as a shock to a large number of his admirers and civil libertarians.
Thousands of encounter murders could become legitimate in Andhra Pradesh, but for him and his human rights comrades. The State tried to kill him many times, but he refused to succumb. He helped hundreds who could have been killed in fake encounters. A Marxist who broke away from pw dogmatism, if he writes an article in EPW or on post-modernism in the Telugu papers, it can still creates huge ripples unseen in mainstream India.
“Those Who Make the Grade”, Tehelka, 5 Nov 2005