Mr. Somnath Dugga is a member of the Rowghat Sangharsh Samiti, an organisation fighting against the Rowghat iron-ore mining project in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district. He is also the Gram Patel (traditional village headman) of Anjarel village in Narayanpur, located on the edge of the mine, and has participated in numerous peaceful protests against the project in the past few years.
Plainclothes personnel of the District Reserve Guard brutally tortured his HRD on May 31, 2022 in front of his house and threatened to kill family members who tried to intervene. They subsequently abducted him and continued to torture in a different location.
On June 1, 2022, the HRD’s family received a call from Narayanpur Police Station, informing them that the HRD had been released. They also showed the family a statement bearing Mr. Dugga’s signature claiming the police did not assault or torture him. Mr. Dugga stated he was forced to sign the statement by police personnel. Family members then took the HRD for a medical check-up to the District Hospital, Narayanpur, where he was admitted, and where he underwent treatment for seven days. The admission ticket mentioned police assault and noted that Mr. Dugga was still unconscious at the time of admission, with swelling and blood clots on his back, legs and chest. After his release from the hospital, Mr. Dugga was treated for dislocation of his knee by a traditional healer in the village.
Human Rights Defenders Alert sent an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission on the gruesome torture and total abuse of power of the DRG personnel. We urged the commission to direct its investigation wing to initiate an independent inquiry into the shocking abduction and custodial torture of the HRD and the threats on his family members.