Ajay Prakash and others
Journalist and HRD
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on March 1, 2022 regarding the illegal arrest, abuse and fabricated charges against journalist Mr. Ajay Prakash, cameraperson Mr. Ankit Goyal and taxi driver Mr. Vinod Kumar Gangwar by police personnel of Pulbhatta Thana Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand. The action was taken based on an FIR filed by the Assistant Regional Transport Officer Mr. Vipin Kumar Singh.
On February 7, Mr. Ajay Prakash and Mr. Ankit Goyal were going for election coverage in Uttarakhand in a taxi. Around 12.30 pm Mr. Prakash’s taxi was stopped by Mr. Vipin Kumar, Asst. Regional Transport Officer (ARTO), Udham Singh Nagar at Kichcha area, Udham Singh Nagar. After stopping the taxi, the ARTO told the journalists that their car was being requisitioned for election duty and that they had to find some other transport. Mr. Ajay Prakash protested this and stated they were going to cover the election.
A magistrate and a lady police officer with other policemen arrived in response to Mr. Kumar’s call and the mobile phones of all three were forcibly snatched by the policemen. Then they were forcibly put in the jeep and taken to the police station, Pulbhatta Thana. On the way and in the Police station they were verbally abused by the police. The policemen gave them a notice under section 41 of the criminal code procedure which said that an FIR had been lodged against them and they will be asked to come for investigation or face arrest.
The Uttarakhand police violated multiple sections of the DK Basu guidelines. Furthermore, they were abused by the police officials and were detained for 9 hours in the lockup facing further abuse. The charges against them in the FIR were also fabricated.