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Brutal physical assault on Dalit activist

Ashok Mahindra

Dalit Social Activist and Human Rights Defender

Punjab

 

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on September 18, 2019, regarding the brutal attack with the intention to kill Mr. Ashok Mahindra in Muktsar Sahiib district of Punjab by Soma Singh and his father Jaswinder Singh Sinder. Mr. Mahindra is a Dalit social activist and human rights who has been working on the protection and promotion of Dalit Human rights for over ten years. He is currently the State Coordinator Dalit Human Rights, Punjab and has been associated with several local NGOs.

On September 11, 2019, Mr. Mahindra was first attacked close to his home in Muktsar Sahib city in Punjab while riding his bike, from which he fell. As he rushed to his home, he was approached by Mr. Soma Singh and his father Mr. Jaswinder Singh Sinder who carried an iron rod and a small baton (lathi) respectively. The assailants attacked him with the intention to kill but due to the intervention of some of his neighbours and other people at the site of the incident, Mr. Mahindra survived the attack, though his right hand suffered fracture and left hand also got injured. He was immediately rushed to the civil hospital at Muktsar Sahib, Punjab where he was admitted until September 13, 2019.

A case was registered against the assailants but it left out section 452 of the IPC(which can be used against an alleged house-trespass, having made preparation for causing hurt to any person or for assaulting any person, or for wrongfully restraining any person). This can be seen to diminish the enormity of the crime committed against the defender. Mr. Mahindra has worked on cases in the past where the police had similarly deliberately left out applicable sections that could potentially strengthen the case.

It is important to note here that sources point to with a recent case he was working on, as well as in the case of the attack, the assailants were linked with drug trafficking networks, showcasing a targeted attempt at silencing Mr. Mahindra by vested interests.

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