Dhirendra Pratap and Yogendra Pratap
Dalit Human Rights Defenders
HRDA and NDMJ jointly issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on September 28, 2020 regarding the abduction, illegal detention and torture Mr. Dhirendra Pratap and Mr. Yogendra Pratap by Uttar Pradesh Police in Gorakhpur. Mr. Dhirendra Pratap is a Dalit rights activist and national president of Purvanchal Sena – an organisation working against the oppression of Dalits, whereas Mr. Yogendra Pratap is his brother.
Mr. Pratap had supported a Dalit candidate in the recent panchayat election by helping him file a complaint under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act against Mr. Vivek Shahi, Gram Pradhan of village Kusmaul, Gorakhpur, but Mr. Shahi was not arrested.
On September 18, 2020, at around 2 AM, 20-25 armed policemen from Crime Branch Unit, Gorakhpur forcibly entered Mr. Pratap’s home and ransacked the house. When Mr. Pratap’s father questioned them, he was pushed to the ground. Women in the family were harassed, and his younger brother’s phone – on which he was recording the incident – was snatched. Both brothers were forcibly taken away by policemen. They were taken to the district hospital for medical examination at around 3 PM, and were sent to Gorakpur district jail in a case filed by Mr. Amit Kumar Chaturvedi, Sub-Inspector at Cantt Police Station, Gorakhpur under Sections 307, 353 and 332 of the Indian Penal Code. When Mr. Pratap’s father visited local police stations in search of his sons the next day, police refused to share any information.