Deepmala Kumari, Kareeb Ansari, Rampratap Sau, Rampravesh Chandravanshi and Md. Mostaque Ansari
Ms. Deepmala Kumari, Mr. Kareeb Ansari, Mr. Rampratap Sau and Mr. Rampravesh Chandravanshi are well known social activists in Garhwa district of Jharkhand. They have been working in the areas of constitutional rights of adivasis, ration, pension, NREGA, Panchayati raj and so on for several years.
Mr. Mostaque Ansari is a journalist and Editor of the portal Greenline News. He has reported on corruption, violation of the constitutional rights of tribal, human rights violations by police and so on.
On August 18, 2022, at around 5 AM, the residents of Hasandag village in Meral block of Garhwa discovered the body of Mr. Nathan Chaudhury (70 yrs), a fellow villager, who had gone missing the previous day. A police team led by Mr. Lal Bihari, Officer in Charge was on the case and detained four individuals, but let them off soon after.
On August 20, 2022 family members of the deceased Mr. Chaudhury and other villagers from Hasandag began gathering in hundreds in front of Meral Police Station. They staged a peaceful protest, demanding disciplinary action against Mr. Lal Bihari, a fair probe into the murder case and arrest of the accused. During the course of the protest, Mr. Lal Bihari’s actions led to a violent situation which led to a brutal crackdown of the protest involving multiple baton-charges and the use of tear gas. In the aftermath of the protest, an FIR was registered against 19 villagers including those who had no hand in the violence, and 400-500 unnamed persons.
HRDs like Ms. Deepmala Kumari, Mr. Kareeb Ansari, Mr. Rampratap Sau, Mr. Rampravesh Chandravanshi and Md. Mostaque Ansari were falsely implicated and booked under stringent sections despite there being clear evidence that they were trying to calm the situation.
Human Rights Defenders Alert issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission, urging it to direct the Director General of Police of Jharkhand to initiate an immediate inquiry into the assault and use of disproportionate force by police protestors and demanding justice in a murder case in Garhwa.