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Fabricated charges, use of force, illegal arrests of HRDs by the police in Kaimur district

Sipahi Singh, Dharmenndra Singh and others

Land Rights Activists

Bihar

 

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on November 18, 2020 regarding fabricated charges, use of force, and illegal arrests of HRDs by the police in Kaimur district of Bihar. Mr. Sipahi Singh, Mr. Dharmenndra Singh, Mr. Pappu Paswan, Mr. LallanSingh Kharwa, Mr. Kailash Singh, Mr. Ram Shakal Singh Kharwar, Mr. Haricharan Singh and others are activists with Kaimur Mukti Morcha (KMM), an organisation formed in the 1990s to fight against the Zamindari system and advocate for the land rights of oppressed communities.

On September 10, 2020, KMM activists began a dharna demanding a dialogue with the block administration over gross violation of their rights and non-implementation of forest rights laws. When officials refused to meet them, protesters locked the gates of the forest department office. On September 11, while the dharna continued, some KMM activists found that the forest office gate had been unlocked and went inside the office, where they were physically assaulted. Around 2.00 PM, a large contingent of police from Adhaura police station and CRPF personnel arrived at the forest office, lathi-charged and fired at the protesters to disperse them, leaving severe people injured, whereas one protestor was shot in the earlobe. 

Police subsequently raided the Kaimur Mukti Morcha office and arrested several activists on the basis of a complaint by Forester Mr. Rishikesh Kumar. They were charged under Sections 147 (Punishment for Rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 145 (Joining or continuing in unlawful assembly, knowing it has been commanded to disperse), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 307 (Attempt to murder), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 333 (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 337(Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) 338 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 342 (Punishment for wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code and section 427 (Punishment for possessing arms, etc, with intent to use them for unlawful purposes) of the Arms Act.

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