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Handcuffing of activists Soneswar Narah and Pranab Doley of Jeepal Krishak Shramik Sangha

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Soneswar Narah and Pranab Doley

Activists

Assam

 

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on 2 May over the arrest of activists Mr. Soneswar Narah and Mr. Pranab Doley on April 24, 2017, and the brutal lathi-charge on the protesters of JKSS, who were demanding the release of their leaders on April 27, 2017.

On April 19, 2017, members of JKSS held a demonstration in front of the Bokakhat Agriculture Office (BAO) and Bokakhat Divisional Forest Officer (DFO). They were demanding the immediate release of State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) for the poor peasants who lost their life and property during the 2016 floods, immediate loan-waiver for the farmers, 100% reservation to the locals of the Kaziranga National Park in the recruitment of 90 Assam Forest Protection Force (AFPF) personnel from the 5 adjoining districts, immediate compensation and jobs to family members of the victims who lost their life due to animal depredation and excesses of the forest department, and disclosure of the clearance papers of the highlands being constructed inside the core zone of the Kaziranga.

Mr. Doley received a phone call regarding the arrest of five innocent boys from the vicinity of the Kaziranga National Park by the Bokakhat Police without the knowledge of their family members. He immediately went to the Bokakhat Police Station and found that their family members were denied access to their children. When questioned, the police dragged Mr. Doley and Mr. Narah into the lock-up. Later, it was found that both were arrested by the Bokakhat Police based on a complaint given by Mr. Dharanidhar Bora, DFO, on April 19, 2017, alleging that Mr. Doley and Mr. Narah, along with 50-60 ‘jeepal’ members forcefully entered the office premises of the Bokakhat DFO, put up their banner, disrupted the functioning of the government office and threatened to burn down the office. The Bokakhat Police registered the case against Mr. Doley and Mr Narah on April 19, 2017. The case number is 82/2017 under Sections 147/447/353/506 IPC.

The arrests were made without any warrant when they went to the police station to inquire into another incident about the arrest of five innocent boys. They were produced in the court of SDJM (M) Bokakhat, where their bail was rejected. They were sent to Golaghat Jail. The police registered the case against them on April 19, 2017. This is clear evidence that the DFO, Bokakhat and police misused their powers to suppress the democratic voice of locals and activists.

On April 27, 2017, around 200 protesters of JKSS, TMPK and MMK staged a protest in front of the Bokakhat Police Station demanding immediate release of their leaders. The protesters gathered at around 10.30 AM and were ordered by the police to leave the place within five minutes. When the protesters refused to leave the place, police snatched their banner and traffic inspector Mr. Govind Kakoti started beating up the protesters. Mr. Parboti Khaklari, one of the protesters, mentioned that the police started beating up the protestors brutally. Women protesters were beaten up by male police personnel. Only one woman police officer was present when the police started the lathi-charge.

Kakoti caught hold of one woman protestor from the back and tore her blouse. Three members of JKSS were arrested. Later, they were released.  

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