Sandeep Pandey, Rajeev Yadav, Santosh Kumar, Adil Khan, Virendra Gupta
HRD and Student Activist
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on October 26, 2021, regarding the repeated illegal detention of a group of social activists, who were on their way to a peaceful protest at Shaheed Smarak, Lucknow, as well as the action of the police to forcibly take their signature on a document declaring that they will abstain from further peaceful protests.
Members of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) jointly protested against the government for the Lakhimpur-Kheri incident at Shaheed Smarak, Lucknow by demanding the dismissal of Union Minister of State for Home Mr. Ajay Mishra. During the protest, the police tried to stop the protestors. Mr. Santosh Kumar started taking videos and photos of the police action. The police snatched his mobile and forcibly deleted the photos and videos. Police took the protesters to a place called the Eco Garden and forced the HRDs to sign a paper where it was written that they will not participate in the farmer’s protests that were scheduled to be held on October 18 and 19, 2021.
They signed on the paper but told the police that they will participate in the protest. During the detention, the police did not inform the HRDs about how long they would be detained nor did they inform their family members.
On October 18, 2021, Mr. Sandeep Pandey, Mr. Rajeev Yadav, Mr. Adil Khan, and other activists went to protest at Alamanagar and were detained again by the police at Eco Garden, where they were forced to stay there till 5:00 pm.
We believe that these repeated detentions of HRDs in Uttar Pradesh against peaceful protest are a completely arbitrary, illegal, and serious violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights which are clearly mentioned in Article 19 (1) (a), right to freedom of speech and expression, and Article 19 (1) (b), right to peacefully assemble and protest. The government is duty-bound to ensure that these rights are not violated. UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders also states that it is a State’s responsibility to ensure that all activists and human rights defenders are provided with security against harassment or intimidation.