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Illegal arrest of Dilip Kumar Samantray – Chandpur police, Odisha

Illegal arrest of Dilip Kumar Samantray – Chandpur police, Odisha

On 26th October, 2023, in the evening Mr. Dilip Kumar Samantray traveling to his house from Bhuvaneswar but Chandpur police, Nayagarh picked him up in the middle of the road.   Mr. Samantray is RTI, environmental and animal rights defender for past 15 years as well as advocate. His arrest was not informed to his family or anyone else also no arrest memo served the current whereabouts. It is believe that his arrest was the consequence of filing of case in National Green Tribunal in the year 2022 regarding illegal mining, and the NGT directed prosecution of Mr. Susanta Kumar Barad, involved in the mining industry, along with 9 government officers for illegal laterite stone mining in Mayur Jhalia, Ranpur, Nayagarh District, Odisha. The police of Nayagarh, arrested Mr. Susanta Kumar Barad and he was kept in judicial custody for 54 days before securing his release through bail.  On October 15, 2023, Mr. Susanta Kumar Barad lodged an FIR no. 0183 of 2023, against the Mr. Dillip Kumar Samantray, under sections 294 (Obscene acts and songs), 386 (Extortion by putting a person in fear of death on grievous hurt), 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) and 507 (Criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication) of Indian Penal Code. The FIR states that on October 15, 2023 the HRD abused in obscene languages, threatened to kill and demanded extortion of Rs 20 Lakhs over the phone. Mr. Susanta Kumar Barad also lodged an FIR against District collector Nayagarh and 4 other activist including the HRD alleging extortion, in the month of December 2022, the FIR was found to be false after a through inquiry. They are already 4 cases registered previously against Mr. Susanta Kumar Barad for threatening activists, (including Mr. Samantray) who have complained before NGT against illegal mining.

HRDA India believe that Mr. Samantray was illegally arrested and harassed due to his work as a RTI activist. We are deeply concerned regarding Mr. Samantray being subjected to illegal arrest by the police officials of Chandpur police station in complete violation of the honorable Supreme Court’s DK Basu Guidelines of arrest and detention. According to the DK Basu guidelines, every police officer making an arrest has to prepare an Arrest Memo that records details of the arrest. HRDA strongly believes that the registration of FIR and arrest of an HRD is a act of reprisal for their activism as a human right defender.

We urge the Hon’ble Commission to consider the following recommendations:

A. To direct SSP police Nayagarh District to ensure immediate release of HRD Mr. Dillip Kumar Samantray and Submit arrest and detention memo, CCTV camera footage and police diary of Chandpur police station on October 26, 2023.

B. To direct the Director General of police of Odisha to initiate transparent, independent inquiry regarding the illegal arrest of HRD in violation of D.K Basu guidelines and the Cr.P.C and submit the report to NHRC within two weeks.

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