Balan, K Srinivasan and Selvaraj
HRDs and social activists
Selam, Tamil Nadu
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India dated February 17, 2021, regarding fabricated charges against Mr. Balan, Mr. K Srinivasan, and Mr. Selvaraj of Tamilaga Makkal Munani (TMM) and their illegal arrest by Tamil Nadu police. Mr. Balan, Mr. Srinivasan, and Mr. Selavraj are HRDs and social activists associated with TMM, a political party in the state of Tamil Nadu. It works against caste and communal discrimination and the welfare of the Tamil people and language.
All three HRDs had protested against the encounter killing of an alleged Maoist Mr. Manivasagam by Kerala police on October 29, 2019. They also attended his burial. On January 18, 2020, an FIR was filed under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) by the Village Administrative Officer Pudhur accusing that pro-Maoists slogan was raised by the participants where the burial took place. Five alleged Maoists were arrested on those charges.
The houses of all three HRDs were raided on February 7, 2021, by the police personnel of Deevattipatti police station at 4 AM and were taken in the custody without any arrest warrant or following any proper procedures. At the police station, they were kept from early morning till 11 PM and were told that they had been booked under UAPA in FIR 14/2020.
The HRDs were arrested under draconian charges two years after they attended the burial possibly because of their human rights and political activism especially against communal polarisation by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The right to disagree and dissent is an inherent part of democracy and the Indian Constitution. Their arrests are in complete violation of freedom of speech and expression as well as the freedom to assemble peacefully and without arms.