Raghu Midiyami, Ram Oyam, Anjali Madavi, Sunita Pottam, Ramesh Uikey, Urra Kunjam, Hiran Kowasi and Sushil Korsa
WHRD and HRD
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on January 27, 2022 regarding the illegal detention by the Chhattisgarh Police and paramilitary personnel.
On the night of January 19, 2022, nine residents of Silger village walked through the dense forest and climbed hills for several hours to reach Geedam town. In Geedam, they met Ms. Soni Sori at her home for lunch and took an evening bus to Raipur. At Kondagaon bus stop, policemen boarded the bus and forcibly dragged the nine HRDs out. They were not told why they were being forced out, or where they were being taken. Policemen confiscated the documents they were carrying, which included a report compiled by the Gram Sabha against the CRPF camp in Silger.
The other passengers on the bus were not detained or tested for COVID-19 or charged for violating COVID-19 protocols.
Police officials claimed in the media that the HRDs were found violating COVID-19 protocols, and were detained at the Kondagaon bus stop for recording their statements. They stated that four HRDs - Mr. Raghu Midiyami, Ms. Sunita Pottam, Mr. Rajendra Mandavi and Ms. Anjali Mandavi - had tested positive for COVID-19 and were sent to Sukma district hospital. The remaining five HRDs had tested negative and were lodged at a quarantine centre.
The police did not officially inform the HRD’s families about their detention, COVID status, or the quarantine centre they are lodged in. Their Covid reports were also not shared.
The nine HRDs were illegally detained and held in custody to prevent them from meeting the governor and raising the issue of violation of laws in the establishment of the camp in Silger. The actions of the police are in gross violation of the DK Basu guidelines of detention, arrest and seizures. They amount to an abuse of the HRDs’ fundamental right to life and personal liberty granted by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.