Rama Muduli, Madan Gunija and others
Mr. Rama Muduli is a member of the Koraput Jan Suraksha Sangh, an organisation that works towards protecting the rights of marginalised communities in Odisha’s Koraput district. Mr. Madan Gunija, Mr. Kamlochan Jani, Mr. Purna Maji, Mr. Sundar Muduli, and Mr. Ramdas Pukia are members of the Harsuku Chinamati Sangh, an organisation devoted to the protection of the rights of china clay mining-affected people in Odisha’s Koraput district. They work as daily wage labourers and have participated in numerous peaceful protests and demonstrations against mining activities undertaken in violation of existing laws.
On May 1, 2022 residents of Harsuku and neighbouring villages under the Nandpur Police Station in Odisha’s Koraput district approached authorities at the Harsuku China Clay mine and requested the authorities to suspend mining for 15 days on account of their harvest festival, as traditional customs barred any digging activities during the period. But their request was turned down, and security guards and mining officials allegedly abused and intimidated villagers, which led to heated arguments, pushing and shoving between the two sides. Subsequently, two FIRs about the incident were registered at the Nandpur Police Station. The HRDs were named in an FIR despite not being present on the spot.
Human Rights Defenders Alert issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission over the illegal detention, arrest and fabricated charges against the HRDs. The brazen, pre-meditated manner of their arrest is in violation of multiple DK Basu guidelines raises serious questions about the intent of the police. None of the HRDs were informed about their arrest, the reasons thereof or the charges against them. Neither were they shown any arrest warrant or allowed to inform their families or lawyers before being taken into custody.
We urged the Hon’ble Commission to direct the Director General of Police, Odisha, to initiate an independent inquiry into the illegal detention and arrest and take stern action against errant police officials