Sandeep Pandey, Nitesh Gangaramani Bharatiya, Tanushree Gangopadhyay, Hanif Haji Kalandar, Noorjehan Diwan, Kausar Ali and D. Gopal Krishna
Mr. Sandeep Pandey is a well-known Gandhian social activist and an educationist. He is a recipient of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award in 2002 – considered the ‘Asian Nobel’. He also works on right to information and other forms of citizen participation in removing corruption and improving the efficiency of governance and is the co-founder of the well-known grassroots organization National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM).
Others who have been detained along with him are noted human rights defenders who have worked for fought for the rights of the marginalised communities.
The HRDs had planned a 180 km long peaceful march/pad yatra in solidarity with Bilkis Bano. The nine-day march was supposed to begin from Bilkis Bano’s village Randhikpur in Dahod district under the banner of Hindu-Muslim Ekta Samiti and was to end at Ahmedabad’s Ajith Mill on October 4. The participants of the peaceful march were staying at the home of Mr. Hanif Haji Kalandar, a local corporator and were to start their weeklong peaceful march/pad yatra in solidarity with Bilkis Bano, from September 26, 2022.
The HRDs were illegally detained around 10.30 p.m. on September 25, 2022. They released them next day in the adjoining district, where they were again arrested by that district’s police. The repeated harassment, intimidation, and arbitrary detention of the HRDs and WHRDs for a peace march is a shocking violation of right to peaceful assembly under national and international law.
We sent an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission to highlight the harassment meted on noted HRDs and WHRDs and urged it to initiate an immediate, independent, thorough, transparent, and impartial investigation into the detention of the HRDs Sandeep Pandey and others for peacefully exercising their Constitutional right to assemble peacefully.