Journalist and HRD
Mr. Gaurav Bansal (32) is a journalist working with the Hindi newspaper Punjab Kesari. He reports on administration and politics in Uttar Pradesh. On March 8, 2022, during the state assembly elections, there was an uproar at a polling station near Mandi Thana in Agra over rumours that electronic voting machines (EVMs) were being replaced. Mr. Bansal reached the counting centre to report on this incident.
On March 9, at 11.25 am, an FIR was registered against Mr. Bansal and 10-15 unknown persons at Etmaddulah police station in Agra, for allegedly for obstructing a public servant from discharging his duty.
At around 1 am on March 15, around 30-40 policemen (some of whom were in plain clothes) reached Mr. Bansal's house in seven police vehicles. They verbally abused Mr. Bansal in his house and forcibly took him to the Etmaddulah police station, Agra, where he was tortured through the night, verbally abused, and forced to stay awake the entire night. The police also took his car in custody.
On March 16, he was produced before a judicial magistrate, where he broke down before the magistrate and narrated the torture. Despite this, he was sent to judicial custody. On March 22, he was released on bail.
This is a shocking abuse of power by the police, who have flouted multiple guidelines laid down under DK Basu and by the National Human Rights Commission. They have violated fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution. Moreover, torture of any form by any one in an illegal act and must be treated so even when done by the police.
HRDA has sent an urgent appeal to the NHRC Commission to urgently direct its investigation wing to initiate an independent inquiry into the abduction, illegal arrest, and custodial torture of journalist Mr. Gaurav Bansal.