On September 21, 2022, over a hundred Dalit protestors, including women, started a peaceful protest march to the Deputy Commissioner (DC)’S office to demand a fair and transparent investigation into the death of Vikram Kapdo, a Dalit man. His death was deemed to be from an accident by the police but the family alleged that he was murdered and thrown on the road.
At around 3 pm, the protestors were brutally lathi-charged at the gate of the mini-Secretariat and many protestors were injured. The police registered an FIR against 200 unnamed protestors and arrested 10 from the protest site, who wasreleased on bail nearly three weeks later.
Human Rights Defenders Alert - India, issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission regarding this case. It is our firm belief that the lathi charge on peaceful assembly was arbitrary, illegal and a serious violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right to life and peaceful assembly. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is an essential right in a democracy and Article 19 (1) (b) of the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to peacefully assemble. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution ensures all its citizens the right to life – a life to live without fear, intimidation, harassment or mental torture. Unprovoked lathi-charge on unarmed protestors is a violation of Articles 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. A peaceful assembly is protected under Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
We urged the Hon’ble Commission to take cognisance of the above case and urgently and quash the FIR against the Dalit protestors demanding a re-investigation into the murder of Mr. Vikram Kapdo.