Human Rights Defender
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on October 17, 2020, regarding the intimidation and arrest of Mr. Durai Guna for intervening in an issue of illegal highway encroachment. Mr. Guna is a Dalit writer, human rights defender, and environmental activist.
On September 17, 2020, Mr. Guna was forcibly arrested from in front of his house by four policemen in connection with an FIR dated September 8, 2020. The FIR was filed under Sections 291 (continuance of nuisance after injunction to discontinue), 501 (printing or engraving matter is known to be defamatory) f the IPC read with Section 3 (prevention of damage to public property) of TNOPD Act in Karambakkudi Police station on the basis of a complaint from the Village Administrative Officer in Solluniranpattu Village, Paramakudi Taluk, Pudukottai. Mr. Guna applied for bail on September 15, and was granted bail on September 20, 2020.
Earlier, on February 17, 2020, Mr. Guna had complained to District Collector Ms. Uma Maheshwari and Divisional Engineer (Highways), Pudukottai Mr. S. Sethupathy regarding encroachment of the state highway between Pudukottai to Karambakkudi. He submitted another complaint regarding the same on August 8, 2020, with Deputy Superintendent of Police Mr. Muthuraj and Superintendent of Police Mr. Balaji Saravanan, urging them to take action against the encroachers.