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Intimidation, arrests, assault, fabricated cases against Lutfar Rahman, Wasim Akram and other HRDs

Image Credit :- Adani Watch

Lutfar Rahman, Wasim Akram and others

Land and environment activists

West Bengal

Mr. Lutfar Rahman, Mr. Wasim Akram, Mr. Abdul Momin, Mr. Hanif Momin, Mr. Noor Mohammad, and Mr. Kaif Sk are members of the Bagicha, Jibika o Bosti Rokkha Committee (Committee to Protect Orchards, Livelihoods and Settlements), an organisation set up to represent the farmers of the Dadantola area in Farakka block of Murshidabad district.

They have participated in numerous peaceful protests to safeguard their farmlands, homesteads and orchards since 2021 when they learned that high-voltage transmission lines carrying electricity from a power plant owned by the Adani group in Jharkhand to Bangladesh would pass through their villages.

On June 26, 2022, the HRDs were staging a peaceful sit-in protest in Dadantola village against the transmission lines. On July 2, 2022, a 500-strong police contingent led by Mr. Debabrata Chakraborty, Officer in Charge, Farakka police station, and Mr. Junaid Ahmed, Block Development Officer, Farakka clamped down on the protest. When Mr. Wasim Akram broadcast the argument between police officials and Mr. Lutfar Rahman and fellow villagers live on Facebook, Mr. Debabrata Chakraborty objected, and charged at the HRD with his baton, hitting him behind his head. Villagers took him to the Beniagram Primary Health Centre, where he received three stitches for his injury. The police then resorted to a baton charge, dispersing the peaceful protest and other HRDs who were treated at the primary health centre. The police then illegally detained Mr. Wasim Akram as he was leaving the Beniagram health centre after receiving treatment. Mr. Abdul Momin, Mr. Hanif Momin, Mr. Noor Mohammad, and Mr. Kaif SK were detained similarly from the protest spot.

The police’s action shows flagrant violations of the DK Basu guidelines and run foul to Article 19 of the Constitution which gives a right to freedom of expression and assembly.

Human Rights Defenders Alert issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India to highlight the gross abuse of power by the police and government administration. We requested the Hon’ble Commission to urgently direct the Director General of Police, West Bengal to initiate an immediate, independent, thorough, transparent, and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned incident and depending on the result of the inquiry, take stern and urgent legal actions against all errant police and administrative officials.

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