October 14, 2021
Rai Singh Gurjar
RTI activist and HRD
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on 14th October 2021 regarding the murder of RTI activist Mr. Rai Singh Gurjar and inaction by the Rajasthan police.
Mr. Rai Singh Gurjar was a human rights defender based in Titarwasa in Jhalawar district of Rajasthan. For several years he had been associated with the struggle for the rights of Dalits of the region and had raised issues of corruption in the Panchayat with the use of RTI. In January 2019, he was also elected the deputy sarpanch of the Titarwasa gram panchayat.
On September 18, 2021, Mr. Gurjar’s brother got a phone call saying that the HRD was lying on the road in a critical condition. The HRD was taken to Jhalawar district hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The postmortem was conducted on the following morning, which listed 13 injuries that the HRD had across his body on his head, arms, and legs. It stated that all the injuries were antemortem in nature and had been caused by blunt force and fresh before death. The cause of death was listed due to the injuries the HRD received on his head.
The family of the HRD alleges that this is a case of murder by the people to whom the HRD had complained, but the police planned to write an FIR as a case of an accident. HRD’s brother, a lawyer, insisted on not filing a case of an accident and said they will file a complaint themselves.
On September 19, 2021, HRD’s brother made a formal complaint at Jhalrapatan police station based on which the police registered FIR No. 0306. The FIR named three accused: 1. Dinesh, son of Kalulal Patidar 2. Nehpal, son of Durga Singh 3. Chandra Singh Hada. All three have been charged under section 302 and section 34 of the IPC for the murder of the HRD. However, the police have not yet arrested any of the accused mentioned in the FIR.
We believe that this is a shocking case of willful negligence by the police towards the murder of an RTI activist. The HRD had been consistently raising the issue of corruption and misappropriation of funds by the sarpanch Mr. Patidar. The lethargy of the police and the potential threat to the HRD and his family goes against some of the fundamental duties of the state with regards to the protection of human rights defenders.