Dalit Human Rights Defender
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on September 21, 2021, regarding the caste-based assault on a Dalit human rights defender in Rajasthan and negligence of the police.
Mr. Gigraj Verma is a human rights defender and has worked with the Dalit community of the Joharli in the Sikar district of Rajasthan. He helped three victims of Dalit atrocities to register the cases against the perpetrator belonging to upper caste under relevant sections of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
On August 20, 2021, a group of 8-10 people from the Gurjar caste surrounded his residence with sticks, axes, and other weapons and threatened to kill the HRD. During this period, the HRD tried to call multiple times to the police station. Inspector Mr. Kastoor Verma attended the call and received the information but did not send any help. The assailants beat up the HRD and his sister when they came out of their house but fled after neighbors came. The assailants returned back again with higher numbers but fled the spot after HRD’s neighbors intervened. After calling the police repeatedly it arrived in the village late in the night but none of the assailants were arrested. Based on the complaint filed by the HRD, an FIR was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code that night but only after the HRD and villagers staged protests in the police station.
On August 21, 2021, an FIR was registered (FIR No. 0375/2021) against the HRD and two others by the police at the same police station stating that more than 50 people sat at the police station demanding action against the assailants.
We believe that the local police acted with deliberate apathy towards an assault on a Dalit HRD as it is a premeditated attack on a Dalit Human Rights Defender, the inaction of the police might have put the Dalit HRD’s life in grave danger. The FIR against the HRD by the police goes against the right to assemble peacefully to demand justice.