Manas Kar, Sarita, Pradipta Satpathy, Kali Swain and other environmental activists
WHRD and HRD
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on February 26, 2022 regarding threats and, assault of citizen protestors preventing them from speaking to an HC appointed committee and fabricated charges against HRDs by Odisha police.
On February 19, 2022, the High Court-appointed committee reached Dhinkia village to hold an enquiry on people’s opinions on the project around noon. Prior to their arrival, the police organised a flag march in the village and threatened residents including petitioners Ms. Kuni Mallick and Ms. Santi Das to not say anything against JSW or the police and the administration. The goons backed by JSW captured entry points to the meeting venue and attacked those who gave statements against the company. The villagers were dragged, beaten, slapped and violently assaulted by the rival group in the presence of the high-court appointed committee.
The district administration and police failed to ensure the security of the villagers. As many as five villagers, including two women and one child, were seriously injured in the attack by JSW goons. These attacks took place in the presence of senior police officials. The police registered three FIRs against villagers opposed to the project who were present to meet the court-appointed committee, claiming they assaulted fellow villagers and police personnel, and abused them using casteist slurs.
Mr. Manas Kar, Ms. Sarita, Mr. Pradipta Satpathy, Ms. Kali Swain and others were assaulted and implicated in fabricated cases in reprisal for their activism against the JSW Utkal project. These actions on the part of police officials amount to gross abuse of the HRDs’ fundamental right to life and personal liberty granted by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as well as a complete violation of their human rights as guaranteed by national and international laws. as well as the NHRC guidelines. The right to assemble peacefully is enshrined under Article 19(b) of the Indian Constitution.