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Threats, intimidation and fabricated charges against Bhagwan Kisku and other HRDs by Jharkhand Police for protesting against security camps

Image Credit :- The New Indian Express

Bhagwan Kisku, Anil Kisku, and Arjun Marandi

HRDs

Jharkhand

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on September 27, 2021, regarding the fabricated charges against HRDs Mr. Bhagwan Kisku, Mr. Anil Kisku, Mr. Arjun Marandi, and others by the Jharkhand police for protesting against the establishment of security camps in Jharkhand without due process.

Mr. Bhagwan Kisku is an activist with Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikash Andolan, Mr. Anil Kishku is with the Jharkhand Krantikari Mazdoor Trade Union and Mr. Marandi is associated with civil society groups and trade unions. 

Reports appeared in local media stating new CRPF camps would be established in Banpura, Dholkatta, Tesaphuli, Parbatpur, and Mohanpura villages in Giridih. Local villagers started several peaceful protests near new campsites in the respective areas against the police and CRPF and demanded a rollback of the camps. On December 6, 2021, Mr. Bhagwan Kisku and 16 other HRDs from Dholkatta met Chief Minister Mr. Hemant Soren in Ranchi and urged him to protect villagers from police repression and stop the establishment of the security camps. Since construction work on the CRPF camp in Parbatpur commenced within a few days of the meeting around 4,000 villages from Dumri and Pirtand blocks organised a protest on December 23, 2020. Various persons including Mr. Bhagwan Kisku took turns to express their opposition against setting up of the camps. In this meeting, main speaker was Giridih MLA and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Mr. Sudip Kumar Sonu, who gave assurance to raise his voice against this matter. 

The next day an FIR was s registered in Khukhra Police Station against the organisers and participants of the meeting under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. The HRDs were unaware of the charges against them. Mr. Kisku received a call from Khukhra Police Station Officer in Charge who informed him about the charges and alerted him that any moment he could be arrested and asked him to visit to the police station. When the HRD reached there, the officer in charge didn’t provide an FIR Copy or discuss details of the charges against him instead asked him to work for the police by offering good money. But Mr. Kisku refused and left the police station.

The entire incident shows that the HRDs are being targeted for opposing the CRPF camps being set up in Giridih. They were protesting against the legal procedural violations around setting up security camps where no approval was taken under Section 4(i) of the Provisions of the Panchayat (Scheduled Areas) Act along with violation of Section 2(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act. 

Mr. Kisku has been intervening in cases of human rights violations and protesting peacefully for a long. Filing a false case on him is an act of intimidating the HRD by the police to prevent him from exercising his rights of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly guaranteed under Article 19 (a) and (b) of the Indian Constitution. It is also a violation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders which directs the states to ensure the protection of HRD in exercising their freedom of speech and expression. 

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