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Threats, intimidation, assault and fabricated charges against cultural activist by Jharkhand Police and CRPF personnel

Dhimeshlal Soren
HRD and Cultural Activist

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India regarding, threats, intimidation, assault, and fabricated charges against HRD Mr. Dhimeshlal Soren by Jharkhand Police and CRPF personnel.

Mr. Dhimeshlal Soren is a cultural activist from the Giridih district of Jharkhand. He is the founder of Marang Buru Santhal Sanskritik Opera. He has been actively advocating against deforestation, false encounters, etc. 

Mr. Dhimeshlal Soren was involved in several protests against the false encounter of Mr. Motilal Baske and the establishment of new CRPF camps in Giridh. Based on a complaint filed by an employee of a construction company, whose machines were set on fire, on August 26, 2020, an FIR was registered against the HRD and 11 others under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. Though Mr. Soren was not arrested at the time but on November 13, 2020, fresh charges were added under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act without any prior information to Mr. Soren. According to the HRD, he was available in his village Mohanpur when the incident occurred. He states that he has never visited Kalhabar, where the incident occurred, and he doesn’t know Mr. Yadav, the complainant who identified and named him. 

It is our firm belief that Mr. Soren was targeted and fresh charges were framed to intimidate him and suppress protests against CRPF camps. A raid on Mr. Soren’s residence in Mohanpur was conducted on August 27, 2021, which coincided with work on a road being built to the Mohanpur camp. Uniformed CRPF personnel raided Mr. Dhimeshlal Soren’s house several times between 6 AM and 3 PM in batches of 10-15. While Mr. Soren wasn’t there, they misbehaved with women and abused them, and threatened them severely and the HRD feared being arrested without the proper procedure.

The intimidation and the charges slapped against the HRD is an attempt to muzzle his freedom of expression and assembly. Any attempt to stop him from participating in any protest is a violation of his fundamental right under the Article 19a and 19b respectively of the Indian Constitution, the Human Rights Council resolution 15/21 adopted October 2021, and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998.

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