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UAPA and other draconian charges on lawyers by Tripura Police for undertaking a fact- finding inquiry

Image Credit :- The Quint

Mukesh and Ansar Indori

HRD and lawyers

Tripura

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on 8th November 2021 regarding an FIR registered against the lawyers under UAPA and other draconian charges by the Tripura police for being a part of a fact-finding team investigating communal violence in the state.

Mr. Mukesh is a lawyer in the Delhi High Court and is also associated with Peoples Union for Civil Liberties. Mr. Ansar Indori is a practicing lawyer in the Supreme Court of India and is also associated with the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations. 

Violence erupted over the allegation of hurting the religious sentiments on October 2021 in North Tripura in which many people were killed and hundreds were injured. On October 22, the Tripura High court took sou moto cognisance of incidents of violence.

To investigate these incidents, four lawyers from Delhi including Supreme Court lawyers Mr. Ehtesham Hashmi and Mr. Amit Srivastava went to Tripura and spoke with the victims and different groups to understand the issue. The fact-finding report was released in a press conference at the Press Club of India named "Humanity under attack in Tripura #MuslimsLiveMatter" on November 02, 2021. On November 03, the Tripura police issued notice against the fact-finding team under the subsection of the section 41A,153A, 152B, 469, 471, 504, 503, and 120B including Section 13 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for their social media posts and statements against Mr. Mukesh and Mr. Indori. West Agartala Police Station sent a notice u/s 41 A of the Criminal Procedure Code to the lawyers on the grounds that it was their social media posts, statements, and report which were responsible for promoting enmity between religious groups and provoking people of different religious communities to commit a breach of peace.

A fact-finding exercise is the fundamental right of every citizen and is a well-recognised right in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. By considering the legitimate freedom of speech and expression offline and online as an unlawful activity, the Tripura Police are abusing their legal authority and violating constitutionally protected rights. 

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