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Women Activist Deepa Mohanan Harassed

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Ms. Deepa Mohan

Woman Activist

Kerala

 

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on 7 April regarding the arrest of Ms. Deepa Mohan who was harassed, prevented from protesting peacefully, arrested, and charged with obstructing the police in exercising their duties in Kottayam, Kerala. Ms. Mohan is a Dalit research scholar at the Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and a highly articulate activist of the Ambedkar Students Association at MG University, Kottayam.

 

Last year, Ms. Mohan had complained against her head of the department, Mr. Nanda Kumar Kalarikkal, that she was denied access to department and laboratory facilities due to caste discrimination. Subsequently, she moved a complaint with the university vice-chancellor who asked a syndicate sub-committee to probe into the complaint.

 

In the afternoon of 13 March 2017, Ms. Deepa, after facing mistreatment by the police in a case she had filed a year ago, arrived at the Superintendent of Police’s (SP) office seeking to meet the officer. She has alleged that a wrong report was given to the high court by the police which led to the dropping of her case, citing lack of evidence. Therefore, she had come to the SP's office to file a fresh petition in the case.

 

After she was denied permission to see him, Ms. Deepa staged a peaceful protest by holding a placard demanding justice in front of the office. Within minutes, a couple of women police officers arrived and ordered her to get out of the office complex. She resisted and posted the incident on Facebook. Since she was protesting, she was arrested under a non-bailable offense with the charge of obstructing the police on duty.

 

In the video in circulation, it is clearly seen that the officers are shoving and forcing her to get out of the office complex. In the scuffle, Ms. Deepa became unwell and sought medical help at the Medical College Hospital in Kottayam. When media persons contacted her, her friend, who was accompanying her at the hospital, told them that she was really unwell and she can’t even talk. She also said that the police have taken her in custody on false charges. The Kottayam police have told the media that she was arrested after she obstructed the officers in executing their duties and that she attacked them. They further said that she had come to the office of the SP with the motive of creating a ruckus.

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