Skip to main content

Detained "without charges", Allahabad HC orders police to produce adivasi women rights activists by Sept 7

Sukalo Gond
By Our Representative
In a major breakthrough, the Allahabad High Court has directed the superintendent of police (SP), Sonbhadra district, to produce adivasi human rights defenders, Sukalo and Kismatiya Gond, detained for more than two months now, in the court on September 7.
The order was issued in a Habeas Corpus petition filed by the Citizens for Peace and Justice (CJP), which is led by well-known rights activist Teesta Setalvad, and the All-India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), on June 29. They were detained “illegally” on June 8, CJP said in a statement.
The detention followed a controversial clampdown May this year on 12 adivasis, including 10 women, of Lilasi Kala village of Sonebhadra district, Uttar Pradesh. They were detained on their way back from Lucknow, where they had a meeting with state forest minister Dara Singh Chauhan and forest secretary Sanjay Singh.
The activists met the minister and the secretary to lodge a complaint against "police brutality" of forest officials. They were reportedly picked up from Chopan station and were held for over 24 hours, during which time they were not allowed to contact their families, lawyers or anyone for help, after which they are said to have been “missing", with the police refusing to divulge their location.
Arguing in the court, advocate Farman Naqvi, who appeared for CJP and AIUFWP, has been quoted as saying, “Firstly they never stated the reason for custody or under what charges these women were being held. Sukalo's and Kismatiya’s names were not even mentioned in the FIR which is why they remained untraceable necessitating a Habeas Corpus Petition.”
Naqvi is also said to have highlighted the instances of how the UP Police made two different contradictory statements. “They made an oral submission in court on July 9 that both women had been taken into custody under section 151 for causing breach of peace, but later released. This submission was recorded by the court in the order sheet”, he said.
“However”, Naqvi added, “In the last week of July they submitted that both women were indeed arrested on June 8 and are presently in custody! We highlighted this anomaly in their statement during our arguments in court today.”
Closely following how adivasi women of Sonbhadra, UP, CJP said in a statement, they are part of a peaceful struggle for land rights and are being “systematically bullied and harassed. Many of them have fake cases filed against them on false or trumped up charges.”
Supporting AIUFWP in their demand for the immediate implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, CJP said, “UP cops have continued to play dirty, just to ensure that these brave women stay behind bars. CJP and AIUFWP have filed a rejoinder to the Counter Affidavit filed by the Inspector of Police, Rupesh Kumar Singh of Muirpur Police station, in the order passed on Habeas Corpus Petition (No 3332/2018 filed by CJP) hearing on August 14, 2018.”
Pointing out that rejoinder “bats for their release while highlighting several serious flaws in the Counter Affidavit”, CJP said, “Referring to several committee recommendations passed in the past, the rejoinder draws attention to the plight of adivasis and their struggle for their rights and dignity, and the specific historical context of Sonbhadra and its Adivasis.

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.