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NHRC issues notice to Maharashtra chief secretary, DGP over activists' arrest

Gautam Navlakha
By Our Representative
Taking suo motu congizance of media reports on the arrest of five activists from different parts of the country, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said that “the standard operating procedure in connection with these arrests has not been properly followed by the police authorities, which may amount to violation of their human rights.”
Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police (DGP), Maharashtra, calling for a factual report in the matter within four weeks.
NHRC notes, the Delhi High Court has “already stayed the transit remand for civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha, observing that police have not been able to satisfactorily explain the offence, he had been arrested for”, adding, “The decision on a transit remand for lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj is also pending before the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Faridabad.”
NHRC approvingly quotes Bharadwaj as having told the court that she had nothing to do with the incident for which she has been arrested. “According to her, the FIR did not even name her and she is being harassed and arrested only because of her ideology”, it adds.
“In the case of activist Gautam Navlakha, reportedly, the court has questioned how Pune police managed to get a transit remand from a Delhi court without any local witness. The court has also directed translation of the police documents into English which are in vernacular language”, NHRC assserts.
Recalling the earlier arrest of five human rights defenders – Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut by Maharashtra police – in June 2018, NHRC regrets, it “issued a notice on the 29th June, 2018 to the DGP, Maharashtra calling for a report in the matter within four weeks, which is yet to be received.”

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