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Arrests of Activists in Gujarat

March 29, 2010

PRESS RELEASE
Date: 22nd March 2010

“Is it a crime to work in a democratic and peaceful way for the empowerment and development of Adivasis”?
– Adivasi Mahasabha Gujarat & People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Gujarat.

Mr. Avinash Kulkarni and Mr. Bharat Pawar, activists of long-standing repute, have been working relentlessly for the rights of the Adivasis of Gujarat, over the past 15 years. Based in Ahwa, Avinash and Bharat have been actively involved on issues pertaining to the empowerment and development of Adivasis, through the Dangi Lok Adhikar Samiti and the Dangi Mazdoor Union, in Dang district. Avinash and Bharat have played a significant role in the struggle for the Forest Rights Act and for people’s rights to use, manage and control forests and forest resources as part of the leadership of Adivasi Mahasabha Gujarat, both in the advocacy and struggle that brought about the Forests Rights Act and the monitoring of its implementation across the Adivasi areas of Gujarat. It is a well known fact that they have always worked for democratic and peaceful means of securing the rights and entitlements of the Adivasis and have stood by non-violent means of working for social change.
In the afternoon of 21st March, 2010, about 2 P.M  Avinash  was picked up by Dy. S. P.  Shri Patil under the pretext of questioning and took him to an undisclosed location, without giving any information to his family members or colleagues as to where they were taking him or giving him the right of contacting his advocate. Bharat Pawar also was detained the same evening in a similar fashion by policemen from the DSP office of Ahwa, Dangs. This is a clear violation of Justice D. K. Basu Guideline of Supreme Court.
We are aware of the abysmal human rights track record of the Gujarat Government, not only during the 2002 communal carnage, or the infamous police encounter killings, but also the serious violations that the police and the forest department staff have perpetrated on the Adivasis of Gujarat, particularly over the past one decade. The Antarsuba police firing in which 2 Adivasis were brutally shot dead and more than 26 Adivasis hounded in an inhuman fashion under the pretext of destroying the forest is still fresh in our memory. The Gujarat Police and the Government has lived up to their notorious image in this yet another shameful episode by detaining these activists working for Adivasi rights.

Adivasi Mahasabha Gujarat and People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Gujarat strongly condemns and requests all those who value human rights and human dignity to condemn the illegal detention of Avinash Kulkarni and Bharat Pawar by the Police on false grounds and demand that they be released forthwith.

We also condemn in the strongest possible terms the manner in which the Adivasis of Gujarat are being trampled upon and oppressed, and the sinister conspiracy of the government to decimate all efforts to secure their rights by filing false charges and resorting to unconstitutional practices such as illegal detention against all those who work for social awareness and human dignity. We urge the Gujarat Government to end this Police Raj and show respect to human rights and constitutional procedures.

Bahnubhai Tadvi   Rameshbhai Tadvi     Prasad Chacko      Trupti Parekh        Xavier  Manjooran

Adivasi Mahasabha, Gujarat

Dr. J. S. Bandukwala                        Rohit Prajapati                      Trupti Shah

People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Gujarat.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2010 1:12 PM

    Amazing this face mask that Gujrat is wearing is starting to look very ugly and dangerous.

  2. Rama Mohan permalink
    March 29, 2010 3:57 PM

    Historically it has been proved that Bad always triumphs over good, the Gujarat incident is the recent one to add in the list

  3. Arpita permalink
    March 29, 2010 7:55 PM

    Adivasis are the most vulnerable lot in India, away from the quote people quote ends and mainstream media. Why cant go media focus on these issues?

  4. C.L.CHUMBER permalink
    March 30, 2010 10:22 AM

    IT IS A CONSTITUTIONAL work in a democratic and peaceful way for the empowerment and development of AdivasiS !!!!!

  5. Rama Mohan permalink
    March 30, 2010 11:44 AM

    This dastardly incident on the activists is a crippling blow to Indian democracy

  6. Rajeev permalink
    March 30, 2010 11:49 PM

    “This is a clear violation of Justice D. K. Basu Guideline of Supreme Court.”
    This is not Justice D. K.Basu, but it is

    SHRI D.K. BASU v State of West Bengal

    1996(9) SCALE

    Petitioners
    SHRI D.K. BASU

    VS

    Respondent
    STATE OF WEST BENGAL [1]

    CORAM : KULDIP SINGH AND A.S. ANAND, JJ.

    CONSTITUTION – ARTICLE 21 & 22 – CUSTODIAL DEATH – CUSTODIAL VIOLENCE – Power of Arrest – Requirements of – Whether monetary compensation should be awarded for established infringement of fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 21 & 22 – Held, Court laid down requirements of power of arrest in para 36 of the judgment and declared monetary or pecuniary compensation is an appropriate and indeed an effective and sometime perhaps the only suitable remedy for redressal of the established infringement of the fundamental right to life of a citizen by the public servants and the State is victoriously liable for their acts.

    A. The following requirements to be followed in all cases of arrest or detention till legal provisions are made in that behalf as preventive measurers : (1) The police personnel carrying out the arrest and handling the interrogation of the arrestee should bear accurate, visible and clear identification and name tags with their designations. The particulars of all such police personnel who handle interrogation of the arrestee must be recorded in a register. (2) That the police officer carrying out the arrest of the arrestee shall prepare a memo of arrest at the time of arrest and such memo shall be attested by atleast one witness, who may be either a member of the family of the arrestee or a respectable person of the locality from where the arrest is made. It shall also be counter signed by the arrestee and shall contain the time and date of arrest. (3) A person who has been arrested or detained and is being held in custody in a police station or interrogation centre or other lock-up, shall be entitled to have one friend or relative or other person known to him or having interest in his welfare being informed, as soon as practicable, that he has been arrested an is being detained at the particular place, unless the attesting witness of the memo of arrest is himself such a friend or a relative of the arrestee. (4) The time, place of arrest and venue of custody of an arrestee must be notified by the police where the next friend or relative of the arrestee fives outside the district or town through the Legal Aid Organisation in the District and the police station of the area concerned telegraphically within a period of 8 to 12 hours after the arrest. (5) The person arrested must be made aware of this right to have someone informed of his arrest or detention as soon as he is put under arrest or is detained. (6) An entry must be made in the diary at the place of detention regarding the arrest of the person which shall also disclose the name of the next friend of the person who has been informed of the arrest and the names and particulars of the, police officials in whose custody the arrestee is. (7) The arrestee should, where he so requests, be also examined at the time of his arrest and major and minor injuries, if any present on his/herbed, must be recorded at that time. The “Inspection Memo” must be signed both by the arrestee and the police officer effecting the arrest and its copy provided to the arrestee. (8) The arrestee should be subjected to medical examination by a trained doctor every 48 hours during his detention in custody by a doctor on the panel of approved doctors appointed by Director, Health Services of the concerned State or Union Territory. Director, Health Services should prepare such a penal for all Tehsils and Districts as well. (9) Copies of all the documents including the memo of arrest, referred to above, should be sent to the illaga Magistrate for his record. (10) The arrestee may be permitted to meet his lawyer during interrogation, though not throughout the interrogation. (11) A police control room should be provided at all district and State Headquarters, where information regarding the arrest and the place of custody of the arrestee shall be communicated by the officer causing the arrest, within 12 hours of effecting the arrest and at the police control room it should be displayed on conspicous notice board. (Para 36)

    B. These requirements are in addition to the constitutional and statutory safeguards and do not detract from various other directions given by the courts from time to time in connection with the safeguarding of the rights and dignity of arrestee. (Para 39)

    C. It is now a well accepted proposition in most of the jurisdictions, that monetary or pecuniary compensation is an appropriate and indeed an effective and sometime perhaps the only suitable remedy for redressal of the established infringement of the fundamental right to life of a citizen by the public servants and the State is victoriously liable for their acts. The claim of the citizen is based on the principle of strict liability to which the defence of sovereign immunity is not available and the citizen must receive the amount of compensation from the State, which shall have the fight to be indemnified by the wrong doer. (Para 56)

    D. In the assessment of compensation, the emphasis has to be on the compensatory and not on punitive element. The objective is to apply balm to the wounds and not to punish the transgressor or the offender, as awarding appropriate punishment for the offence (irrespective of compensation) must be left to the criminal courts in which the offender is prosecuted, which the State, in law, is duty bound to do. The award of compensation in the public law jurisdiction is also without prejudice to any other action like civil suit for damage which is lawfully available to the victim or the heirs of the deceased victim with respect to the same matter for the tortious act committed by the functionaries of the State. (Para 56)

    E. The quantum of compensation will, of course, depend upon the peculiar facts of each case and so strait jacket formula can be evolved in that behalf. The relief to redress the wrong for the established invasion of the fundamental rights of the citizen, under the public law jurisdiction is, thus, in addition to the traditional remedies and not in derogation of them. The amount of compensation as awarded by the Court and paid by the State to redress the wrong done, may in a given case, be adjusted against any amount which may be awarded to the claimant by way of damages in a civil suit. (Para 56)

    http://www.alrc.net/doc/mainfile.php/cl_india/143/

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