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India: State Must Immediately Stop Persecuting Human Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE

AHRC-PRL-048-2012

India: State Must Immediately Stop Persecuting Human Rights Defenders

(Hong Kong, November 06, 2012) The Asian Human Rights Commission endorses the following press release and complaint to the National Human Rights Commission of India issued by the People's Union for Civil Liberties. PUCL has lodged this complaint against the illegal arrest and detention of renowned social activist Medha Patkar, lawyer Ms. Aradhana Bhargava and 21 others. The AHRC has learnt that the administration of Chhindwara has not only detained the activists but also is not allowing anyone, including their lawyers to meet them. The deliberate act not only violates the fundamental rights of the detainees but also amounts to 'torture and ill treatment' and deserves not only strongest condemnation but also action against guilty officers.

Following is the full text of the letter and complaint,

Chairperson,
NHRC, Faridkot House,
N Delhi

Subject: Demanding Immediate Intervention and release of activist Medha Patkar, lawyer Aradhana Bhargava and 21 others and who have been illegally arrested and confined in Chhindwara, Jail in MP. (All arrested under sec 151 CrPC).

Sir,

We are shocked to learn that renowned social activist Ms Medha Patkar of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) and the Narmada Bacaho Andolan (NBA) was arrested yesterday from the house of Ms Aradhana Bhargava in Chhindwara, MP. Medha Patkar and others had gone to the house of Aradhana Bhargava as the latter had been arrested on the 3rd from her house.

It may be known that lawyer Aradhana Bhargava had gone to Chhindwara to participate in the death rituals of her mother. It was the last day of her mother's death rites and she was picked up from her house and booked under Section 151 CrPC. When Medha and others on Sunday the 4th had gone to pay their condolences to the family of Aradhana, they were first detained inside the house of Aradhana and later picked up at 10.30 pm and sent into the Jail of Chhidwara. It is learnt that probably they too have been arrested under section 151 of the CrPC.

Sir,

We are shocked at the paranoid manner in which the MP Government through its District Collector Mahesh Chaudhary and SP Purshottam are behaving. They are not even allowing lawyers to meet their clients. This misuse of the law and illegal detention of senior activists in completely is completely unacceptable. This action of the Administration and the police violates fundamental rights of Indian citizen guaranteed by the Article 19 and 21 of the constitution.

Now that Dr Sunilam (ex MLA) and leader of the present struggle against the Adani Peench Power Plant coming up in Chhindwara has been put behind bars for the 14 year old Multai Firing case, the Government of MP, the Administration and the Police want to speed up the process of eviction of the people who are living in the area where the Government plans to have the Peench Water Diversion Project and Power Plant. So anybody even remotely connected going into the area they feel will be a morale booster to the farmers who do not wish to be evicted and therefore arresting them. .

We would like you to immediately intervene and ensure the release of Medha the 21 other activists and Aradhana today itself and take action against the SP and the Collector against this arbitrary action

With regards,


Kavita Srivastava
(PUCL, National Secretary)


# # #

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

ENDS

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