India: minority rights defenders abducted for protesting adivasis houses demolitionEvent
- Initial Date
- Jul 10, 2021
- Event Description
Mr. Nitin Verghese is a human right defender associated with the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS), a tribal and Dalit Rights Collective which has been working for fourteen years in Madhya Pradesh.
On July 10, 2021, Mr. Nitin Verghese, along with eight other activists, visited the site where houses and fields of adivasis were being demolished. Upon reaching the spot, they saw four members of the affected families. Some of them were Budia wife of Lalu (40), her twelve-year-old daughter Pooja and son Ramlal along with Sheka son of Harsing. They were forcibly picked up and taken away by forest officials. When Mr. Verghese and others complained about this to the Deputy Forest Officer (DFO) Mr. Charan Singh, who was at the spot, they were also picked up and their phones snatched. The actions of the DFO are consistent with abduction, absolute disregard to the laws and rules to be followed in case of arrests. There is no official information confirming the place of detention, condition of detention, calls to relatives or colleagues of the HRDs and any communication with the legal services authorities. Even if Mr. Verghese and the other HRDs are to be placed under arrest, none of the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court with regards to the arrest have been followed. These guidelines are also a part of ‘The Wildlife Crime Investigation Handbook’ of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, which are applicable to forest officials. The Wildlife Crime Investigation Handbook states that the proceedings of the arrest should be recorded on an Arrest cum Personal Search Memo and the reasons for the
arrest should be mentioned in the Memo. All pages of the Arrest cum Personal Search Memo should be signed by the accused, the independent witnesses and the investigating officer or the officer making the arrest. Left hand thumb impression of the accused is also to be obtained on the last page of the Arrest cum Personal Search Memo. Copy of the same should be supplied to the accused under acknowledgment. It states that preferably the arrests should be made “in the presence of a relative or well-wisher of the accused or in the presence of two independent witnesses.” Furthermore, it states that intimation of arrest should be given immediately to a family member/relative/well-wisher of the accused, which has been suggested by the accused and also to the jurisdictional police station. If the intimation is given telephonically, the same should be confirmed in writing at the earliest.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Other (e.g. undefined, organisation, community)
- Rights Concerned
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Right to Protest
- Minority rights defender
Case shared by FORUM-ASIA member
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 10 July 2021, Nitin Verghese, minority rights defender, was abducted together with 8 other HRDs by the police for complaining for the demolition of adivasis families houses in Khandwa, India.