India: community-based defender arbitrarily arrestedEvent
- Initial Date
- Sep 24, 2021
- Event Description
About the Human Rights Defenders: Mr. Ba Singh Hassa is a resident of Dadgama village in Khunti block of Khunti district. An activist with Adivasi Adhikar Manch – a civil society group that protects the land, water and forest rights of indigenous groups, Mr. Hassa has organised and participated in numerous peaceful movements, demonstrations and meetings in Khunti and other places in the past decade, including in the Pathalgadi movement in 2018-19, and ongoing protests against the new farm laws. He is well-educated and offers advice and support to innocent villagers falsely accused of being Maoists.
Details of the incident: On July 14, 2021, Khunti Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) Mr. Sayyed Riyaj Ahemed issued a notice under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (which allows an Executive Magistrate to show cause any person likely to disturb peace or disturb the public tranquillity). It mentioned the names of 25 people, including Mr. Ba Singh Hassa and his brothers/ cousins Mr. Bahadur Hassa, Mr. Kinu Hassa and Mr. Jugal Munda, who were likely to disturb peace and security in the area according to information with the SDO. All 25 persons were asked to report to the SDO court in Khunti on July 22, 2021 and show cause why they should not be asked to furnish a bond of Rs 50,000 and two supporting witnesses. Mr. Bahadur Hassa received a call from the Khunti Police Station on July 17, 2021, when he was informed about the notice. He collected the notice from the police station the next day, and reported to the SDO court with Mr. Ba Singh Hassa and other brothers/ cousins on July 22, 2021, and two more subsequent hearings. On September 24, 2021, the day of the fourth hearing, Mr. Ba Singh Hassa, Mr. Kinu Hassa, Mr. Jugal Munda and Mr. Bahadur Hassa reached the court at around 10 AM, whereas their turn came up at 2.30 PM. When they presented themselves before SDO Mr. Ahemed, he asked them not to leave the court premises without his permission. He then called someone from his phone and said that three absconding accused in the murder case (FIR no 88/2018) were sitting in front of him. At around 4.30 PM, Khunti PS Officer in Charge Mr. B Thakur reached the court in civil clothes with three other policemen in uniform. They arrested Mr. Ba Singh Hassa, Mr. Kinu Hassa and Mr. Jugal Munda from inside the court premises. The HRD and his relatives were not informed about why they were arrested, nor shown any arrest warrant or allowed access to a lawyer. All provisions of the DK Basu guidelines were violated. Mr. Hassa and others were taken to the Khunti Police Station in a police vehicle and detained there overnight. They were taken for medical examination at 2 PM, produced in court at around 4.30 PM on September 25, 2021, and remanded to Khunti jail. We firmly believe that the HRD and his relatives were ensnared by the SDO and arrested by police in a case that was over three years old in violation of due procedures. The SDO referred to them as absconding even though Mr. Ba Singh Hassa had communicated and met several police and government officials in his capacity as an activist and participated in many public programmes in Khunti and Ranchi in the intervening period. He was also detained and interrogated by police in Khunti in April 2019. Whereas, the notice against the HRD and his arrest coincided with his active involvement in peaceful meetings and protests against the new farm laws in Khunti. This indicates that the action against Mr. Hassa and others is an act of political vendetta, and aimed at muzzling the freedom of speech, expression and assembly, which are guaranteed under national and international legal frameworks.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to liberty and security
- Community-based HRD
Case shared to FORUM-ASIA by HRD Alert India
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 24 September 2021, Mr. Ba Singh Hassa, community-based defender, was arbitrarily arrested by the police on false murder charges likely in retaliation of his peaceful activism in Khunti, India.