India: two NGO workers judicially harassed and arbitrarily arrested, later released on bailEvent
- Initial Date
- Apr 1, 2020
- Event Description
On April 1, the police detained and then arrested Takhenchangbam Shadishkanta, a human rights activist. Hours earlier, Shadishkanta�s organisation, Youth�s Forum for Protection of Human Rights, had issued a press release expressing concern about the government�s plans to build a quarantine centre on the outskirts of Imphal, the state capital. This was to house people who had come in contact with suspected Covid-19 patients but were asymptomatic.
�The location they had chosen has many paddy fields,� said U Jenison, a colleague of Shadishkanta. �As we work for the rights of indigenous people who are dependent on paddy farming, we asked them to build it on a nearby unused airstrip instead.�
Jenison alleged that Shadishkanta was picked up by the police from his home late evening on April 1. The police did not inform him or his family of the charges against him, said Jenison. Shadishkanta spent the night in jail.
On the afternoon of April 2, the police visited the home of the organisation�s president, Khangjrakpam Phajaton Mangang, picked him up and jailed him along with Shadishkanta. Mangangwas not apprised of the charges against him, either, claimed Jenison.
The police made the two sign an arrest memo that did not bear the time or grounds of arrest, he alleged. When a team from the human rights organisation demanded that they be shown the first information report that was the basis for the arrests, they were reportedly told that the police were still in the process of framing charges. That was on the evening of April 2.
It was only later in the evening that the police produced an FIR, said Jenison. The two activists had been charged under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005, and Section 120 (b) of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with �criminal conspiracy�.
Soon afterwards, around 9.30 pm, Mangang and Shadishkanta were produced before the court of the chief judicial magistrate, East Imphal. They were released around 10 pm, after they produced a surety bond of Rs 30,000 each.
Jogeshchandra Haobijam, the chief of Imphal East police, said Mangang and Shadishkanta had been charged for suggesting the use of the air strip as a site for the quarantine centre. �It is defence land,� he said. �Any X or Y cannot say like that about defence land.�
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to information
- NGO staff
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 1 April 2020, Takhenchangbam Shadishkanta and Khangjrakpam Phajaton Mangang, NGO workers with the Youth's Forum for Protection of Human Rights, were judicially harassed and arbitrarily arrested by the police for expressing concern on the Government's plan to build a COVID-19 quarantine center on the outskirts of Imphal, India.