India: community-based defenders arbitrarily detained, falsely chargedEvent
- Initial Date
- Mar 23, 2022
- Event Description
About the Human Rights Defender: Ms. Jayeeta Das is a senior activist residing in Nadia district of West Bengal. She has participated in many people’s movements in the past two decades, including the Nandigram movement against forcible land acquisition and state repression and movements demanding justice for rape and murder victims. Mr. Pratik Bhowmik and Mr. Hasibur Sk are residents of Murshidabad district and members of Shramik Krishak Aikya Mancha, an organisation that works towards protecting the rights of workers, farmers and other marginalised groups in West Bengal. They have organised several public meetings and demonstrations and were actively involved in addressing the issues of migrant workers during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Details of the Incident: On March 23, 2022, at around 10.30 PM, Mr. Pratik Bhowmik and Mr. Hasibur Sk were illegally detained by personnel from the Nowda Police Station when they were returning home from a nearby village. They were kept at the Nowda Police Station till the morning of March 25, but not told about any case against them or their arrest. While in detention, police forced them to sign a seizure memo claiming arms were found on them. Mr. Hasibur Sk was also beaten up by police officials on one occasion. On March 24, 2022, more than 12 hours after Mr. Bhowmik and Mr. Hasibur’s illegal detention and arrest, the Nowda Police Station registered an FIR against the HRDs under Sections 25 and 35 of the Arms Act. However, the police falsely claimed the HRDs were arrested on March 24 at around 3.30 PM. They were produced at the Berhampore court on March 25 and were remanded in police custody for seven days. On March 29, 2022, around 12 PM, personnel from Haringhata Police Station in Nadia district apprehended Ms. Jayeeta Das from the Boro Jaguli area. They ordered her to get into the police vehicle without providing any reason and took her to an empty house, where she was detained for nearly seven hours. She was not provided any reason for her detention or allowed to inform her family members or lawyer. At around 7 PM, personnel from the Special Task Force of Kolkata Police reached the spot and informed she was being arrested in FIR no 1/2022. They took her to Kolkata where she underwent a medical examination. On March 30, Ms. Das was produced at the Bankshall Court, and remanded in police custody for 14 days. On April 2, when Mr. Bhowmik and Mr. Hasibur were produced at the Berhampore court, the Special Task Force prayed for their remand, which was granted. On April 3, an arrest warrant was issued against the duo in connection with FIR no 1/2022 by the Bankshall Court in Kolkata, and they were remanded in police custody. On April 7, all three HRDs were booked under Sections 17, 18, 20, 38 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act following approval from the City Sessions Judge. They continue to remain in police custody.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Denial Fair Trial
- Judicial Harassment
- Violence (physical)
- Rights Concerned
- Right to fair trial
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Right to liberty and security
- Community-based HRD
- NGO staff
Case shared by FORUM-ASIA member People's Watch
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
From 23 March 2022, Ms. Jayeeta Das, Mr. Pratik Bhowmik and Mr. Hasibur Sk, community-based defenders and members of the NGO Shramik Krishak Aikya Mancha, were arbitrarily arrested by the police, violently coerced to write a confession remanded in police custody by the local court on false charges related to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in different districts of West Bengal State including in Kolkata, India.