UAPA charge on 80 named and 200 unknown persons from Muslim community after a communal violence in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh – Complaint Registered with NHRC
Justice (Retd.) HL Dattu,
National Human Rights Commission
Manav Adhikar Bhawan Block-C,
GPO Complex, INA,
New Delhi – 110023
Date: 08 November, 2018
Respected Justice (Retd.) H.L. Dattu,
We are writing to you to express grave concern and seek immediate intervention of the Hon’ble Commission in a case of application of severe UAPA act against 80 named and 200 unknown persons from Muslim community –unheard of before in the country.
Facts of the Case
The case concerns FIR No. 127 of 2018 registered at Baundi police station in district Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh. The complaint registered by a private individual carries the charge under section 7 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) apart from sections under Indian Penal Code, against 80 named men and 200 unknown persons belonging to Muslim community. A copy of the FIR is attached as Annexure-I to this complaint. FIR can be viewed Here.
– Section 7 under UAPA does not even constitute an offence.
– The FIR was registered after an incident of communal violence which erupted on 20th October 2018 when a religious procession ‘Shobha Yatra’ of Hindu community passed through Khaira Bazar, near a mosque. The procession had participation of around 2000 people but only 5 policemen were on duty in the area. A fact-finding mission conducted by civil society organisations including lawyers found that the violence erupted between the two communities after color was thrown at the mosque by the members of the procession. Soon, the members of the two communities got involved in violence and the incident later saw deliberate damage to the shops of members of Muslim community located on the road side in the presence of Police. Out of fear of increasing violence and involvement of police, most of the families of Muslim community fled from the village.
– Despite clear involvement of both the communities in the incident, the FIR was registered only against the Muslim community. Police, the same night, raided, ransacked and damaged the houses of the Muslim community in order to arrest. Raids were conducted further on two more occasions – all at night and without lady police personnel. We would bring to your kind attention that these households now have only elder persons, women and children as rest of the members have fled out of fear of arrest. Male police members threatened the women of being beaten up if they will not reveal whereabouts of their family members. A young man named Raees has also passed away due to heart attack after he returned home from Police interrogation.
Our observations and questions:
– In a case of communal violence, why a case under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been charged?
– Despite involvement of the two communities, why the action is being taken only against members of Muslim community?
– How can an individual belonging to another village exactly name upto 80 Muslims involved in the incident of utter chaos?
– Why was there no adequate arrangement of security by police despite the knowledge of the procession and involvement of a large number of public?
– Why is police threatening and harming the elders, women and children in the villages who are already living in utter helpless situation after the earning members of their families are either arrested or are into hiding?
We submit before you that the elders, women and children of the village are living in terror of police. The whole village looks abandoned. Children have stopped going to school. Elders are struggling to ensure enough food everyday. And, women are living in fear of further police action and threats.
The fact-finding report of the civil society organisations is attached as Annexure-II for your reference. Fact Finding Report can be viewed Here.
We appeal to the Hon’ble Commission to kindly take urgent action through your Rapid Action Cell on the following:
1. Intervene in the case to help the victim families to get the one sided FIR quashed. Issue a notice to the police to halt its aggressive action against the helpless family members of village Khaira Bazar and other concerned villages.
2. Institute an independent inquiry, under Section 12(1) and Section 14 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, consisting of members of investigation wing of the Hon’ble Commission to
a. bring out the facts of the case involving the incident of communal violence
b. record statements of the family members of village Khaira Bazar and other affected villagers where police
action took place.
c. (i) investigate the police response the incident of communal violence (ii) find out the grounds for
carrying out the raids in the homes of the Muslim community, (iii) whether all procedures on arrest,
search and seizure were followed in full.
3. Grant suitable compensation and reliefs u/s 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, to the victims who have suffered damage to their household/shop property and endured serious mental harassment due to police action.
4. On the basis of the NHRC’s findings, recommend disciplinary and criminal proceedings, as needed.
Adv. Amit Shrivastav, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations
Adv. Ansar Indori, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations
Rajeev Yadav, Rihai Manch
Baljeet Kaur, Citizens Against Hate
Nadeem Khan, United Against Hate;
Henri Tiphagne, People’s Watch;
Harsh Mander, Aman Biradari Trust;
Akram Akhtar Chaudhary, Afkar India Foundation;
Sajjad Hassan, Citizens Against Hate/Misaal;
Suhail K K; Quill Foundation;
Mathew Jacob, Human Rights Defenders Alert – India;
Suroor Mander, Aman Biradari Trust;
Devika Prasad, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative;
Manisha Sethi, Jamia Teacher’s Solidarity Association;
Mushfique Raza, Association of Protection of Civil Rights.
Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, Member, National Human Rights Commission. [email protected]
Justice D. Murugesan, Member, National Human Rights Commission. [email protected]
Smt. Jyotika Kalra, Member, National Human Rights Commission. [email protected]
Sri Sudhir Kumar, Special Rapporteur, North Zone, National Human Rights Commission. [email protected]
Sri Om Prakash Singh, Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh. [email protected]
Dr. Gourav Grover, Superintendent of Police, Bahraich. [email protected]