Sukhwariya Gond, Nandu Gond's wife, Lilasi Village
For close to a week Nandu Gond of Lilasi Village, Sonbhadra district has been untraceable and his family and relatives are concerned. Sabrangindia has been talking consistently to the local administration to trace his whereabouts. So far, despite the legal requirements, he has not been produced in a court. Sabrangindia had reported on March 1, that Nandu Gond has been arrested in an allegedly second false case even after HC has protected him against arrest before in another related, reportedly malicious case. Nandu Gond’s only crime seems to be is that he is an assertive land and forest rights activist and is president of Forest Rights Committee (FRC), Lilasi area, thana Nevarpur.
For the past four months, he was forced to be on the run for about four months, even after the Allahabd High Court directed on a stay against his arrest (February 8, 2019). He his family used to live in the village with his wife, two sons, two daughters and his brother. His activism and involvement in the organisation is being used to target him.
Sokalo Gond, union leader and representative of the All India Union of Forest Working Peoples (AIUFWP) told Sabrangindia, " "From what we have managed to ascertain, it was actually the Nevarpur police that arrested Nadu Gond and then transferred him to Dudhi police station. But he was not presented before a judge. We are also hearing that he might have been whisked away to a jail in Ghorawal. There is no record of anything, so we don't know what has happened to him."
This evening, after trying through the day, Sabrangindia finally spoke to Vijay Pratap Singh, SHO of Myorpur Police Station (9454404302). He said, "No one named Nandu Gond had been picked up in the last few days." When we said the arrest took place last week and was related to a kurki in a land claims case in Lilasi village, he said, "Yes, I have heard about a kurki case in Lilasi village, but I don't know of any Nandu Gond." It is likely that he will be produced before the Dudhi Sub Divisional Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.
Singh also added, "We don't go about picking up people in land cases. So if someone was picked up it would only be if he misbehaved with policemen. And, in such a case, he would be charged under Section 151 of CrPC and produced in the SDM court." When further questioned and we asked if they had someone in custody since last week and who would be produced before the court, he said, "It's not like we keep these people in our homes. If someone is arrested we would definitely produce him in court. But we have not arrested any one by the name of Nandu Gond."
When Sabrangindia pressed him to confirm whether or not they had filed a case against Nandu Gond, he said, "Why don't you just ask his family members to come down to the police station. We will provide them all the information." When pressed for specific information he snapped and asked us why were we so interested in this particular case. "You are sitting in Mumbai and asking about Lilasi. Don't you have enough news to print about the Mumbai Police," he asked.
We also called a few officials in neighbouring jurisdictions just to be sure Nandu Gond had not been picked up by any of those police stations. This is what we were told.
PK Singh SHO of Wyndhamganj police station said, "No one by the name of Nandu Gond has been arrested in our area. You should check with Nevarpur police station as Lilasi village falls under their jurisdiction."
AK Singh at Dudhi Police Station said, "Nobody named Nandu Gond has been arrested by us. You could check with Wyndhamganj police station at the Chhatisgarh border or Myorpur and Beejpur police stations."
On Friday March 1, when we spoke to DSP Sunil Kumar Vishnoi (Sonbhadra, CO-Dudhi), he said he could not confirm any such arrest as he was in Allahabad and directed us to speak with the thana (police station) incharge. At Dudhi police station, the Inspector was unaware that such an arrest had taken place as he was busy with a 'programme.' Later there was no response from the Dudhi police station. Inspector Shiv Kumar who was earlier posted in Nevarpur thana said that he was transferred on February 15, 2019. But he seemed pleasantly surprised that he was arrested. He spoke with great pride and detail on the Kurki done on Nandu Gond's house. Rahul Mishra, listed as the DSP on https://uppolice.gov.in/frmOfficials.aspx?sonbhadra said that he was not aware of any such arrest. Gyan Prakash Rai (CO-Obra) said no such case was registered in his jurisdiction.
Tracing the history of false cases and reprisal actions against adivasis struggling to assert their rights over land cjp.org.in had reported on the brutality on Nandi Gond and his family in December 2018, In a ‘kurki’ seizure at his home in Lilasi village, all belongings were destroyed.