Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Environment Freedom

Maharashtra: Nine activists arrested for protesting mining activity

Gadchiroli police charge nine peaceful protesters for violating prohibitory orders

Sabrangindia 27 Dec 2021

GadchiroliImage: The Hindu

As many as nine human rights activists were accused of “disrupting peace” on October 29, 2021, days after joining a protest condemning illegal mining in Surjagad region of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra.

The district’s local Adivasi communities have been fiercely opposing the 25 government-sanctioned mines in the area. They say mining licenses are illegal because the affected gram sabhas never gave permission for the same. As per sections of the Forest Rights Act 2006 and environmental clearance criteria, any infrastructure or development project must be approved by the communities living in or around the concerned site area.

To assert their rights, nearly 4,000 protesters gathered on October 25, to observe a peaceful morcha that ended at Etapalli. However, days later, a police force with nearly 300 personnel strength arrived at the protest site at 5:45 AM and detained Sainu Gota, Sheela Gota, Ramdas Jarate, Jaishree Velda, Nitin Pada and Amol Marakwar.

The activists were taken to Aheri police camp where they were charged under various IPC charges and section 2 of the Epidemics Act. Four more activists Lalsu Nagoti, Prajwal Namulwar, Premila Kulyami were charged in this FIR. All these people are Human Rights Defenders (HRDs), some of whom hold public office in the Zilla Parishad and Panchayat. Marakwar is also the Communist Party of India (Marxist) District Secretary.

As per media reports, Superintendent of Police Ankit Goyal said that the protests took place despite the Section 144 order of Etapalli’s sub-divisional magistrate. Further, as many as 100 unnamed individuals were charged for the IPC charges.

Despite getting bail by 5:30 PM, they were not released until 9:15 PM. During this time, Inspector Patil confiscated Jarate’s and Velda’s phone and later denied doing so even though the belongings were found in the same police station and returned a few days after. Since then, the activists voiced their fear of being charged and implicated in false cases based on evidence that may be planted in their phones.

Reacting to this, authorities like the Human Rights Defenders – Alert said, “The confiscation of the mobile phones of the two HRDs without a warrant is blatantly illegal. Moreover, the disappearance of the phones and subsequent denial by the police official of having confiscated the phones raises several grave questions to the intent of the official as well.” It also questioned the legitimacy of the FIR saying, “The imposition of section 144 against a peaceful sit-in protest is misuse of the powers provided under it.”

The organisation called the disruption of peace charges an overreach intended to target local leaders protesting illegal mining and land acquisition. Other HRDs like Panchayat Samiti Chairman Goi Kodape, and Deputy Chairman Sukhram Madavi have also been issued notices under the same FIR.

HRD Alert demanded that police officials guilty of misuse of law, arbitrary detention, and arrest under fabricated charges, be held accountable and penalised, and that the fake cases be quashed. Particularly Inspector Patil must face an enquiry for confiscating phones of the HRD couple.

“Procedures laid down under the DK Basu guidelines were flouted. The detention and arrest are in contravention to the UN declarations and amounts to a direct attack on the fundamental rights to freedom of speech and expression and to peacefully assemble guaranteed in Article 19 of the Indian constitution,” said Working Secretary Henri Tiphagne.

Related:

Provide medical facilities, grant parole: Committee for the Defence and Release of Dr. G N Saibaba

Report of PP need not be served upon accused when seeking extension of detention: Bom HC

Maharashtra Adivasis still left in the dark!

Maharashtra: Nine activists arrested for protesting mining activity

Gadchiroli police charge nine peaceful protesters for violating prohibitory orders

GadchiroliImage: The Hindu

As many as nine human rights activists were accused of “disrupting peace” on October 29, 2021, days after joining a protest condemning illegal mining in Surjagad region of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra.

The district’s local Adivasi communities have been fiercely opposing the 25 government-sanctioned mines in the area. They say mining licenses are illegal because the affected gram sabhas never gave permission for the same. As per sections of the Forest Rights Act 2006 and environmental clearance criteria, any infrastructure or development project must be approved by the communities living in or around the concerned site area.

To assert their rights, nearly 4,000 protesters gathered on October 25, to observe a peaceful morcha that ended at Etapalli. However, days later, a police force with nearly 300 personnel strength arrived at the protest site at 5:45 AM and detained Sainu Gota, Sheela Gota, Ramdas Jarate, Jaishree Velda, Nitin Pada and Amol Marakwar.

The activists were taken to Aheri police camp where they were charged under various IPC charges and section 2 of the Epidemics Act. Four more activists Lalsu Nagoti, Prajwal Namulwar, Premila Kulyami were charged in this FIR. All these people are Human Rights Defenders (HRDs), some of whom hold public office in the Zilla Parishad and Panchayat. Marakwar is also the Communist Party of India (Marxist) District Secretary.

As per media reports, Superintendent of Police Ankit Goyal said that the protests took place despite the Section 144 order of Etapalli’s sub-divisional magistrate. Further, as many as 100 unnamed individuals were charged for the IPC charges.

Despite getting bail by 5:30 PM, they were not released until 9:15 PM. During this time, Inspector Patil confiscated Jarate’s and Velda’s phone and later denied doing so even though the belongings were found in the same police station and returned a few days after. Since then, the activists voiced their fear of being charged and implicated in false cases based on evidence that may be planted in their phones.

Reacting to this, authorities like the Human Rights Defenders – Alert said, “The confiscation of the mobile phones of the two HRDs without a warrant is blatantly illegal. Moreover, the disappearance of the phones and subsequent denial by the police official of having confiscated the phones raises several grave questions to the intent of the official as well.” It also questioned the legitimacy of the FIR saying, “The imposition of section 144 against a peaceful sit-in protest is misuse of the powers provided under it.”

The organisation called the disruption of peace charges an overreach intended to target local leaders protesting illegal mining and land acquisition. Other HRDs like Panchayat Samiti Chairman Goi Kodape, and Deputy Chairman Sukhram Madavi have also been issued notices under the same FIR.

HRD Alert demanded that police officials guilty of misuse of law, arbitrary detention, and arrest under fabricated charges, be held accountable and penalised, and that the fake cases be quashed. Particularly Inspector Patil must face an enquiry for confiscating phones of the HRD couple.

“Procedures laid down under the DK Basu guidelines were flouted. The detention and arrest are in contravention to the UN declarations and amounts to a direct attack on the fundamental rights to freedom of speech and expression and to peacefully assemble guaranteed in Article 19 of the Indian constitution,” said Working Secretary Henri Tiphagne.

Related:

Provide medical facilities, grant parole: Committee for the Defence and Release of Dr. G N Saibaba

Report of PP need not be served upon accused when seeking extension of detention: Bom HC

Maharashtra Adivasis still left in the dark!

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Videos

India

Kashmiri Pandit Protest continues for seventh day

Multiple Protests continue, for more than seven days, over Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat’s murder in the Valley. Supported by Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Sikhs, the protestors have come forward to accuse the BJP led administration of sending people, who are desperate for jobs, in risky areas with no security and a meagre salary.

India

Kashmiri Pandit Protest continues for seventh day

Multiple Protests continue, for more than seven days, over Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat’s murder in the Valley. Supported by Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Sikhs, the protestors have come forward to accuse the BJP led administration of sending people, who are desperate for jobs, in risky areas with no security and a meagre salary.

IN FACT

Analysis

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Archives