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Kaimur Police firing: 15 Adivasi-activists get bail for lack of evidence

During a sit in protest for forests and lands, the Bihar Police open fired, lathi charged and even arrested some of them in 2020 and 2021

Adeeti Singh 31 Jul 2021

Adivasi

A sessions court in Kaimur, Bihar has granted bail to 15 Adivasis protestors who had staged a peaceful sit-in protest demanding rights over forest land and resources last year in September.

The accused- Kailash Urawan, Mahendra Singh, Jawahar Singh, Ramlal Singh, Ramlayak Singh, Mohan Singh, Sunil Kumar, Fulmatiya Devi, Vijay Shankar Singh, Balkeshwar Singh, Parikha Singh, Rupnarayan Ram, Lal Bihari Singh, Dinanath Singh and Mehaki Devi were arrested and made to spend 2 weeks in jail.

They were booked under sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 307 (attempt to murder), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 342 (Punishment for wrongful confinement.) of the Indian Penal Code and section 27 (use of arms or ammunition) of the Arms Act.

The State’s allegations

The additional public prosecutor argued that the allegations were serious in nature and eight policemen have received injuries in the hurling of brick bats by the mob which included the 15 Adivasi protestors. He further contended that some circumstances where policemen are not seriously injured, should also not be taken lightly as it directly affects the “maintenance of law and order by the police and leniency will send a wrong message to the society that law breakers can take on the police with impunity.”

The Station House Officer at the Adhaura Police Station had recorded that on September 10, 2020, the members of an organisation Kaimur Mukti Morcha (KMM) had organised a two days sit-in protest in the proximity of Adhaura Block Head Office “without any permission in which they locked the block office and the exit of office of Forest Department illegally which was force opened with the help of police force.”

On September 11, some KMM members blocked the main and branch road, sat there and made provocative speeches on a loudspeaker. 400-500 men and women were participating in this sit-in demonstration. The proceedings were going on peacefully but, in the afternoon, the mob entered the block office and ransacked it which was prevented by the use of force. The Police alleged that the protestors locked the main gate of the block office which was broken open by the police later.

Thereafter, this alleged unruly crowd ran towards the office of Forest Department, entered the barrack and damaged the computer set, photocopy machine, table, chair, Almirah and many official documents, patrolling vehicle and the doors of the range office. The police and forest officers present tried to exhort them but to no avail, the prosecutor alleged. Further, the protesters were accused of setting these premises on fire and hurling brick bats on the police and forest officials. To disperse the mob, the prosecutor argued that the police resorted to use of ‘mild force’ and also fired in the air to defend themselves but the mob kept on hurling brick bats in which six police persons and two personnel of the forest department received injuries. Close to 30 people were identified as being part of the mob, including the 15 activists.

Court finds no evidence

The Additional Sessions Judge, however, found no merit in the State’s case. The court found that in the case diary, no specific role has been assigned to them nor it is mentioned in what manner they had participated in the occurrence. The order also read, “The period during which the petitioners could have been taken for interrogation in police remand is over and no TIP (test identification parade) of them has been conducted despite them being in custody for more than 15 days. In my opinion their continued custody will not serve any purpose. Further, from the material available on the record so far, no case for offence u/s 307, 333 of IPC is being made out against the petitioners even if they have been made accused by resorting to section 149 IPC as the injuries on the persons of the injured are simple and generally on non-vital part of the body. The case of these petitioners stands on similar footing to the accused who have already been granted regular bail by this court.”

The accused here are- Seepahi Singh, age 65 years from Goiyan, Dharmender Singh, age 25 years from Bardihya, Pappu Paswan, age 23 years from Jharpa, Lallan Singh Kharwa, age 45 years from Baraap, Kailash Singh, age 62 from Bardiha, Ram Shakal Singh Kharwar, age 52 years from Goiyan and Haricharan Singh, age 65 from Sarainar who were granted bail on October 16, as per the fact-finding report co-published by CJP, along with All India Union of Forest Working People and the Delhi Solidarity Group.

Fact-finding report contravenes the State’s accusations

CJP, SabrangIndia’s sister publication, has co-published a fact-finding report with All India Union of Forest Working People and the Delhi Solidarity Group on this incident. The teams of AIUFWP and DSG visited the Adhaura Block, Kaimur District of Bihar from September 23 to 27, 2020. The entire report may be read here:

What came to light was that some seven activists were not just fired upon and injured in the firing and lathi-charged but were also picked up by the police on trumped up charges. On October 16, all seven were released on bail. Two days later, in response to the ‘boycott election call’ given by the Kaimur Mukti Morcha (KMM), an organisation formed in the 1990s to democratically struggle for the land rights of the people of Kaimur, political heavyweights including the central minister of state for home, Nityanand Rai, air dropped into the far reaches of Kaimur, pleading with the protesters to lift the boycott call.

The protest had started on September 10, where thousands of Adivasis including women, men, youths and children from 108 villages of Adhaura Block mobilised themselves in front of the forest department office at Adhaura. They were demanding for the implementation of Forest Rights Act 2006 and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996. They were also demanding to declare Kaimur as a Scheduled area as per the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution Panchayats, implement the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act and abolish the proposed Kaimur Forest Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve.

Since there was no response from the administration, their protest continued. When the delegated representatives went inside the forest department office to negotiate some dialogue, they were abused and man-handled by officials and later on, and quite suddenly, more police poured in, along with CRPF personnel, and unleased a brutal assault on the Adivasi demonstrators. The police opened fire and lathi-charged the protesters.

On September 12, Kaimur Mukti Morcha’s office in Adhaura was ransacked by the police. Dozens of activists affiliated with Kaimur Mukti Morcha were arrested on false charges by the police, but were granted bail on October 16.

CJP-AIUFWP’s complaint to NHRC

On September 30, CJP and AIUFWP had complained to the Human Rights Commission (NHRC) about this brutal incident. The complaint had pointed out how the protestors had asked prior permission for the protests, something that the State has alleged was not done.

A letter dated September 13, 2020 was addressed to Shri Manoj Jha, member of Rajya Sabha in India Parliament in relation to the firing at Adivasis at the protest in Kaimur, Bihar on September 11, 2020 by AIUFWP. The same letter mentions the aforementioned incidents and also that activists of Kaimur Mukti Morcha had circulated ten thousand pamphlets informing the villagers, Gram Sabha, Police and Forest Department about the protests of September 10 and 11, 2020 one month prior to fight for their rights. Another letter dated September 15, 2020 was addressed to the Director General of Police, Patna Bihar in relation to the firing at Kaimur Activists and forest dwellers by the AIUFWP on the same issues. Both letters attached the copy of the pamphlet that was circulated to inform people about the protests. The pamphlets call for unity against the fight for their rights to water, forest and land. The entire complaint may be read here:

The bail order dated July 28 may be read here:

Related:

CJP-AIUFWP move NHRC against firing on peaceful Adivasi protesters in Kaimur
Kaimur Firing: Fact-finding report released

Kaimur Police firing: 15 Adivasi-activists get bail for lack of evidence

During a sit in protest for forests and lands, the Bihar Police open fired, lathi charged and even arrested some of them in 2020 and 2021

Adivasi

A sessions court in Kaimur, Bihar has granted bail to 15 Adivasis protestors who had staged a peaceful sit-in protest demanding rights over forest land and resources last year in September.

The accused- Kailash Urawan, Mahendra Singh, Jawahar Singh, Ramlal Singh, Ramlayak Singh, Mohan Singh, Sunil Kumar, Fulmatiya Devi, Vijay Shankar Singh, Balkeshwar Singh, Parikha Singh, Rupnarayan Ram, Lal Bihari Singh, Dinanath Singh and Mehaki Devi were arrested and made to spend 2 weeks in jail.

They were booked under sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 307 (attempt to murder), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 342 (Punishment for wrongful confinement.) of the Indian Penal Code and section 27 (use of arms or ammunition) of the Arms Act.

The State’s allegations

The additional public prosecutor argued that the allegations were serious in nature and eight policemen have received injuries in the hurling of brick bats by the mob which included the 15 Adivasi protestors. He further contended that some circumstances where policemen are not seriously injured, should also not be taken lightly as it directly affects the “maintenance of law and order by the police and leniency will send a wrong message to the society that law breakers can take on the police with impunity.”

The Station House Officer at the Adhaura Police Station had recorded that on September 10, 2020, the members of an organisation Kaimur Mukti Morcha (KMM) had organised a two days sit-in protest in the proximity of Adhaura Block Head Office “without any permission in which they locked the block office and the exit of office of Forest Department illegally which was force opened with the help of police force.”

On September 11, some KMM members blocked the main and branch road, sat there and made provocative speeches on a loudspeaker. 400-500 men and women were participating in this sit-in demonstration. The proceedings were going on peacefully but, in the afternoon, the mob entered the block office and ransacked it which was prevented by the use of force. The Police alleged that the protestors locked the main gate of the block office which was broken open by the police later.

Thereafter, this alleged unruly crowd ran towards the office of Forest Department, entered the barrack and damaged the computer set, photocopy machine, table, chair, Almirah and many official documents, patrolling vehicle and the doors of the range office. The police and forest officers present tried to exhort them but to no avail, the prosecutor alleged. Further, the protesters were accused of setting these premises on fire and hurling brick bats on the police and forest officials. To disperse the mob, the prosecutor argued that the police resorted to use of ‘mild force’ and also fired in the air to defend themselves but the mob kept on hurling brick bats in which six police persons and two personnel of the forest department received injuries. Close to 30 people were identified as being part of the mob, including the 15 activists.

Court finds no evidence

The Additional Sessions Judge, however, found no merit in the State’s case. The court found that in the case diary, no specific role has been assigned to them nor it is mentioned in what manner they had participated in the occurrence. The order also read, “The period during which the petitioners could have been taken for interrogation in police remand is over and no TIP (test identification parade) of them has been conducted despite them being in custody for more than 15 days. In my opinion their continued custody will not serve any purpose. Further, from the material available on the record so far, no case for offence u/s 307, 333 of IPC is being made out against the petitioners even if they have been made accused by resorting to section 149 IPC as the injuries on the persons of the injured are simple and generally on non-vital part of the body. The case of these petitioners stands on similar footing to the accused who have already been granted regular bail by this court.”

The accused here are- Seepahi Singh, age 65 years from Goiyan, Dharmender Singh, age 25 years from Bardihya, Pappu Paswan, age 23 years from Jharpa, Lallan Singh Kharwa, age 45 years from Baraap, Kailash Singh, age 62 from Bardiha, Ram Shakal Singh Kharwar, age 52 years from Goiyan and Haricharan Singh, age 65 from Sarainar who were granted bail on October 16, as per the fact-finding report co-published by CJP, along with All India Union of Forest Working People and the Delhi Solidarity Group.

Fact-finding report contravenes the State’s accusations

CJP, SabrangIndia’s sister publication, has co-published a fact-finding report with All India Union of Forest Working People and the Delhi Solidarity Group on this incident. The teams of AIUFWP and DSG visited the Adhaura Block, Kaimur District of Bihar from September 23 to 27, 2020. The entire report may be read here:

What came to light was that some seven activists were not just fired upon and injured in the firing and lathi-charged but were also picked up by the police on trumped up charges. On October 16, all seven were released on bail. Two days later, in response to the ‘boycott election call’ given by the Kaimur Mukti Morcha (KMM), an organisation formed in the 1990s to democratically struggle for the land rights of the people of Kaimur, political heavyweights including the central minister of state for home, Nityanand Rai, air dropped into the far reaches of Kaimur, pleading with the protesters to lift the boycott call.

The protest had started on September 10, where thousands of Adivasis including women, men, youths and children from 108 villages of Adhaura Block mobilised themselves in front of the forest department office at Adhaura. They were demanding for the implementation of Forest Rights Act 2006 and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996. They were also demanding to declare Kaimur as a Scheduled area as per the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution Panchayats, implement the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act and abolish the proposed Kaimur Forest Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve.

Since there was no response from the administration, their protest continued. When the delegated representatives went inside the forest department office to negotiate some dialogue, they were abused and man-handled by officials and later on, and quite suddenly, more police poured in, along with CRPF personnel, and unleased a brutal assault on the Adivasi demonstrators. The police opened fire and lathi-charged the protesters.

On September 12, Kaimur Mukti Morcha’s office in Adhaura was ransacked by the police. Dozens of activists affiliated with Kaimur Mukti Morcha were arrested on false charges by the police, but were granted bail on October 16.

CJP-AIUFWP’s complaint to NHRC

On September 30, CJP and AIUFWP had complained to the Human Rights Commission (NHRC) about this brutal incident. The complaint had pointed out how the protestors had asked prior permission for the protests, something that the State has alleged was not done.

A letter dated September 13, 2020 was addressed to Shri Manoj Jha, member of Rajya Sabha in India Parliament in relation to the firing at Adivasis at the protest in Kaimur, Bihar on September 11, 2020 by AIUFWP. The same letter mentions the aforementioned incidents and also that activists of Kaimur Mukti Morcha had circulated ten thousand pamphlets informing the villagers, Gram Sabha, Police and Forest Department about the protests of September 10 and 11, 2020 one month prior to fight for their rights. Another letter dated September 15, 2020 was addressed to the Director General of Police, Patna Bihar in relation to the firing at Kaimur Activists and forest dwellers by the AIUFWP on the same issues. Both letters attached the copy of the pamphlet that was circulated to inform people about the protests. The pamphlets call for unity against the fight for their rights to water, forest and land. The entire complaint may be read here:

The bail order dated July 28 may be read here:

Related:

CJP-AIUFWP move NHRC against firing on peaceful Adivasi protesters in Kaimur
Kaimur Firing: Fact-finding report released

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Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

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Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

IN FACT

Analysis

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.
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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.
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Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020

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