HRDA demands justice for Baldev Murmu’s illegal detention

Police kept the Adivasi activist from Jharkhand in jail for two-days in clear violation of CrPC laws and Article 22


Rights organisation Human Rights Defenders Alert (HRDA) demanded an inquiry into the two-day long abduction and illegal detention of Adivasi Mulvasi Vikas Manch activist Baldev Murmu by Jharkhand Police on January 29, 2022. Murmu’s family spent the weekend worrying about custodial torture after the police failed to produce him before a judicial magistrate.

Working to secure the rights of indigenous groups in Hazaribagh and other districts, Murmu was forcibly dragged into a police car at Narki-Khurd village in Hazaribag and then taken to his house where the police searched the place without a warrant. According to family members, the police threatened Murmu with a gun and did not bother to state the reason for his arrest.

Instead, they seized meeting registers, banners and flags of Adivasi Mulvasi Vikas Manch, Murmu’s PAN card, Aadhaar card and mobile phone and took the activist to Vishnugarh police station.

While he was eventually released on Monday, Murmu’s family and villagers visited the police station on January 29 and on January 30 to demand the reason for the detention. However, the police simply said higher authorities had sent the order and would question him. The family also alleged that the police asked them to sign blank papers, which they refused.

Condemning such behaviour, the HRDA demanded that the Director General of Police submit CCTV footages of inside and outside the Vishnugarh police station for Saturday between 11 A.M and 5 P.M as well as duty records, register, call records, vehicle movement records and other necessary information during the time of detainment.

“We believe that the police acted with malafide intentions to detain the HRD, especially because he has no past cases against him. His forcible picking up violates multiple provisions of the DK Basu Guidelines of Arrest by the Supreme Court and amounts to abduction,” said the HRDA.

On Monday Rajni Murmu announced Baldev’s arrest. However, the HRDA has demanded protection from torture for the young activist. Murmu’s unlawful arrest was a violation of Article 22 of the constitution that asserts every individual’s right to a lawyer. By failing to state a reason for arrest, the police also violated Section 41D of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Police also flouted Section 41B and 50A that say every police officer must prepare an arrest memo, attested by at least one witness and countersigned by the arrested person and intimate a relative or friend about the arrest and the place of detention respectively. The CrPC in sections 57 and 76 lays down that a person should be produced before the nearest magistrate within 24 hours from the time of arrest. Yet, Murmu wasn’t produced in front of a judicial magistrate.


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