PUCL Bulletin, June 2002
on Human Rights Defenders in Varanasi, UP
- By Dr. Lenin, Co-ordinator, People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR)
We draw your immediate and prompt attention to the following two incidents in the village of Belwa and Indrawar in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. The incident at the Village Belwa took place at 6 A.M. on 13th November 2001. One of PVCHR's Women activist and also the Coordinator of a Women's Forum "Savitri Ba Phule", Durga and her husband Adya Prasad, were attacked violently by armed men of Rajendra Tiwari, the husband of the current Belwa village Pradhan. Consequently both sustained serious injuries on the head and lost a lot of blood.
They were both taken
to Phulpur Thana of Varanasi (UP). From there, on the advice of the Station
in charge, Durga was taken for medical check up. In the meantime, on receiving
this information the Women's Helpline was informed on their phone and
also a telegram was sent to the SSP around 11 A.M. Later I sent him a
written petition also by speed post. By evening three members of the gang
who attacked were arrested and sent to jail. However the police under
pressure from political patrons of R. Tiwari had held Adya in the Police
Station for more than 24 hours. On the 14th of November 2001, I informed
NHRC by Mobile and later had a telephonic talk with the SSP. Later our
legal Advisor, Tanveer Ahmad Siddiqui, applied for Bail under IPC 323
and 506 in the court of the 4th ACJM, Varanasi (UP) and he was released.
However the police had wrongfully named three of PVCHR activist in the
This we believe had provoked him. Earlier on the 23rd of March 2001 and 5th September 2001 we had organized rallies and demonstration on these issues. The other incident had happened at the village Indrawar whose Pradhan, Hari Shankar Vishwakarma had been accused by the villagers of taking bribes amounting to Rs.500 to Rs.1500 in land allotment. This matter had been brought to the notice of the authorities vide rallies and petitions. On the23rd of October 2001, PVCHR had orgainsed a meeting of the Villagers regarding Education Campaign. During the meeting the Pradhan's henchmen Kalu and Sanju, had abused my wife, Shruti, and me and later even kicked her and threatened to kill both of us.
Later the Pradhan
rang me on the phone and threatened not only to kill me but also register
false cases against me. I immediately informed the concerned station in
charge and later also petitioned him. At around 19.50 I had sent a telegram
to the SSP. On the 24th October 2001, I had complained to S.S.P. of Varanasi
vide Registered Post. However, till now no action has been taken. Now
our activist Ram Prasad has been threatened. The Pradhan has said he is
getting a licensed gun and would kill Ram Prasad and later me. They also
threatened the teacher of our Primary School, Asha Devi. We bring to your
immediate notice fresh threats to PVCHR activist, not only against their
works but also their lives.