PUCL , February 2003


A preliminary fact finding on POTA cases in Jharkhand
By an all India team, Delhi

In Jharkhand all the laws of the land are replaced by POTA

Also see, 12-year-old boy arrested under Pota

An All India fact-finding team consisting of Hari Singh Tark, President, Association For Democratic Rights (AFDR), Punjab, G. N. Saibaba, General Secretary, All India Peoples Resistance Forum (AIPRF), Balbir Singh Saini, Sr. Advocate at Chandigarh High Court from Haryana, Sashibhushan Pathak, Secretary, Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jharkhand and Convener POTA Virodhi Jan Morcha & Anil Sharma, AIPRF, Delhi, Chayan Sen Gupta, Member, AIPRF, Assam toured several districts of Jharkhand between 29th January and 3rd Feb., 2003 to collect first hand information about the POTA accused in Jharkhand.

The team visited the following districts: Garhwa, Palamu, Latehar, Gumla,
Hazaribagh, Giridih, Chatara and Ranchi and met about 30 families of the POTA accused mostly from the interior villages. The team met the Chief Secretary of Jharkhand Government, the Home Secretary and the DGP apart from a DSP and SP of Gumla district where the highest number of POTA cases have been booked compared to all other districts. We had elaborate discussions with all the officials. We also met a number of organisations, the leaders and activists of parties like JMM, RJD and CPI and advocates, journalists and democrats to ascertain and cross check the facts and information we gathered.

1. Indiscriminate Use of POTA
POTA is being indiscriminately used in Jharkhand on ordinary citizens, mostly illiterate tribals, and Scheduled Caste and OBC sections of the people. Minors under 18 were booked under POTA. A number of women including Adivasi Women have been also charged under POTA sections. For example: Jata Bhuiya (30) from Tikuldiha village in Miral block of Garhwa district was booked under POTA after a complaint against him was filed by some of his cousins in a land dispute over a small stretch of land. In fact it is only a petty civil dispute. Jata Bhuiya and his family have no idea of any underground organisation or party.

Dugu Marandi (20) of Madhuban Mod, near the foot hills of Parasnath Hills in
Giridih district was picked up by the police when he was going for work in
Damodar Valley Project as a daily labourer. He was arrested on 18th Oct. 2002, tortured for 3 days in illegal custody and produced in court on 21st October and bailed out on 30th January 2003. The misery and torture experienced by him and all of his family members speaks for the havoc created by the POTA on an innocent Adivasi youth who does not even know the names of the banned organisations under POTA, which for the first time he heard in the police interrogation and later in jail. Now he has been cursed to go around the courts facing POTA sections.

To site another painful incident of repression against simple villagers
particularly women, a girl Ropni Kharia seventeen years of age of Tira Masori
Toli village in Gumla district under Palkot police station limits was arrested
by the police and slapped POTA. Her only fault was that she is the only
educated women in the village who passed matriculation and is enlightened on social and other patriarchal oppression in the village. She used to educate the women of the village on patriarchal oppression on them and how to resist it. At this some male chauvinist of the village started feeling worried about her knowledge and activities and started backbiting and accusing her of being a member of a banned outfit namely MCC. They informed the police and police searched her home several times but did not find any documents of banned organisations from her house. The police also beat her father and other male members of the family. Due to this continuous repression she surrendered before the police going along with other members of the family and the villagers. But strangely even after her surrender she has been implicated under POTA without any concrete evidence of her involvement with the banned outfits. The police did not stop at that and are continuing with their brutal repression.

2. POTA is Creating Panic and Terror in the Villages
During the course of our visits to a number of villages, we have come across a number of youth who have been named in different FIRs under POTA. We have been reported in almost every village that such and such person is being already named and he is avoiding arrest for fear of not getting bail for months or years. We acquired some copies FIRs in which their names are mentioned. Some more names are being mentioned in the case diaries. Such people are also making all efforts to avoid arrests. They don't sleep in their homes. They left their jobs or agricultural work or small business. Some leave the villages and go to far off towns and pull rickshaws to eke out a living. Some hide in the nearby forests. Hundreds or even thousands of families have been suffering as the bread-earners of the families are not able to look after the families out of fear of arrests under POTA. Some FIRs mention one main accused and then some names and after that also mention and other so and so numbers. All the villagers from where a case is being booked feel the threat of use of POTA any day. People say that anyone can be picked up any time and can be produced under the same case. People are panicked and terrorised. They can not sleep. They can not work. For example, the villagers Batuka in Keredari block in Hazaribagh district, Jheridih in Dumari block of Giridih.

To mention few incidents of torture, repression and arrest by the police, one Mr. Deo Saran Mahato of village Madheya in Palamu was picked up by the police at 12p.m. on 18/06/2002 while he was busy feeding the cattle. The police 150 in number came and gheraoed his house and picked him up at gun point without even telling the reason for his arrest. When his wife (Buddhiwati Devi) tried to resist, the police beat her up with the gun which not only let to the fracture of her hand but also had to misconceive as she was four months pregnant. The police also took eight thousand rupees and ransacked everything in the house. Likewise many other villagers were picked up and slapped POTA without having any concrete evidence of their involvement in anti-national activities.

Likewise many other villagers who were innocent and have nothing to do with any activities of any banned outfits were booked under POTA. The villagers are in continuous fear and are traumatised as they never know when and who will be picked up by the police.

3. Special Massive Terrorising Operations to Book POTA Cases
In Palamu alone we covered eight cases and in Gumla another nine cases. The people, we found, were running away at the sight and sound of the vehicles in which we were travelling. This made us curious to know the reason, to which we found that the people are worried that it might be the police vehicle and they will be again harassed. In most cases we found that the people are being vindicated and arrested on charges of being involved in anti-national activities to which they have no relation. They are simple and busy villagers struggling for day-to-day survival quest.

Civil Police, Jharkhand Armed Police and CRPF together in 500 numbers according to the villagers of Khapia, Batuka and Salga cracked down upon these three villages on 29th Jan. 2002 between 4 A.M. and 12 noon. Houses were smashed. Rice, wheat reserves were spoilt. Women, children and the old were dragged out and brutally beaten for hours. Youth were tortured. They surrounded these villages stealthily from all the four corners. And finally picked up 13 people including a minor boy of 15 named Shankar Karmali. All 13 were placed under POTA and jailed in Ranchi. An unconfirmed piece of news reached the villagers when we were talking to them that POTA clauses were removed on them. Exactly after one year, the villagers hear this news but did not seem to believe it. Many more names from these villages are already mentioned in different FIRs.

On 1st Dec. 2003, the village called Mangal Tilayya in Pirtand block, Giridih
district was ransacked by about 300 heavily armed police forces belonging to
Jharkhand Armed Police and the local civil police. Some families were looted. Hundreds were beaten up and injured. This was shortly after the arrest of Sanjay Kumar Mehto (26), a school teacher in the village along with 2 other friends of his. 2-3 year old children were stamped upon and brutally crushed by the police nder their boots. The old women were also beaten up. Young women were used in the most vulgar language. Some houses were looted including Nanki Devi's 66). Only one Kambal (Blanket) which her only son who is a worker in Mumbai sent to her was stolen by the Daroga. She madly cried to usesjk dacfeysxk ;k ugh a (??)

Several youth were named under POTA after this operation. But none is arrested though continuously the police come to the village to pick them up. Some left for Mumbai. Others wander outside the village. Two young women have been also under this list. Some boys came and met us, though the police camped on the outskirts of the village while we were taking down information in the village.

4. Advocate, Journalist, Hotelier, and Munsi Jailed Under POTA
Sushil Prakash Bhasin, an Advocate at Daltonganj was arrested from his house on 28th June 2002. Two revolvers were supposedly recovered by Mr. Anil Palta, he Palamu SP from his Almari. Shushil's father, a freedom fighter and wife, a teacher tell us that Mr. Anil Palta himself by forcefully sending them out from the room searched the only Almirah in the house purposefully and with a conspiracy. The Advocate is now languishing in the Ranchi jail.

Nagendra Sharma, a reporter of Hindustan, a Hindi daily was arrested under POTA case No. 11/02 SPL from Sadbahini village in Palamu district. His only fault is that he has been regularly covering on the activities of the banned organisations.

Bansidhar Sahu of Palkot village in Gulma district was arrested on 2nd Feb 2002 under POTA. Some members of the banned organisations used go to take tea at his small restaurant on the road side.

5. Family Members, Relatives, Guests Arrested Under POTA
Janki Bhuiya, minor boy of 14, along with two guests/relatives from Badkigaon in Hazaribagh district, was arrested in the last December. The only mistake of his was that his father might be working with MCCI. This was not confirmed by Janki Bhuiya's mother or any other member in his family do not know if his father is really working in MCCI. But his father has not been coming home for the last 3 years. His mother was arrested before and jailed for 3 months. Later on, on one terrible dark night the police raided the house in dozens and picked up Janki Bhuiya (14) and two more relatives belonging to his mother's side, who came for a courtesy visit and were booked under POTA. The whole village was terrorised in such a way that his mother and younger brothers are not even spoken to by their neighbours today. Janki Bhuiya is a silent sufferer behind the bars under POTA, although the POTA designated court sent him to a juvenile home after months. The relatives have also become the victims of POTA. They could not even engage an advocate to plead their case.

6. Family Dispute is being Used to Book a POTA Case
A family in Getha village in Palamu district had a land dispute. The eldest
brother of the family Narvdeswar Singh was killed. The police used this murder and dispute to book two of the younger brothers, Krishna Singh, Anirudh Singh and Anirudh's son Kishore Singh, a student of intermediate under POTA. In Jharkhand all the laws of the land are replaced by POTA. These people merit only ordinary criminal case, but not at all POTA, the extra-ordinary law made supposedly to control Terrorism.


  1. Most of the cases under POTA were booked on innocent, illiterate, poor Adivasi, Scheduled Caste and Backward caste people in the villages.

  2. The police booked POTA cases to terrorise people.

  3. Cases which only merit sections of ordinary law have been brought under POTA.

  4. POTA is politically used by the BJP led Marandi Government to terrorise and wean away people from all other opposition parties like JMM, and RJD.

  5. No terrorist threatening the national integrity is booked under POTA in
    Jharkhand. No one among the 3 thousand and odd people named under POTA in less than a year seems to be meriting the POTA clauses as there is no anti-national among them.

  6. POTA is being used on revolutionaries, their supporters and mostly on the common villagers from the villages where there exists some influence of the revolutionary parties like MCC, CPI (ML) (Peoples War) and other Parties.

  7. Most of the families of victims of POTA do not understand what the law is and not able to arrange advocates.

  8. The cases in which advocates are being arranged also, the poor families are not able to bear the burden of expenses. They are selling cattle, houses and small patches of land (those who have) and becoming pauperised further. The POTA is a burden unimaginable on below the mere subsistence economy of Jharkhand villages.

  9. After the formation of the new state of Jharkhand, people did not get any new facility or basic necessity or amenities but one thing that is POTA is the only gift the people are forced to accept by both the central and the state
    governments led by BJP.

  10. According to the information we could gather:
    FIRs filed on more than 654
    Persons arrested so far 202
    Enquiries began to file charge sheet 194
    Bailed persons 004
    POTA case accused died in jail 004
    POTA clauses removed by courts 013
    Total no. of persons named under POTA 3,200


  1. All cases so far booked under POTA in Jharkhand should be immediately reviewed by appointing an appropriate review committee as per clauses under POTA.

  2. Pending such a review, the Government of Jharkhand should immediately withdraw POTA and other cases booked on the most obvious innocent persons who constitute an overwhelming majority of the booked cases under POTA.

  3. Special designated Courts of POTA should be appointed in Gumla and Palamu districts where the highest number of POTA cases have been registered whereas now these designated courts are situated only in Ranchi and Dumka where POTA cases are minimum in number in the state.

  4. The police officials responsible for booking POTA cases on the innocent villagers should be punished.

  5. All the innocent people booked under POTA and jailed should be compensated by the Government.

  6. The rest of the cases should be converted to ordinary cases under Cr.P.C.and other appropriate sections by removing POTA clauses in a phased way on a number of cases.

  7. The arrest warrants on those who are named under different FIRs of POTA cases should be withdrawn to ease out the tense atmosphere in hundreds of villages.

Demands of the team:

  1. All the case registered under POTA in Jharkhand should be withdrawn.
  2. All warrants of arrest under POTA should be immediately withdrawn.
  3. Proper compensation package should be announced for the POTA victims' families.
  4. The Government of Jharkhand should immediately stop using POTA on all political opponents.
  5. The movement led by MCCI and CPI(ML) Peoples War and other organisations in Jharkhand should be treated as a socio-economic question of the Jharkhandi society and should be dealt with the movement accordingly and not by using POTA by the Government.
  6. POTA should be withdrawn.
  7. Basic civil amenities like electricity, drinking water, roads, bridges over rivers and rivulets and health care system should be provided in the vast rural areas where basic facilities are totally absent.

The Fact Finding Team Members:

1. Hari Singh Tark, President, Association for Democratic Rights
(AFDR), Punjab

2. Balbir Singh Saini, Sr. Advocate, Chandigarh High Court, Haryana

3. G.N. Saibaba, General Secretary, All India Peoples
Resistance Forum (AIPRF)

4. Shashi Bhushan Pathak, Secretary, PUCL, Jharkhand and Convenor, PVJM

5. Anil Sharma, AIPRF, Delhi

6. Chayan Sen Gupta, AIPRF, Assam

Contact: 67 A, Rameswar Nagar, Azadpur, Delhi 110033
Email: aiprf@aipr.org, aiprf@hotmail.com, aiprf@glide.net.in

for CHRO
Mukundan C. Menon
Secretary General

3, Rams' Cottage
Thiruvananthapuram-695 024
(Ph.: 0471-2476262)

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