Arbitrary detention of and judicial harassment against Mr. Narayan Reddy

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in India.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources of the arbitrary detention of and judicial harassment against Mr. Narayan Reddy, a leader of the Communist Party of India (CPI) who has been part of a six-year campaign against forcible acquisition of common lands for South Korean steel giant POSCO in Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha State (formerly Orissa State). The campaign is organised by a movement called the “POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti” (PPSS).

According to the information received, on December 23, 2011, Mr. Narayan Reddy was arrested in the early morning near Japa Square in Erasama area of Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha, and taken to Kujang police station. He was then brought before a local court, which remanded him to judicial custody for two weeks after he was falsely charged with “murder”. As of issuing this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Narayan Reddy remains detained in Samagol prison, Odisha State.

On January 9, 2012, a petition for release on bail of Mr. Narayan Reddy was rejected by the Additional District Session Judge of Jagatsinghpur, Mr. Sachidananda Sahu.

Mr. Reddy is reportedly being held in connection with violent incidents that took place on December 14, 2011 at the proposed site of the POSCO steel plant, following a clash between peaceful protesters against the construction of the coastal road connecting Paradip port to the proposed site of the plant and workers engaged by a contractor group, the Paradip Paribahan Company, to build the coastal road. One person died and 25 protesting villagers were seriously injured during the clashes.

Mr. Narayan Reddy has been leading the anti-POSCO campaign following the arrest of PPSS President, Mr. Abhay Sahu, on November 25, 2011, in the same context.

The Observatory condemns the arbitrary detention of and judicial harassment against Mr. Narayan Reddy, which seems to merely aim at sanctioning his peaceful activities in the framework of the campaign against the proposed POSCO steel plant and the related forcible acquisition of common lands farmed by villagers.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of India, urging them to:

i.                     Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Messrs. Narayan Reddy and Abhay Sahu, of all PPSS members as well as of all human rights defender sin India;

ii.                   Release Messrs. Narayan Reddy and Abhay Sahu immediately and unconditionally since his detention is arbitrary as it seems to merely sanction his human rights activities;

iii.                  Put an end to acts of any acts of harassment – including at the judicial level – against Messrs. Narayan Reddy and Abhay Sahu as well as against all human rights defenders in India;

iv.                 Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its:

-          Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;

-          Article 6(a), which foresees that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms”;

-          Article 12.2 (“the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”);

v.                   More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by India.

Addresses:

  • Mr. Shri Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister’s Office, Room number 152, South Block, New Delhi, India. Fax: + 91 11 2301 6857 E-mal: pmosb@pmo.nic.in /manmo@sansad.in
  • Dr. P. Chidambaram, Union Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, 104-107 North Block, New Delhi 110 001 India, Fax: +91 11 2309 2979 / 2309 4221. E-mail: hm@nic.in
  • Justice Kapadia, Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court, Tilak Marg, New Delhi -1, India. Fax: +91 11 233 83792, Email: supremecourt@nic.in
  • Justice K. G. Balkrishnan, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India, Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110 001, India. Fax: +91 11 2334 0016 / 2338 4863, Email: chairn@nic.incovdnhrc@nic.in ; ionhrc@nic.in
  • Shri A. K. Parashar, Focal Point on Human Rights Defenders, National Human Rights Commission, Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110 001, India. Email: hrd-nhrc@nic.in
  • Mr. Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Nivas, Aerodrome Road, Bhubaneswar 751001, India. Fax 0674-2535100 Email: cmo@ori.nic.in
  • Mr. Debadutta Singh, Superintendent of police, Email: dm@ori.nic.in
  • Secretary, Odisha Human Rights Commission, Toshali Bhawan (2nd Floor), Satyanagar,Bhubaneswar-751007, Odisha, India, Fax: +91 674 257 2010, Email: ohrc@nic.in
  • Sri Narayana Chandra Jena, Collector & District Magistrate Jagatsinghpur. PO: Jagatsinghpur District Police, Odisha, Email: dmjsp@ori.nic.in
  • Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative to the United Nations (Geneva), Rue du Valais 9, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland. Tel: +41 22 906 86 86, Fax: +41 22 906 86 96, Email: mission.india@ties.itu.int
  • Embassy of India in Brussels, 217 Chaussée de Vleurgat, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 (0)2 6489638 or +32 (0)2 6451869

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of India in your respective countries.

***

Geneva-Paris, January 13, 2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

[Source –  World Organisation Against Torture]

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