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97Dalit Activist Killed

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  • max
    Apr 26, 2005
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      INDIA: Murder, Police inaction, Rule of Law
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------
      Dear friends,

      The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information
      from the National Campaign of Dalit Human Rights, (NCDHR, a Jaipur,
      Rajasthan based Centre for Dalit Rights) and People's Union for Civil
      Liberties (PUCL), a human rights organisation, regarding the brutal
      murder of Mr Mohan Lal Meghwal, a Dalit youth activist.

      On 1 March 2005, at about 8:00 a.m, in the main square of Bedkalan
      village, Jaitaran Tehsil, Pali District, Rajasthan, Mohan was killed
      by a feudal lord,Thakur Shivdan Singh Rathore, also an ex MLA(Member
      of Legislative Assembly) along with his son Tikam Singh and younger
      brother Diler Singh. It is alleged that the perpetrators first
      inflicted 19 deep knife injuries and then ran a tractor (heavy
      vehicle) over him to kill him. Though this happened in broad daylight
      in the presence of so many people, no one came forward to save Mohan,
      mainly because of their fear of the perpetrators.

      The main reason for his killing as unearthed by the fact finding team
      was that Mohan who was active in his dissent over the atrocities
      committed on the lower caste Dalits, had decided to stand for the
      Panchayat elections against the wishes of Shivdan Singh who was seen
      to have been controlling the village Panchayat over the past few
      decades.

      Though the police were initially reluctant to file an FIR, under the
      influence of Shivdan Singh and his accomplices, local Dalit leaders
      mobilised supporters and staged a protest ultimately forcing the
      police to register FIR no 36 under Section 302 IPC (murder), arrest
      the three offenders and conduct a post-mortem by a team of doctors.

      However, there has been mass support by the Rajput community to which
      Shivdan Singh and the other two perpetrators belong. Since the Dalits
      are up in arms against them, the police have provided the
      perpetrator's families with security, totally unconcerned about the
      victim's family who are frequently being threatened by the Rajputs to
      not appear in the court against the perpetrators. The perpetrators
      have been released on bail by the Jodhpur High Court on flimsy
      grounds of the death of Shivdan Singh's mother and now pose a great
      threat to the victim's family.

      We call for your urgent intervention in this case. Please send a
      letter to the Chief Minister, Rajasthan asking her to transfer the
      case to an independent authority and not the local police since they
      seem to be under the influence of the Rajput community. She must
      ensure that the case trial continues impartially and fairly. The bail
      applications of the perpetrators who are now out of judicial custody
      should be cancelled immediately. The victim's family should be
      provided financial compensation and security until the case trial is
      completed.

      Urgent Appeals Desk
      Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
      -------------------------------------------------------------

      DETAILED INFORMATION:

      Name of the victim: Mr Mohan Lal Meghwal
      Address: Bedkalan Village, Tehsil Jaitaran, District Pali, Rajasthan
      Place of incident: Bedkalan Village
      Alleged perpetrators:
      1. Thakur Shivdan Singh Rathore
      2. Tikam Singh, son of Shivdan Singh
      3. Diler Singh, brother of Shivdan Singh
      Time and Date of incident: 8:00 a.m., 1 March 2005-04-26

      Case Details:
      On 1 March 2005, at about 8:00 a.m, in the main square of Bedkalan
      village, Jaitaran Tehsil, Pali District, Rajasthan, Mohan Lal Meghwal
      was killed by a feudal lord,Thakur Shivdan Singh Rathore, also an ex.
      MLA(Member of Legislative Assembly) along with his son Tikam Singh
      and younger brother Diler Singh. It is alleged that this brutal
      murder took place in broad day light in front of many people but no
      one came forward to help the victim mainly because the perpetrators
      belonged to the upper case Rajput community who yield considerable
      clout amongst local authorities.

      The perpetrators inflicted 19 deep knife wounds and then ran a heavy
      tractor over Mohan killing him instantly. Mohan was an active Dalit
      activist and was constantly raising his voice against the atrocities
      being committed against the poor and the lower caste Dalits of that
      area. However the immediate reason for his brutal killing was that
      Mohan had dared to fight the village Panchayat elections, usually a
      strong hold of the upper caste Rajputs. In the past, Shivdan Singh
      who had controlled the Panchayat posts had got his people elected to
      the posts reserved for the scheduled castes (Dalits). He was thus
      angered by the thought that some one like Mohan would fight this and
      stand for elections.

      Shivdan Singh therefore produced false evidence against Mohan,
      fabricated documents and succeeded in getting Mohan's nomination
      papers rejected by the election officer. Angered by this, Mohan
      wanted to file a case in the local court against his rejection.
      Though Shivdan Singh threatened to kill Mohan and warned him not to
      approach the court, Mohan refused to bow under pressure and was
      infact on his way to meet his lawyer with his wife when he was killed.

      Though the police were initially reluctant to file an FIR, under the
      influence of Shivdan Singh and his accomplices who wanted the murder
      to look like an accident, local Dalit leaders mobilised supporters
      and staged a protest ultimately forcing the police to register FIR no
      36 under Section 302 IPC (murder), arrest the three offenders and
      conduct a post-mortem by a team of doctors.

      Soon after the arrests, the Rajput community in allegiance with the
      perpetrators, mobilised heavy support, staged violent protests and
      processions and managed to unleash a reign of terror in the village
      demanding the release of those arrested. It is alleged that important
      leaders of the Rajput community, politicians, and youth organisations
      actively participated in this demand. Being an ex-MLA, Shivdan Singh
      garnered considerable support from the high authorities of that area
      including Mr Devi Singh Bhati, MLA and Convenor of Rajasthan Samajik
      Nyay Manch, and Mr Madhav Singh Deewan, Ex-Minister, Rajasthan. It is
      also believed that while in jail, Shivdan Singh was provided with
      preferential treatment and not treated like any other undertrial,
      which is against the jail mandate.

      It is sad to note that none of these people visited the victim's
      family even once but instead gathered at Shivdan Singh's house to
      express their solidarity with him. We are informed that the only
      politician who visited the victim's house was the ex chief minister
      of Rajasthan, Mr Ashok Gehlot. It is also alleged by certain eye
      witnesses that the families of the perpetrators were provided with
      heavy security while the police men in the Dalit localities were
      hardly a few in number.

      The most disturbing fact is that the perpetrators have been released
      on interim bail by the Jodhpur High Court on the grounds of Shivdan
      Singh's mother's death and the perpetrators are now out of custody.
      They have been constantly issuing threats to the Dalits of the
      village and the victim's family to not appear against the
      perpetrators in the court. Meanwhile the Rajputs continue with their
      support. Thousands of people belonging to the Rajput community
      gathered in Shivdan Singh's house to offer their condolences on his
      mother's death and show their support. It is believed that a
      delegation of Rajputs met the Chief Minister, Mrs Vasundhara Raje and
      asked the investigation to be transferred to I.G. Jodhpur, Mr
      K.L.Sharma.

      From March 13 onwards, the victim's relatives staged an indefinite
      protest outside the Sub -Divisional Magistrate's office demanding
      that the charge sheets of the accused be submitted in the trial court
      without delay and they be provided police protection. It is believed
      that a delegation on behalf of the victim also tried to meet the
      Chief Minister but despite waiting for four hours she refused to meet
      them and this considering the fact that she had just met those
      representing the perpetrators.

      It is also alleged that on March 22, once again, Shivdan Singh's
      family threatened the victim's family and certain eyewitnesses with
      dire consequences.

      From the above-mentioned facts, the role of the police and other
      authorities is clear and seems that they are neither competent nor
      adequate to safeguard the interest of the victim's family and ensure
      justice. However, they have been providing adequate support to the
      accused.

      AHRC therefore, calls for your urgent intervention in this case. The
      case must be immediately transferred to an independent authority and
      not the local police so that the trial proceeds impartially. The bail
      applications of the perpetrators who are now out of judicial custody
      should be cancelled immediately. The victim's family should be
      provided financial compensation and security until the case trial is
      over.

      SUGGESTED ACTION:

      Please send a letter to the Chief Minister, Rajasthan asking her to
      transfer the case to an independent authority and not the local
      police immediately so that the trial proceeds impartially and the
      accused are punished for their wrong doings.

      Sample letter:

      Dear Mrs Raje,

      Re: Gruesome Murder of Dalit Activist in Broad Daylight

      Name of the victim: Mr Mohan Lal Meghwal
      Address: Bedkalan Village, Tehsil Jaitaran, District Pali, Rajasthan
      Place of incident: Bedkalan Village
      Alleged perpetrators:
      4. Thakur Shivdan Singh Rathore
      5. Tikam Singh, son of Shivdan Singh
      6. Diler Singh, brother of Shivdan Singh
      Time and Date of incident: 8:00 a.m., 1 March 2005-04-26

      I am extremely disturbed to hear of the brutal killing of Mr Mohan
      Lal Meghwal, a Dalit youth activist, in the main square of Bedkalan
      village, Jaitaran Tehsil, Pali District, Rajasthan, by a feudal lord,
      Thakur Shivdan Singh Rathore, also an ex. MLA (Member of Legislative
      Assembly) along with his son Tikam Singh and younger brother Diler
      Singh.

      It is alleged that this brutal murder took place in broad day light
      in front of many people but no one came forward to help the victim
      mainly because the perpetrators belonged to the upper case Rajput
      community who yield considerable clout amongst local authorities.

      The perpetrators inflicted 19 deep knife wounds and then ran a heavy
      tractor over Mohan killing him instantly. The main reason for his
      killing, as unearthed by the fact finding team, was that Mohan who
      was active in his dissent over the atrocities committed on the lower
      caste Dalits, had decided to stand for the Panchayat elections
      against the wishes of Shivdan Singh who was seen to have been
      controlling the village Panchayat over the past few decades.

      Though the police were initially reluctant to file an FIR, under the
      influence of Shivdan Singh and his accomplices, local Dalit leaders
      mobilised supporters and staged a protest ultimately forcing the
      police to register FIR no 36 under Section 302 IPC (murder), arrest
      the three offenders and conduct a post-mortem by a team of doctors.

      Soon after the arrests the Rajput community in allegiance with the
      perpetrators, mobilised heavy support, staged violent protests and
      processions and managed to unleash a reign of terror in the village
      demanding the release of those arrested. It is alleged that important
      leaders of the Rajput community, politicians, and youth organisations
      actively participated in this demand. It is also believed that while
      in jail, Shivdan Singh was provided with preferential treatment and
      not treated like any other undertrial, which is against the jail
      mandate.

      The most disturbing fact is that the perpetrators have been released
      on interim bail by the Jodhpur High Court on the grounds of Shivdan
      Singh's mother's death and the perpetrators are now out of custody.
      They have been constantly issuing threats to the Dalits of the
      village and the victim's family to not appear against the
      perpetrators in the court. It is also alleged by certain eye
      witnesses that the families of the perpetrators were provided with
      heavy security while the policemen in the Dalit localities were
      hardly a few in number.

      I thereby urge you to take immediate action on this case and transfer
      it to an independent authority and not the local police since they
      seem to be under the influence of the Rajput community and ensure
      that the case trial continues impartially and fairly. The bail
      applications of the perpetrators who are now out of judicial custody
      should be cancelled immediately. The victim's family should be
      provided financial compensation and security until the case trial is
      over.

      Yours sincerely,

      -----------------------------------------------


      SEND A LETTER TO:

      1.Mrs Vasundhara Raje
      Chief Minister of Rajasthan
      8, Civil Lines,
      Jaipur, Rajasthan,
      INDIA
      Tel: +91 141 380351
      Fax: +91141 381687

      SEND COPIES TO:

      1. Shri Justice A. S. Anand
      Chairperson
      National Human Rights Commission of India
      Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
      New Delhi-110001
      INDIA
      Tel: +91 11 23074448
      E-mail: mailto:chairnhrc@...

      2. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
      Government of India
      5th Floor, Loknayak Bhawan
      Khan Market
      New Delhi 110003
      India
      Tel: +91-11 2462 0435
      Fax: +91-11 2462 5378

      3. Mr. Doudou Diene
      Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism and racial
      discrimination
      C/o OHCHR-UNOG
      1211 Geneva 10
      Switzerland
      Tel: +41 22 917 9271
      Fax: +41 22 917 9050

      4. Ms. Hina Jilani
      Special Representative of the Secretary General for human rights
      defenders
      Att: Ben Majekodunmi
      Room 1-040
      C/o OHCHR-UNOG, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
      Tel: +41 22 917 93 88
      Fax: +41 22 917 9006



      Thank you.

      Urgent Appeals Programme
      Asian Human Rights Commission