Alert: 7 people are still imprisoned 1 year after crackdown on human rights in Belarus
India
19.04.21
Urgent Interventions

India: Judicial harassment of Laishram Herojit Singh, aka Shintha

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

IND 001 / 0421 / OBS 049
Arbitrary detention /
Release on bail /
Judicial harassment
India
April 19, 2021

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

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed about the arbitrary detention, subsequent release on bail, and ongoing judicial harassment of Laishram Herojit Singh, aka Shintha, a human rights defender working on the promotion of the right to health and the Secretary General of the Coalition Against Drug and Alcohol (CADA)[1], in Thoubal District, Manipur State.

On April 7, 2021, at 2pm, a group of around 18 policemen from the Thoubal Police Station arbitrarily arrested Shintha at his home in Thoubal, Thoubal District, without producing a warrant and in the presence of his parents and neighbour. Shintha was subsequently taken to the Thoubal Police Station, where he was hit in the face by the police inspector, after he refused to sign the arrest memo. The document falsely stated that Shintha was a member of the United National Liberation Front (UNLF).

On April 8, 2021, Shintha appeared before the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate of Thoubal and was charged under Section 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on the basis of a First Information Report (FIR) lodged by the Thoubal police. The FIR alleged that Shintha was arrested in the city of Wangjing, Thoubal District, where he was accused of carrying out operations as an over ground worker[2] for the UNLF. Shintha denied the accusations and was subsequently remanded to police custody for four days. On April 12, 2021, Shintha was released on bail pending trial.

The Observatory underlines that four hours before his arrest on April 7, Shintha had attended a peaceful gathering organised by CADA to protest against the recent acquittal of the former chairman of the Autonomous District Council of Moreh, who had been arrested in 2018 in connection with a drug haul case.

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary detention, judicial harassment, and acts of ill-treatment against Shintha, which seem to be aimed at punishing him for his human rights peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory reiterates its concern over the misuse of the UAPA by the Indian authorities to target human rights defenders and silence dissent, and condemns all acts of harassment and persecution of human rights defenders in India. The Observatory urges the authorities to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Shintha and put an end to all acts of harassment against all human rights defenders in the country.

Actions requested:

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

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Laishram Herojit Singh and all human rights defenders in India;

ii. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level – against Laishram Herojit Singh and all other human rights defenders in India, and ensure that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals in all circumstances;

iii. Guarantee Laishram Herojit Singh’s right to due process and fair trial;

iv. Immediately put an end to the use of repressive laws, including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), to target human rights defenders and ensure its compliance with international human rights standards.

Addresses:

  • Mr. Narendra Damodardas Modi, Prime Minister of India, E-mail: pmosb@pmo.nic.in, Twitter: @narendramodi
  • Mr. Amit Shah, Union Minister of Home Affairs of India, Email: dirfcra-mha@gov.in
  • Mr. Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs of India, Email: hshso@nic.in
  • Mr. Sharad Arvind Bobde, Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court of India, Email: supremecourt@nic.in
  • Mr. Shri Bimbadhar Pradhan, IAS, Secretary General Chief Executive Officer
    of the National Human Rights Commission of India, Email: sgnhrc@nic.in, Twitter: @India_NHRC
  • Mr. Debindra Kundra, Focal Point on Human Rights Defenders, National Human Rights Commission of India, Email: hrd-nhrc@nic.in
  • H.E. Mr. Rajiv Kumar Chander, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Email: mission.india@ties.itu.int

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of India located in your country.

***

Geneva-Paris, April 19, 2021

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

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

• Tel OMCT: + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39

• Tel FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18


[1] The CADA is a coalition that works for the promotion of the right to health of children under 18 who are victims of drug abuse.

[2] Over ground workers (OGWs) are people who provide information and logistical support to insurgent groups.

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