The petition demands that all charges against the arrested should be dropped.

Activists petition NHRC against arrest of Telangana fact-finding team by Chhattisgarh police
news News Saturday, December 31, 2016 - 07:27

Following the arrest of a fact-finding team of the Telangana Democratic Front (TDF) by the Chhattisgarh police, activists of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), have written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

According to reports, the NAPM team in Delhi personally delivered the petition, urging the Commission to immediately take cognizance of the matter.

Signatories to the petition include Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Prafulla Samantara, Sunilam, Binayak Sen, and Sandeep Pandey from the Human Rights Forum, and other organisations from Telangana and Andhra, The Hindu reported.

Last week, the seven-member team was arrested when it was travelling to Chhattisgarh, to look into complaints of human rights violations on adivasis in the area.

The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), along with activists of the TDF alleged that the team of lawyers, journalists and human rights activists were first arrested by the Telangana police and later handed over to the Chhattisgarh police.

"After holding them under arrest till about 6.00 pm on December 25, the Telangana police took the seven arrested persons across the border and handed them over to Chhattisgarh police at Kunta Police Station on the same day. It is learnt that in the morning of December 26, all the seven persons were produced before the remanding Court in Sukma and remanded to custody," says a statement by PUCL. 

However, the police claimed that the activists were arrested from Dharmapenta village in Sukma district, and belonged to intellectual wings of Maoists outfits.

The police also booked them under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, which has been heavily criticised in the past for being 'draconian', with activists alleging that it authorises police to detain a person who shows a “tendency to pose an obstacle to the administration of law”. 

Besides demanding that all charges against the arrested be dropped, the petition also asks that the team be allowed to investigate the allegations of human right violations in Bastar and Chhattisgarh.