UP police book social activist who highlighted issue of Musahars eating grass after lockdown
The activist, Mangla Rajbhar, belongs to the OBC community and is an active member of the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR)
A week after National Herald exposed how Musahars – one of the most backward and poor sub-castes among Dalits – were pushed to eat grass due following the nationwide lockdown in Modi’s constituency Varanasi, UP police booked the social activist who highlighted the incident under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on Saturday.
The activist, Mangla Rajbhar, belongs to the OBC community and is an active member of the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), was first to bring up the plight of the Musahars on various social media platforms. He was instrumental in highlighting the issue in the local media also.
His colleagues in the PVCHR contend that UP police booked Rajbhar for his campaign which brought discredit to PM Modi in the press.
“Following his persistent campaigning, the incident of Musahars eating grass caught media attention. Due to his campaign, UP police and the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government had to face embarrassment in national and international media,” said Lenin Raghuvanshi, founder of the PVCHR.
Talking to NH over the phone, Raghuvanshi alleged, “Rajbhar came on police radar when he raised the issue of starvation among Musahars. Since PM Modi’s name also got highlighted in the coverage, police hatched a conspiracy and implicated him in a false case”.
Raghuvanshi has written a letter to the NHRC, demanding a probe and revocation of the case slapped on Rajbhar.
According to the FIR registered in Phulpur police station which is some 40 km away from Varanasi, police booked Rajbhar under Section 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 395 (punishment for dacoity) and 397 in a case related to a violent clash between two communities in a nearby village.
According to the local media, in Thana Goan, two groups fought over panchayat elections which are scheduled to be held in the coming months. When police reached to quell the fight, angry people pelted stone on policemen.
Saying that Rajbhar was not even present at the spot when the incident occurred, Raghuvanshi slammed the Yogi government for misusing the police. He said, “Social rights activists, human right activists and journalists are being targeted by the Yogi regime”.