Human Rights

Lawyer, Human Rights Activist severely beaten by Gujarat Police, fears further attack

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7th March 2012: Young lawyer and Human Rights activist Bilal Kagzi, along with his clients, were severely beaten up in village Kosamba, Surat District of Gujarat. He was beaten up by police officials of the Kosamba Police Station within the premises of the station. They were subsequently arrested for 5 hours and released around 3 PM. He fears of further attack on him.

Bilal Kagazi is recently based at his village in Surat, where he practices at District and local courts and occasionally appears for matters in the Gujarat. He has also worked for Delhi based Human Rights’ Law Network (HRLN) as a law officer. Apart from his legal practices, he is actively involved in various human rights movements and campaigns both at local and national level.

The incident occurred on Wednesday morning, at around 10:30 am when Kagzi, along with two locals, Muhammed Rafeeq and Shahnawaz Khan, had gone to register a complaint about the destruction of public property by a local criminal, Mohd. Haneef Malik. On the previous night, Mohd. Haneef destroyed an RCC road of the village and blocked the way, with the claim that the traffic that passed through the road created a nuisance, since his house stood beside the road.

Advocate Kagzi, told over phone from his village that in the morning, he was approached by some locals to accompany them to the police station to register a complaint of damage to public property, to which he readily agreed. But as soon as they reached the station, the police officials, instead of listening to them, started hurling abuses. According to Kagazi, they dragged him and beat him severely when he tried to argue with them. The officials involved are Inspecter Mr. A G Jadav, Constable Jaswant, ASI Kanti Surty and one driver who was in plain clothes.

They dragged Kagzi in the premises of the police station and at point blank, threw into the lock up. They also threatened him to kill in encounter. “Tujhe human rights ki bahut padi hui hai…tumhara encounter hi karna padega, [you are too concerned about human rights, you need an encounter] if you don’t stop working on all these issues,” warned the police officials. He was also forced to sign a compromise.

Mohd. Haneef Malik, the accused, is an infamous criminal of the area and has as many as 15-20 cases in his name, including charges of rape. But since he is a police informer and enjoys political patronage of the ruling party, nothing is done against him.  Kagzi fears, the police officials or the criminal can attack or forge a case against him anytime.

For further details Mr. Bilal can be contacted at 09429507017
 
Mahtab Alam is a Civil Rights’ Activist and Journalist currently based at Delhi +91-981120945

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