INDIA: Human rights activist facing threats for protesting against corruption


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-305-2007
ISSUES: Corruption, Human rights defenders,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) regarding the case of Mr. Mangala Prasad, a human rights activist who is now facing death threats for protesting against corruption of the local administration. It is reported that Mangala was threatened by the local criminals who are employed by the officers at the Village and Block Office.


It is reported that on October 20, 2007 at about 7pm Mangala was returning home from the local market at Kuwar. On his way home Mangala was stopped by two persons, Mr. Sanjay Singh and Mr. Ajay Patel, who came on a motorcycle. Sanjay and Ajay threatened Mangala that if he continues to organise the lower caste communities and prevent them from paying bribes to the local body (Village Office and Block Office) officers, they will have to kill Mangala. Sanjay and Ajay used abusive language against Mangala and threatened him that not only Mangala but his family also will be eliminated if Mangala continued his human rights work in the locality.

Mangala is a resident of Ahirani village and is a permanent staff of the PVCHR. Mangala’s field work covers Hamirpur village of Badagaon block in Varanasi district. In September 2007, Mangala had organised protests at the Badagaon and Pindra Block Offices along with the members of the Nut and Musahar communities living in the area against the village and block officers who were demanding bribes for distributing government sponsored aid equipments to the poor.

In addition to the protest in front of the offices, Mangala had also encouraged the villagers to file written complaints against the corrupt officers to the Block Development Officer (BDO) of the neighbouring Pindra Block. In the complaint the villagers had accused that the BDO of Badagaon Block, Mr. Satendra Singh, the head of Badagaon Block and Mr. Lolarak Singh, the village head of Nathaipur village had demanded bribes from the villagers for distributing trolleys. The AHRC had issued an Urgent Appeal (UA-294-2007) regarding this case and had also written to the authorities in India calling for an immediate intervention in the case. It seems that the complaint is enquired by the government.

It is reported that Ajay and Sanjay who threatened Mangala are dreaded criminals in the locality who have several allegations against them for being behind assaulting and murdering people in and around the region. It is also reported that Ajay and Sanjay are engaged by the village and block officers who now find their corrupt practices exposed and threatened due to the human rights activities and solidarity movements initiated by the PVCHR in the region through their staff Mr. Mangala Prasad.

When Mangala was threatened he ran away from the place where he was stopped and got a lift from a passerby on his scooter. That night Mangala stayed at his relative’s house at Babatpur. In the meanwhile Mangala also informed the matter to his office. The next day, on October 21, 2007 Mangala went to the Phulpur Police Station to lodge a complaint regarding the incident. The Station Officer informed Mangala that he had already received information about the incident over telephone from the PVCHR the previous night and had dispatched a Sub-Inspector to the site. The officer also informed Mangala that the Sub-Inspector had returned after a while and had reported that noting like what was alleged by Mangala in his complaint had happened.

At this Mangala narrated the entire incident to the officer. The Sub-Inspector called Sanjay over telephone to the station for identification. The officer also informed Sanjay that a First Information Report (FIR) is being registered against Sanjay. But to Mangala’s surprise Sanjay started threatening Mangala at the police station, informing him that for trying to lodge a complaint against him, he would kill Mangala when he gets out from the station. The Sub-Inspector did nothing to prevent Sanjay from threatening Mangala. Even worse, the officer did not register a case against Sanjay even though the threat was made right in front of the officer, inside the police station. Instead a Non-Cognizable Report (NCR) was recorded at the police station regarding the entire incident. [A cognizable offense in India means that a person committing or attempting to commit such an offense could be arrested by the police without requiring a warrant of arrest to be issued from the appropriate authorities]

According to the law in India, the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, under Section 154 (1) every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, must be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be read over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing, shall be signed by the person giving it. This statement is otherwise known as the first information statement.

Based on the information given, the police have to enquire the case and proceed with the case. The FIR becomes relevant when the investigation reveals a crime, upon which the police have to proceed further. The very fact that an NCR was recorded suggests the possibility that the police is planning to refer off the case and has decided to take no action against the accused. This is alarming particularly because of the fact that the accused against whom a written complaint was given at the police station had in fact threatened the complainant with death in front of the officer, that too at the police station, which in itself is a cognizable offense.

Under Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, as amended for the State of Uttar Pradesh vide notification number 777/VIII 9-4(2)-87, dated 31st July, 1989, threatening a person with murder is a cognizable offense calling for a sentence of imprisonment of seven years. Additionally, under Section 221 of the Indian Penal Code if a public servant refuses to apprehend a person who he is supposed to apprehend, fails to do so, that too is an offense. In Mangala’s case these provisions of law were not observed and Mangala as of now lives in fear for his life.


It is common in India for police officers to refuse to register a case. Most often this is because the police are reluctant to do their duty and in addition the police accept bribes from suspects. The police also demand bribe from the complainant to register the case. For further information regarding this practice please see POLICE IN INDIA: First Information Report or ‘First Insulting Response’?.

In Mangala’s case, in addition to the fact that Mangala is a human rights activist facing threat, the threat is also an infringement of the right to association and freedom of speech and expression of the community that Mangala work with and also against Mangala. In the feudalist setup in rural villages of India, the village head and officers at the local bodies like the Block Office and the local police officers is pretty much what government is. What these officers do to the ordinary people is what governance is. Most often due to inadequate monitoring mechanisms these officers exploit their authority and position in the villages to such extent that the ordinary villagers are forced to pay bribes and the like to these officers to avail their services.

The villages are remotely located in many parts of India that even the district administration finds it difficult to be in touch with the village and block level officers even to verify the implementation of government welfare programmes. The fact that a person like Mangala and his organisation, the PVCHR, is organising the villagers and protesting before authorities is an act of trying to link the severed connection between government schemes and actual implementation at the grass-root level. This act often becomes a direct challenge to the authority of those officers in rural areas who thus far had been enjoying the illegal benefits of lack of accountability. When such protests are organised and attended by the members of the lower caste, who were so far under the absolute control of the petty officers and their corrupt practices it poses a further threat to the authority of these officers. For all these reasons Mangala and his work is at risk. Additionally, in a state like Uttar Pradesh, were death threats turn real often, there is good reason why a person like Mangala should take all precautions to ensure that he himself and the people for whom he work remains safe.

Please write to the authorities mentioned below expressing your concern about the incident and calling for an urgent intervention in the case. The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders calling for an intervention in this case.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Ms. Mayawati
Chief Minister
Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh
Fax: + 91-522-2230002/2239234

Dear __________,

INDIA: Human rights activist facing threats for protesting against corruption

Name of the victim: Mr. Mangala Prasad, son of Bhut Nath Rajbhar, residing at Ahirani village, Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh
Name of the perpetrators:
1. Mr. Sanjay Singh, son of Lalji Singh, residing at Barzi village, Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh
2. Mr. Ajay Patel, residing at Hamirpur village, Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh
3. The Block Development Officer of Badagaon Block, Varanasi
4. Mr. Satendra Singh, head of block, Badagaon, Varanasi
5. Mr. Lolarak Singh, son of Lallan Singh, head of village, Nathaipur, Varanasi
6. Mr. Rajan Singh, son of Ram Ujagar, a teacher of Hamirpur primary school, Hamirpur village, Varanasi
Date of incident: October 20, 2007

I am writing to express my concern regarding the case of Mr. Mangala Prasad, a human rights activist associated with the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR). I am informed that Mangala was threatened by the first and second perpetrators named above for organising a protest against the corrupt practices of the perpetrators 3 to 6 on October 20, 2007.

I am informed that Mangala is a human rights activist associated with the PVCHR working for the Nut and Musahar community in and around Badagaon Block, particularly in the villages within Badagaon Block. I am also aware that in the recent past the perpetrators 3, 4 and 5 were demanding bribes for distribution of trolleys to the Nut and Musahar communities in Hamipur village, against which the villagers and Mangala organised a protest. I am also informed that the perpetrators 1 and 2 above had threatened Mangala saying that perpetrators 3 to 6 had engaged 1 and 2 to kill Mangala, if he continued with his human rights work in the region.

I am further informed that Mangala had approached the Phulpur Police Station to lodge a complaint against the perpetrators on October 21, 2007. But the police refused to register a case regarding the incident, inspite of the fact that Mangala was threatened for a second time in front of the police officer while Mangala was inside the police station to lodge a complaint.

I am aware that threatening a person with murder is a cognizable offense in Uttar Pradesh. In spite of this the local police refusing to register a case, to me, mean that the local police is in fact interested in protecting the perpetrators in their case or are under their influence.

I therefore urge you to immediately intervene in this case and take appropriate actions so that

1. The safety of Mangala is ensured and that he is able to continue his work, if required with police protection;

2. The full statement of Mangala is to be recorded by the local police and a copy to be given to Mangala immediately;

3. The local police register a crime against the perpetrators, Mr. Sanjay Singh and Mr. Ajay Patel in particular, and also against the other perpetrators who are suspected to have engaged Ajay and Sanjay to threaten and murder Mangala;

4. The accused on arrest must be produced before appropriate time within 24 hours of arrest; and,

5. Appropriate actions to be taken against the Sub-Inspector of Police, Phulpur Police Station for refusing to take action against Sanjay Singh who threatened Mangala at the police station.

I hope that you will take appropriate actions in this case at the earliest.

Yours sincerely,



1. Ms. Veena Kumari
District Magistrate
Varanasi, Kachahari, Uttar Pradesh 
Fax: + 91 542 2501450

2. Mr. Shripad Sirodakar
Senior Superintendent of Police 
Varanasi, SSP Office, Kachahari, Uttar Pradesh

3. Dr. Kashmir Singh
Inspector General of Police
Varanasi Zone
Varanasi District, Uttar Pradesh

4. Mr. Vikram Singh
Director General of Police
1-Tilak Marg, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh
Fax: + 91 522 2206120, 2206174

5. Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar
Minister (Panchayati Raj)
R.No. 401-C, Shastri Bhawan 
Room 69-C Parliament House
New Delhi
Fax: + 91 11 23381898
Email: or

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-305-2007
Countries : India,
Issues : Corruption, Human rights defenders,