Above from Report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya Addendum Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received
Urgent appeal 1211.
On 23 May 2008, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal to the Government concerning Mr Lenin Raghuvanshi, Convener of the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) in Varanasi, State of Uttar Pradesh. Mr Lenin Raghuvanshi has focused his work on the right to food and on victims of death due to starvation and he is also a member of the District Vigilance Committee on Bonded Labour.
1212. Mr Lenin Raghuvanshi was previously the subject of a letter of allegation sent by the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders on 14 February 2008, as well as of a joint urgent appeal sent by the former Special Representative, together with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia and related intolerance and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, on 16 August 2005, and of a joint urgent appeal sent by the former Special Representative, together with the Special Rapporteur on the right to food on 13 December 2007. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders regrets that no reply to date to any of the three communications has been received and as such, would greatly appreciate a response from Your Excellency’s Government as soon as possible.
1213. According to information received, on 26 April 2008, Mr Lenin Raghuvanshi began to receive abusive and threatening phone calls, which warned him to end the PVCHR’s work in the district of Varanasi. On 18 May, he received a phone call, thought to be from a powerful member of a criminal group in Uttar Pradesh, which threatened that if the PVCHR did not stop working for the Musahar community, a Dalit group subject to caste-based discrimination, men hired by upper caste feudal lords would raze Musahar ghettos and villages in Varanasi. The caller also questioned Mr Lenin Raghuvanshi about the funding of the PVCHR, in what is believed to be a warning to the PVCHR to pay protection money to local mafias.
1214. Concern was expressed that the threats and intimidation directed against Mr Lenin Raghuvanshi may be directly linked to his work and that of the PVCHR in defense of human rights, in particular the rights of Dalit communities in the State of Uttar Pradesh. In view of these threats, serious concern was expressed for the physical and psychological integrity of Mr Lenin Raghuvanshi and the members of the PVCHR.
Response from the Government 1215.
In a letter dated 28 January 2009, the Government responded to the urgent appeal of 23 May 2008. The allegations contained in the communication were examined by the Government, which informed that a complaint was lodged in Thana Cant, Varanasi, following which a chargesheet was sent to the court on 21 July 2008 against accused Bulbul Singh alias Uday Narayan Singh. In the meantime, necessary instructions were issued to the local police station to provide adequate security to Dr Lenin.
Links for details: