Family members were not informed of the arrest by the police: PUCL

People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), human rights group, has condemned the arrest of Dandapani Mohanty, who acted as one of the interlocutors on behalf of the Maoists, both in the abduction of former Malkangiri Collector and that of the two Italian tourists.

Alleging that the State government was misusing power, Binodini Pradhan of PUCL said, “the way the Odisha police arrested Mr. Mohanty, violating all rules pertaining to arrest and detention, shows its highhandedness and utter disregard for the law of the land.” “Mr. Mohanty as told by his family members was picked by policemen in plain clothes from near his residence at Berhampur.  The family members were not informed of the arrest by the police in violation of guidelines issued of Supreme Court of India,” Ms. Pradhan said. In December last year Berhampur police had picked up Sangram Mohanty, son of Dandapani Mohanty, in the same manner, she said.

According to Ms Pradhan, apart from these ‘high profile cases’, PUCL has documented several cases in which the police have been blatantly violating the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court. 

PUCL said the police have claimed that there are at least 15 cases, including six non-bailable warrants, against Mr. Mohanty. “The interlocutor has been booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and as the media reported, the cases against Mr. Mohanty included murder, extortion, burning buses and destroying telephone towers.  Surprisingly, some of these cases lodged against him are related to incidents dated back to 2009 and 2010,” Ms Pradhan said.

“Why didn’t the police arrest Mr. Mohanty earlier if there were serious charges against him? He was no underground Maoist cadre and was openly involved in political activities. Then why did the police have to wait till 2013 to arrest him? And, how was that the Odisha government accepted his role as an interlocutor for the release of the abducted Malkangiri Collector and the two Italian tourists, if Mr. Mohanty had murder charges against him, as claimed by the police now?,” she said.

PUCL demanded that Odisha police must stop lodging fabricated cases against people who raise human rights issues.