DEATH THREATS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER
PL SIGN PETITON AND SHARE WIDELY https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Haryana_Chief_Minister_Drop_False_charges_against_Human_Rights_Lawyer/
Dalit lawyer and human rights defender, Rajat Kalsan, faces fabricated charges and death threats due to his work defending Dalit communities in Haryana state. Forced to suspend his legal practice and leave his home town, he faces life imprisonment if convicted of the charges.
On 14 September 2017, the police registered a criminal case against Rajat Kalsan for allegedly trying to instigate Dalit villagers to file false complaints against members belonging to dominant castes in Hansi, Haryana State. The case mentions offences including extortion, promoting enmity between different groups, providing false evidence and criminal conspiracy.
Rajat Kalsan assisted Dalit villagers from Bhatla, Hansi, to file a criminal complaint in July 2017 following a social boycott imposed against them by members of dominant castes. This included preventing their participation in community gatherings, use of social commons and enjoyment of employment rights. Subsequently, based on a petition, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana constituted a fact-finding into the boycott. On 2 September, Rajat Kalsan assisted this committee and as a result, received several death threats and was forced to flee as he feared assault by a group of dominant caste members.
The complaints filed against Rajat Kalsan are politically motivated. This is not the first time that he has been targeted for protesting against human rights violations and these multiple, unsubstantiated criminal allegations appear to indicate a systematic campaign to vilify him.
Rajat Kalsan remains at risk of arrest and, fearing for his safety, has been forced to stop his legal practice and has not been able to return home since fleeing his village over a month ago. If convicted of the charges filed against him, he could face a sentence of life imprisonment.