AICCTU Leader’s Harassment by Uttarakhand Police for Social Media Post

Uttarakhand Government Must Stop Persecution of Left Activists

The CPIML has questioned the Uttarakhand government as to why the Uttarakhand police is bent on unnecessary mental torture of CPIML leaders. CPIML Uttarakhand Secretary Raja Bahuguna has told that Uttarakhand administration has sent a notice against AICCTU State Secretary KK Bora to the Bhotiya Padav Chowki of Haldwani for a probe by the Dehradun IT Cell (under Uttarakhand STF) for putting up a post on 22 May on the Uttarakhand AICCTU facebook page showing the symbolic protest which complied with all Lockdown rules. The protest was in response to an all India joint call by central trade unions. Comrade Bahuguna said that regarding that protest (on 22 May) he and State Committee member Dr Kailash Pandey also received phone calls from respective Police stations to indirectly find out location and residential address.

The protest on 22 May was held by trade unions across the country against the increasing of working hours from eight to twelve. The protesting trade unions included all central trade unions, federations, bank unions and insurance unions. Constituting an STF probe into a post on such a countrywide program exposes the intent of the State government.

Comrade Bahuguna said that the State government should stop persecuting Communist activists who raise people’s issues through protests, and concentrate on control and prevention of Corona, starvation and unemployment. He said that our Party will continue its struggle against every kind of oppression and atrocity and to protect the Constitution and democracy is our birthright. He said that Comrade KK Bora is a popular and well-loved trade union leader who has worked tirelessly for decades for the legal rights of workers. This entire episode is extremely serious and objectionable. To harass a person working for workers’ legal rights when he opposes government policies shows the government’s dictatorial character which ought not to be. The government must stop targeting the AICCTU social media forum which is committed for the issues of workers’ rights.

Trade union leader AICCTU State Secretary KK Bora was asked by phone on 10 June to come to the Bhotiya Padav Chowki in Haldwani. The caller identified himself as Bhotiya Padav Chowki in-charge Pratap Singh Nagarkoti and said in a threatening tone that if KK Bora did not come to the Chowki, he (i.e. the police) would come to Bora’s house. Comrade Bora refused to go and said the police are welcome to come to his house. The police did not go to his house, but on the same day the matter was brought to the knowledge of Uttarakhand IG Police Anil Ratudi, Senior SP Nainital and Upper SP Haldwani. On 11 June Comrade Bora went to the Bhotiya Padav Chowki to understand what the matter was all about, accompanied by senior advocates Anil Rajwar and Kailash Joshi, former General Secretary of Bar Association Durga Singh Mehta and CPIML Nainital Secretary Dr. Kailash Pandey. Chowki in-charge Nagarkoti told him that he was called in connection with a Facebook post on 22 May of a protest where it looks like social distancing rules were violated. The protest, it should be remembered, was in response to a joint call by trade unions against the abrogation of labor laws and increasing working hours from eight hours to twelve.

Indresh Maikhury, CPIML leader based in Dehradun has said that it is astonishing that on mere suspicion of violation of social distancing rules, the matter was handed over for probe to the Chowki in-charge. Did the Uttarakhand police show such alacrity when crowds had gathered in front of liquor shops not so long ago? If yes, then the people of the State wish to know the results of the probe. Or are probes into social distancing reserved for those who raise their voice for people’s rights? Recently, a State Minister who was supposed to be in quarantine and who was later found to be Corona positive participated in a Cabinet meeting. Did anyone dare to question him?

He also asked when the protest picture was put up on Facebook on 22 May, why did the police wait till 10 June to summon Comrade Bora? Under which section of CRPC, Police Act or IPC did Shri Nagarkoti have the right to make such a threat?

Ironically, Chowki Incharge Nagarkoti complained to the delegation of lawyers who accompanied KK Bora on 11 June, that they have made his telephone number viral as this incident has become known to the public now! But his number, along with those of many other police personnel, is already in public domain on the Uttarakhand Police website. Shri Nagarkoti says that this is his personal number, but why was he threatening a citizen from his personal number?

The CPIML Uttarakhand in this matter has asked Uttarakhand government and Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat that this is a time of pandemic-induced crisis, and the police have to attend to many issues of the people hence they should not be engaged to waste their energy on non-issues like slapping cases for ration distribution or targeting political activists for organizing virtual dharnas. Therefore, the government must fix its priorities right.