India: Judicial harassment against community rights and human rights defender Ibrahim Dafadar

Urgent Appeal
© Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)

IND 002 / 0624 / OBS 021
Judicial harassment
June 3, 2024

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in India.

The Observatory has been informed about the ongoing judicial harassment of Ibrahim Dafadar, a 32-year-old human rights defender from the village of Nawdapara, Murshidabad District, West Bengal State. Mr Dafadar is the Secretary of the local Amra Simantabasi committee. The Amra Simantabasi are resident-based committees representing the interests and defending the rights of the populations living in the areas near the border with Bangladesh. Over the past few years, Mr Dafadar has been engaged in the promotion of social development, the documentation of violations committed by the Border Security Force, and the exposure of local corrupt practices. These activities have made him a target of local politicians and their police associates.

On March 10, 2024, Mr Ibrahim Dafadar received a summons under Section 107 of the Indian Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) through the Bagdah police station, ordering him to appear before the Executive Magistrate of Bongaon District. Section 107 of the CrPC refers to the summoning powers of an Executive Magistrate in cases where there is a well-founded suspicion that a person “is likely to commit a breach of the peace or disturb the public tranquillity or to do any wrongful act that may probably occasion a breach of the peace or disturb the public tranquillity”. Mr Dafadar is unaware of any act he may have committed that would constitute such an offence. He believes that the summons constitutes a retaliation for his human rights work, and that it is part of a plot between local politicians and police officers to implicate him in a fabricated criminal case.

On March 12, 2024, Mr Dafadar appeared before the Executive Magistrate of Bongaon District and was released after paying a bond of INR 1,000 (approx. EUR 11.10). On March 31, 2024, he submitted a complaint to the Superintendent of Police of Bongaon District, alleging an attempt to incriminate him in a trumped-up case. A similar complaint has been filed with the same Superintendent of Police by the residents of Nawdapara in the form of a memorandum signed by nearly 200 heads of family.

The use of summons under Section 107 of the CrPC is a well-known practice in West Bengal State to silence dissent and obstruct human rights work. Ahead of events of public interest – such as religious, social, or political events like administrative elections – it is common for both the lower judiciary and the police in the region to issue summons against human rights defenders and critics of local policies with the aim to intimidate them and force them into silence through judicial harassment. These practices openly contravene India’s international obligations regarding freedom of expression and the protection of human rights defenders, and constitute an unacceptable curtailment of the legitimate work in defence of human rights.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of India, asking them to:

 Guarantee in all circumstances the psychological well-being of Mr Ibrahim Dafadar, and all other human rights defenders in India;
 Put an immediate end to all acts of judicial harassment against Mr Ibrahim Dafadar, as well as against all other human rights defenders in the country;
 Guarantee in all circumstances the right to freedom of expression, as enshrined in international human right law, and particularly in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which India is a state party.


  • Mr. Narendra Damodardas Modi, Prime Minister of India, E-mail:, Twitter: @narendramodi
  • Mr. Amit Shah, Union Minister of Home Affairs of India, Email:, Twitter: @AmitShah
  • Mr. Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs of India, Email:
  • Mr. D. Y. Chandrachud, Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court of India, Email:
  • Mr. Shri Devendra Kumar Singh, IAS, Secretary General Chief Executive Officer of the National Human Rights Commission of India, Email:, Twitter: @India_NHRC
  • Mr. Indrajeet Kumar, Focal Point on Human Rights Defenders, National Human Rights Commission of India, Email:
  • Ms. Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, Government of West Bengal, Email:
  • H.E. Mr. Indra Mani Pandey, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of India in your respective country.

Paris-Geneva, June 3, 2024

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail:
• Tel FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18
• Tel OMCT: +41 (0) 22 809 49 39

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