JagLAG: Submission to NHRC — Persecution of Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group

Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group (JagLAG) is a small group of lawyers who provide free legal services to the socially and economically marginalized communities of Bastar. In the two and a half years of its existence, the group has conducted extensive research and documentation into the criminal justice system in Bastar, and also provided pro bono representation to several people in jail. In addition, the group has played an important role in highlighting some atrocities of the police and security forces against groups of villagers in Bastar.

However, the group has now been forced out of Jagdalpur by the local police and associated bodies. Continuous public defamation by the police as “suspicious elements” and “Naxalite lawyers,” false propaganda by the local Bar Association that the JagLAG lawyers did not possess proper credentials to practice in district courts, social pressure by the Bar on local lawyers who supported the JagLAG lawyers, and public agitation by the “SamajikEktaManch” against JagLAG had already vitiated the atmosphere against JagLAG. In the third week of February, 2016, tremendous pressure was brought on the people associated with JagLAG, such as their landlord, their employee, their clients and lawyers associated with them, forcing them out of Jagdalpur at a very short notice.

This is a severe violation of the fundamental rights of JagLAG’s clients in jail to a lawyer of their choice, of JagLAG lawyers fundamental right to their profession, and residence anywhere in India, and their statutory rights to practice in Bastar courts.

The NHRC is requested to thoroughly investigate this matter and take action against responsible police officers and other persons.

Read the entire submission here: