Who is Santosh Mane?
Human Rights Defender (HRD) from Ramapur Village of Kadegaon Block in Sangli District of Maharashtra. Associated with different socio-political organisations including National Dalit Movement For Justice, Repulican Party of India (A), Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, Muktivadi **** and such other groups and organisations.
Facts of the Case:
- On 10/12/2019 the Talathi of Ramapur with support from Husband of Sarpanch, Deputy Sarpanch (both representing said village) as Panch made Panchnama against Mr. Santosh Mane, the said HRD. The said Panchanama claimed that Mr. Mane has illegally conducted sand mining. Later after the re-inquiry by Residential Deputy Tahsildar (RDT) it was ascertained that the aforementioned Panchanma was false and malafide. It was affirmed by action taken by the Subdivisional Magistrate of Kadegaon Sub division dated 16/10/2020.
- FIR registered against the said HRD u/s IPC 379, 188, 290, 34 and other for illegal Sand Mining dated 28/04/2020 wide number 40/2020 at Chinchani Wangi Police Station. The Chargesheet was duly prepared by the investigation officer on 16/07/2020 and was filed accordingly in the Court of Law.
- The HRD has periodically informed and requested concerned authorities to file a case against the Tahasildar, the Talathi and Others for maliciously doing false Panchanama, as mentioned in point number one hereinabove as per relevant sections of the applicable acts through written applications. Various such applications were submitted between 28/12/2019 to 20/11/2020 to various concerned authorities.
- The Assistant Police Inspector of Chinchani Wangi police station submitted his report to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate through Superintendent of Police, Sangali requesting the said sub-divisional magistrate for passing order of Externment of the HRD, dated 11/01/2021.
- As per section 59 of Bombay Police Act the externment order was passed by Divisional Magistrate, dated 18/03/2021.
- As per section 60 of the Bombay Police Act the said person affected by the aforementioned order, the victim referred to in this complaint, submitted an appeal to the appropriate authority on 26/03/2021. No inquiry has been conducted even after 94 days of submission of the said appeal.
What is the issue?
- False FIR registered against the said victim u/s IPC 379, 188, 290, 34 and other for illegal Sand Mining dated 28/04/2020 wide number 40/2020 at Chinchani Wangi Police Station.
- On 18/02/2021 an order of externment was passed against the said victim by the Sub-divisional Magistrate on unreasonable grounds.
Santosh Mane is Human Rights Defender (HRD) from Ramapur Village of Kadegaon Block in Sangli District of Maharashtra. Associated with different socio-political organisations including National Dalit Movement For Justice, Repulican Party of India (A), Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, Muktivadi **** and such other groups and organisations. He has been actively involved in Human Rights Advocacy since 2011. Since then he has supported more than 169 victims of Caste Atrocities from the Sangli District of Maharashtra State, India.
In 2016, the casteist dominant caste group from the village submitted a written letter against him claiming that he is involved in illegal activities. There was no registered complaint against him. Yet police officials compelled him to write an apology in writing and an assurance that he will not do the sand mining henceforth. At the time there was no substantial evidence available against him proving or even indicating that he was involved in sand mining. Yet, even after this pressure from dominant castes he continued his activities as Human Rights Defender.
Irritated by his passion to succumb to the pressures, the local political leaders from the dominant caste tried to plot things with help of government officials. On December 10, 2019 the talathi, the officer at village level conducted a “Panchnama” – official record of observation – against him claiming he had extracted the sand illegally from a nearby area. This was challenged by him and finally a report of inquiry by higher officials came out with conclusion that the said impugned “Panchanama” (official record of observation) conducted by the said Talathi. Even the disciplinary action was ordered against him. As this was the part of larger conspiracy by dominant caste group to stop advocacy work carried out by Santosh Mane, Mr. Mane requested the police officials for registering the complaint against such officials under a special act enacted for protection and promotion of rights of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes. The concerned police officials did not register the complaint as requested by Human Rights Defender Mr. Mane, however, the complaint was registered against Mr. Mane regarding illegal sand mining. This complaint was false. Even this registered complaint could not stop Mr. Santosh Mane from his fight for the rights of the exploited. He also kept demanding that the complaint should be launched against government officials and elected representatives for providing false information against him purposefully. As the Police officials were not following the instructions of the law, he even complained against them to the higher authorities. He demanded the registration of complaint also against this police officials.
The police and government officials and local casteist politicians failed to stop Mr. Mane from working as Human Rights Defender in the area. Finally, the externment proceedings were initiated against Mr. Mane and with casteist intentions, he was thrown out of the district affecting his work.
Mr. Mane challenged the externment order. Appeal is the right of the person who is aggrieved by a decision of the given authority. Mr. Mane’s appeal was pending for more than three months with higher authority without any hearing. His appeal was also pending with Hon. High Court of Bombay for last two months against this impugned order of externment. Only after the honourable High Court ordered the concerned authorities to expedite the hearing, the high authorities heard the appeal and quashed the externment order on 05/08/2021.
However the struggle against injustice continues. Mr. Mane has filed an application against officials who made false allegations against him in April 2022.