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Feb 18, 2023

NIA Raids Human Rights Lawyer Who Represented PFI Leaders in HC, Seizes Books

Ansar Indori told The Wire, 'I believe the raid is to harass me after I challenged their FIR. It is an attempt to threaten or falsely implicate me given my fight for human rights.'
Ansar Indori. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/ansar.indori/

New Delhi: Ten days after human rights lawyer Ansar Indori appeared in a case challenging a first information report filed by the National Investigation Agency, the agency raided his house in Rajasthan today, February 18.

Indori’s Kota premises were among the several locations the agency raided in the state today. The raids are related to a Popular Front of India (PFI) case the agency had filed last year.

The NIA reached Indori’s Kota house at around 5 am today, and its raid continued for nearly three hours. An NIA spokesperson reportedly said that digital devices, an airgun, sharp weapons and incriminating documents were seized.

Books were also taken. Among books seized are Bhopal-based writer L.S. Hardenia’s famous work on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, two human rights reports on Kashmir, a report titled ‘Zindabad Murdabad Ke Bich Fansi Deshbhakti’ by the Rihai Manch, and a report by the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations.

The NIA also took Indori to a local police station for interrogation, but released him in an hour. A well-known lawyer, Indori has led many a legal battle against human rights violations in the Supreme Court and in various high courts.

The agency has said that the case is related to information received from sources that Sadiq Sarraf, resident of Baran and Mohammed Asif of Kota, along with officer bearers, members and cadres of PFI were indulging in unlawful activities.

Today’s raid comes after a similar legal battle. After the NIA registered an FIR against some PFI leaders last year, some of the accused had challenged the charges in the Rajasthan high court. Indori appeared as a defence lawyer in the case on February 7.

“I believe the raid is to harass me after I challenged their FIR. It is an attempt to threaten or falsely implicate me given my fight for human rights,” Indori told The Wire.

This is not the first instance when Indori has been harassed by government agencies for his work. In October 2021, he visited Tripura with a fact-finding team to probe atrocities against Muslims. Published on November 2, the report titled ‘Humanity Under Attack in Tripura, #Muslim Lives Matter’ highlighted violence against Muslims in the state.

A day later, an FIR was registered against him and several others under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 (UAPA) and several provisions of IPC.

A fortnight later, the Supreme Court asked the Tripura police to not take any coercive action against him, another accused lawyer Mukesh and journalist Shyam Meera Singh who were also accused in the case.

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