Is going on hunger strike a crime? | india | Hindustan Times
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Is going on hunger strike a crime?

Can an indefinite hunger strike be held as a case of attempt to suicide? In 2007, Noida police felt so and lodged a case against families of Nithari victims who had gone on an indefinite hunger strike to demand death penalty for the Nithari killings prime accused. Kapil Datta reports.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2009 00:08 IST
Kapil Datta

Can an indefinite hunger strike be held as a case of attempt to suicide?

In 2007, Noida police felt so and lodged a case against families of Nithari victims who had gone on an indefinite hunger strike to demand death penalty for the Nithari killings prime accused, Moninder Singh Pandher and Surender Koli.

The protest was called off after the city magistrate stepped in and assured the protesters that their demands, which also included a Rs 5-lakh compensation for each of the families of the victims, would be considered. But the police went ahead and filed the case.

The families are now struggling to avoid arrests and hoping the case is quashed by the high court. “Systems work only for the influential and wealthy people. Poor people’s voices are not heard,” said Pappu Lal, whose daughter Rachna was one of the victims.

“I have paid Rs 20,000 to a lawyer to get the attempt to suicide case registered against us quashed. But he wants more money.”

Slamming the Noida police’s efforts to “crush our agitation”, Lal said, “Does holding an indefinite hunger strike amount to an attempt to suicide?”

The families of Nithari victims, who now fear a legal action for launching the strike on October 3, 2007, include Pappu Lal, Ram Kishan and Durga Prasad.

On October 4, 2007, the City Magistrate had promised action leading to the end of the hunger strike. In the evening, an attempt to suicide case was lodged against Pappu Lal, Ram Kishan, Durga Prasad and others. A case of abetment to suicide was registered against Jhabbu Lal and social worker SC Mishra.