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Arkadeep Goswami

HRD, Journalist
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)

Arkadeep Goswami is a human rights defender and freelance journalist based in the State of West Bengal. He works with Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), an organisation working on human rights violations committed by state agencies including torture, extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detention. Arkadeep Goswami was an executive member of the All India Council for Student Struggles, a member of the All India University Students Fact Finding Team on Fake Encounters in 2017 and was part of the Justice for Rohith Vemula movement, demanding accountability in the case and an end to caste-based discrimination in the country (2016-2018). His work with MASUM and past campaigns for justice have resulted in reprisals especially false arrest, and false cases.

Human rights defenders in India face a diverse range of attacks and harassment from state and non-state actors alike, including killing, physical assault, arbitrary detention, threats and judicial harassment. Police officials are often the perpetrators of violence against HRDs, which is usually carried out with impunity. Armed groups and private companies also target HRDs for work related to economic development projects and their impact on the local communities or the environment. HRDs are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by radical nationalists.

HRDs making use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act are liable to be killed, assaulted or harassed for exercising their fundamental right to demand and receive information from public authorities. Women HRDs are targeted with gender-specific threats – death, gang rape or acid attacks – both online and offline. They are particularly vulnerable in regions with a heavy presence of the military and armed groups. In the Red Corridor, a region in East India experiencing Naxalite-Maoist insurgency, HRDs, including lawyers, researchers and journalists face acts of intimidation and persecution and work under tremendous pressure from authorities, rebels, and vigilante groups. People defending the rights of marginalised communities such as the Adivasi and the Dalit can encounter death threats, destruction of their properties, fabricated charges, physical attacks, as well as caste-based discrimination by state and non-state actors alike.