Five Indian animal activists will receive Rs 2 lakh each ($2,400) as compensation for the way police treated them when they were trying to stop the illegal slaughter of cows in Maharashtra, a state in the western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau. The Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission has instructed the government of the state of Maharashtra to compensate the activists for the “blatant violation of their human rights.” The animal rights activists were allegedly assaulted by police in Nanded in February 2023, and a video of the activists being thrashed by police personnel became viral at the time.

The order was passed on 22nd November 2023 by the chairperson of Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission Justice K K Tated and its member M A Sayeed. The commission said that the victims’ right to live with dignity and honour had been “blatantly breached” due to the illegal actions of the police officer involved. 

In its order, the commission directed the Maharashtra government’s additional chief secretary to comply with the compensation order within a month, tasking him with instructing the state director general of police to establish guidelines addressing police brutality and the abuse of powers. 

In a related 2022 case, the commission directed the Nandurbar district superintendent of police to pay Rs 21,000 ($252) in compensation to a social worker who faced a false case after raising complaints about the illegal smuggling of leather. The activist had stopped a vehicle transporting raw leather, but the driver had no documents about the cargo. The police lodged a false statement against the activist based on the driver’s testimony. Fortunately for the activist, a video of the event was recorded.   

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.