Retired IPS officer Sarwan Ram Darapuri, 77, who is among more than 200 people arrested by Lucknow police following violence during protests against the new citizenship law, has been working on rights issues since his retirement from the force in 2003, according to his son and others who have worked with him.
He also unsuccessfully contested the last two Lok Sabha elections.
The police have booked Darapuri, 1972-batch IPS officer, along with 34 others, on charges under IPC Sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant), 147 (rioting), 307 (attempt to murder) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
Darapuri, who is lodged in Lucknow district jail since December 21, comes from Punjab’s Jalandhar district. He retired as Inspector General in UP Police, his last posting being the Police Training Centre, Sitapur.
Post-retirement, he works to provide support to social justice movements on issues such as human rights, and rights of women, tribals, Dalits and minorities, among others, according to people close to him. He was involved in work on empowering the poor and the deprived communities, they said.
He contested Lok Sabha polls from Robertsganj (reserved) constituency in 2014 and 2019 on a ticket of All India Peoples’ Front (Radical), a political outfit of which he is the national secretary. He is also state president of Mazdoor Kisan Manch, and founder-member of Dr Ambedkar Mahasabha.
“Darapuri founded Dr Ambedkar Mahasabha while being in the services,” People’s Front’s state vice-president, Dinkar Kapoor, said. “After retirement, he worked on rights issues, Chandauli, Sonbhadra and Mirzapur being key areas of his work. His is also a voice against systemic oppression of farmers and daily wage earners.”
Darapuri was earlier associated with civil society organisations such as People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jan Sangharsh Morcha, Right to Food Committee in UP, Society for Promoting Buddhist Knowledge, among others, Kapoor said. The retired IPS officer also worked for Forest Rights’ Act and raised his voice to regularise jobs of contract labourers in Sonbhadra district, he said.
Darapuri lives with his family in Indira Nagar area of Lucknow.
His son Ved Kumar, 50, a businessman, said, “My father works on different rights issues. He participated in several protests and was detained by the police earlier, but this is the first time he was arrested and sent to jail.”
Darapuri was detained in Lucknow in 2017 for staging a protest over violence in Saharanpur after people from Dalit and Thakur groups clashed over loud music being played during a procession at Shabbirpur village, in western UP’s Saharanpur district.
Ved Kumar said the family is worried about his father’s health, as he was not keeping well for the last one week. “He had stopped stepping out of home regularly of late due to his health condition. On December 19, when violent protests took place (in Lucknow), he was at home; police force was deployed outside since morning. Later that evening, he made an appeal to the public on social media against indulging in violent protests. We cannot say on what charges he has been arrested,” Kumar said.
He said retired IPS officer and Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi is his father’s IPS batch-mate. He said Darapuri worked in the Customs Department in Bombay before joining the IPS.
“We plan to meet him in jail on Sunday,” Kumar said.
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