Urgent Appeal: CRPF Wireless operator tortured by the superior for pursuing studies

BARAK HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION COMMITTEE

Urgent Appeal No. BHRPC Case No 62/2011/UA/23/210 Dated: 25 February 2011

Dear Friends,

Acting on the information provided by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) issued the following Urgent Appeal concerning the case of torture of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), a central paramilitary force, wireless operator by his superiors at 147 battalion at Kashipur in Cachar district, Assam. Please take the suggested actions.

Yours sincerely

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

Urgent Appeal Desk

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee

Rongpur, Silchar-9, Assam, India

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INDIA: Wireless operator tortured by the superior for pursuing studies

February 25, 2011

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-047-2011

To support the appeal please click here

25 February 2011

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INDIA: Wireless operator tortured by the superior for pursuing studies

ISSUES: Torture; arbitrary detention; impunity

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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the case of torture of a wireless operator, Mr. Surinder Singh Chouhan, serving with the 147 Battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for pursuing an MBA study programme. The victim in this case was threatened and put in confinement and assaulted by his fellow constables upon instructions from the Commandant. The victim managed to escape from the custody of his tormentors and filed a complaint against the perpetrators and sought treatment at the hospital. However the local police took the victim into custody at Guwahati and handed over to the CRPF head quarters. The victim was later released but the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of CRPF initiated a departmental enquiry against the victim.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Mr. Surinder Singh Chouhan, aged about 39 years, has been working with 147 battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) as a wireless operator since 1 September 2008. Surinder was posted at the Head Quarters (HQ) of the battalion at Kashipur, Silchar, Assam state. Surinder has served in many operations with army companies of different battalions including C-company at Gharmura, D-company at Karimganj, E-company at Hailakandi and F-company at Fulertal.

Surinder alleged that some of his superiors were spiteful towards him when he wanted to study for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme, for which he duly fulfilled all the requirements. On 4 October 2010, Surinder got admitted in the MBA course under the Sikkim Manipal University with due permission from his Commandant Mr. T.K. Hati and then he drew a bank draft of Rs. 12,500.00 in the name of the university to pay his admission fee. On the next day, Surinder requested permission to meet the commandant for a discussion concerning his admission to the MBA programme, his study at the university and his duty as a CRPF officer. However, Surinder’s request was denied.

Surinder was then sent to the Deputy Commandant for Operations (DCO), Mr. Nabeen Chandra by Sub-Inspector Mr. T.N. Tripati. Thereafter, Surinder was presented before the Commandant on the same day evening around 7pm. The Commandant behaved in a rude manner and threatened Surinder that he would snatch his job. Then he detained Surinder in a jail and subjected him to ill-treatment for three days without any written order.

On October 7, Surinder requested to be informed of his faults for which he was given punishment but nobody cared to answer him. Instead, Surinder was suspended from his duties on October 8. Surinder was then confined to the guardroom with hand-cuff on his hands from 8 to 11 October. Surinder alleges that he was severely tortured both mentally and physically while he was in the confinement. CRPF constables at the behest of superiors told Surinder by pointing a gun to his head that ‘this is your last moment and you’re going to die now’, an act that they allegedly repeated several times.

The Commanding Officer of F-company, Mr. Anwar Hussain, sent Surinder to the HQ for treatment on October 13 because his health had deteriorated by then. But on the same day the Radio Grid Supervisor, Mr. K. P. Singh, ordered to shift Surinder to D-company at Karimganj. Surinder informed the supervisor about his poor health but no one listened to him. It is reported that Surinder was forced to serve his duty at D-company Karimganj despite his poor health condition.

Surinder alleges that on October 21, seven persons, namely Mr. Rajender Singh, Mr. Rakesh Kumar, Mr. Brojesh Kumar, Mr. Sukhbinder Singh, Mr. Narendra Singh, Mr. Upendra Singh and Mr. Prem Chand Kahar came to him and started assualting him with sticks and chains without any reason. Surider further alleges that on October 23, the commanding officer of D-company, Mr. TN Tripati, ordered him to go for a CRPF operation without weapons at Ratabari area, which was reportedly a disturbed area. When Surinder urged the commanding officer to give him weapons for, it was denied.

It is reported however that the official records are manipulated to show in the duty register that Surindar was engaged at the signal centre under the command of Mr. Manoj Singh. The duty register shows that Surinder was on duty at the signal centre from 7am to 1pm on October 23 and again from 7pm the same day till 7am the next day morning.

Surinder alleged that the commanding officer sent him for the operation only to harass him by putting his life at risk despite his poor health. Surinder performed his duties along with the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Karimganj district in a search operation for nearly 24 hours at Ratabari area without any food and water. While returning from the operation one of Surinder’s colleagues felt very sick and therefore Surinder carried the Light Machine Gun (LMG) of his colleague.

Surinder also alleges that on October 27 once again some persons assaulted him without any reason. They assaulted Surinder so bad that he fell down on the ground. They assaulted Surinder, on his face, chest, stomach and other sensitive parts of the body including his private parts. Surinder further alleges that they forced a broken stick into his anus. Surinder then somehow managed to escape from the clutchs of his tormentors and filed a complaint against the perpetrators in the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) at Silchar. The CRPF on the other hand filed a missing person report alleging that Surinder has gone missing at the Silchar Sadar police station. For the injuries Surinder suffered on this occasion, he received treatment at the Silchar Medical College Hospital.

A complaint was sent to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on November 22 by the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), Assam regarding the case. The NHRC registered a case and issued an order on December 7 transmitting the complaint to the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, for taking action. The NHRC also asked the Union Home Ministry on December 15 to submit an action taken report within four weeks.

In the meanwhile, Surinder has been arrested by the police at Guwahati and sent back to the HQ of his battalion at Kashipur, Silchar. Later, Surinder was released from the HQ and granted him leave. It is reported that a departmental enquiry is being conducted by the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of CRPF. But at this juncture an independent inquiry in the case is required rather than a mere departmental inquiry.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write letters to the authorities listed below requesting them to intervene in the case. The case must be investigated and if the allegations made by the victim are found to be true the perpetrators must be punished.

The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment seeking an intervention in the case.

To support this appeal, please click here
:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

INDIA: The allegations of torture of a CRPF officer must be independently investigated

Name of victim: Mr. Surinder Singh Chouhan, aged about 39 years, working as Wireless Operator, at the CRPF 147 battalion, Kashipur, Silchar, Assam state

Names of alleged perpetrators:

1. Mr. T.K. Hati, Commandant of 147 battalion of Central Reserve Police Force

2. Mr. T.N. Tripati, Sub-Inspector of CRPF and a Commanding Officer of D-company 147 battalion of CRPF

3. Mr. Anwar Hussain, Commanding Officer of F-company 147 battalion of CRPF

4. Mr. K.P. Singh, Radio Grid Supervisor of 147 battalion of CRPF

5. Mr. Rajender Singh, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

6. Mr. Rakesh Kumar, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

7. Mr. Brojesh Kumar, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

8. Mr. Sukhbinder Singh, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

9. Mr. Narendra Singh, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

10. Mr. Upendra Singh, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

11. Mr. Prem Chand Kahar, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

Date of incident: 5 – 11 October 2010; 21 October 2010 and 27 October 2010

Place of incident: 147 battalion of CRPF

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the torture and ill-treatment of Mr. Surinder Singh Chouhan by the Commandant for pursuing his studies for an MBA degree. Surinder has been working with the 147 battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) as a wireless operator since 1 September 2008. I am informed that Surinder was posted at the Head Quarters (HQ) of the battalion at Kashipur, Silchar. Assam. Surinder has served in many operations with army companies of different battalions including C-company at Gharmura, D-company at Karimganj, E-company at Hailakandi and F-company at Fulertal.

I am informed that on 4 October 2010, Surinder got admitted to an MBA programme at the Sikkim Manipal University after obtaining the permission of his Commandant, Mr. T.K. Hati. On the next day, Surinder requested for permission to meet the commandant for necessary talks in connection with his admission, study and duty. However, Surinder’s request was denied and sent to the HQ.

I am informed that Surinder was then sent to the Deputy Commandant for Operations (DCO), Mr. Nabeen Chandra by Sub-Inspector Mr. T.N. Tripati. Thereafter, Surinder was presented before the commandant the same day evening around 7pm. The commandant behaved badly with him and threatened Surinder that he would snatch his job. He then detained Surinder and subjected Surinder to ill treatment for three days without any reason.

I am informed that on October 7, Surinder requested to be informed of his faults for which he was punished. But he did not receive any answer. Instead, Surinder was suspended from his duties on October 8. Surinder was then handcuffed and confined to the guardroom from 8 to 11 October. Surinder alleged that he was severely tortured both mentally and physically while he was in confinement.

I am informed that the Commanding Officer of F-company, Mr. Anwar Hussain, sent Surinder to the HQ for treatment on October 13 because his health had deteriorated. But on the same day the Radio Grid Supervisor, Mr. K. P. Singh, ordered to shift Surinder to D-company at Karimganj. Surinder informed the supervisor about his poor health but he was forced to comply the order.

Surinder alleged that on October 21, seven persons namely Mr. Rajender Singh, Mr. Rakesh Kumar, Mr. Brojesh Kumar, Mr. Sukhbinder Singh, Mr. Narendra Singh, Mr. Upendra Singh and Mr. Prem Chand Kahar came to him and started assaulting him with sticks and chains. Surider further stated that on October 23, the commanding officer of D-company, Mr. TN Tripati, ordered him to go for an operation without weapons at Ratabari area, which was reportedly a disturbed area. When Surinder urged the commanding officer to give him weapons it was denied.

I am informed that the official records were manipulated to show in the duty register that Surindar was engaged at the signal centre under the command of Mr. Manoj Singh. The duty register reportedly shows that Surinder was on duty at the signal centre from 7am to 1pm on October 23 and again from 7pm the same day till 7am the next day morning. Surinder alleges that the commanding officer sent him in the operation only to harass him by putting his life at risk. Surinder performed his duties along with the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Karimganj district in a search operation for nearly 24 hours at Ratabari area without any food and water. While returning from the operation one of Surinder’s colleagues felt very sick and therefore Surinder carried the Light Machine Gun (LMG) for his colleague.

Surinder alleged that on October 27 once again some persons assaulted him without any reason. They assaulted Surinder so badly that he fell down. They assaulted Surinder on his face, chest, stomach and other sensitive parts of his body including his penis. Surinder further alleges that they forced a broken stick into his anus. Surinder then somehow managed to escape from the clutchs of his tormentors and filed a complaint against the alleged perpetrators at the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate CJM) at Silchar. However, on the other hand, the CRPF also has filed a complaint at the Silchar Sadar police station alleging that Surinder has gone missing from his unit. Surinder was treated at the Silchar Medical College Hospital.

I am informed that a complaint was sent to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on November 22 by the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), Assam regarding the case of Surinder. I am informed that the NHRC has registered a case and issued an order on December 7 transmitting the complaint to the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, for appropriate actions. It is also reported that the NHRC also has asked the Union Home Ministry on December 15 to submit an action taken report within four weeks.

I am informed that in the meanwhile Surinder has been nabbed by the police at Guwahati and sent back to the HQ of his battalion at Kashipur, Silchar. Later, Surinder was released from the HQ and granted him leave. I am informed that the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of CRPF against Surinder initiated a departmental enquiry.

At this juncture, an independent inquiry in the case is required rather than initiating a departmental inquiry against Surinder.

I therefore request you to ensure an independent inquiry into the incident is ordered, not by the CRPF, but by a judicial officer, like the Judicial Magistrate in Asaam. The victim must be offered all possible protection during the period of investigation. The statement of the victim must be recorded and if the statement corroborates the allegations of torture along with the medical reports on the incident, a prosecution must be initiated in a civilian court against the perpetrators and they punished as prescribed in the penal law of India.

Yours sincerely,


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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. A. K. Anthony
Defence Minister
Government of India, 104 South Block
New Delhi
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 23015403
Email: cvo@nic.in

2. Dr. P. Chidambaram
Home Minister
Griha Mantralaya
Room No. 104, North Block
Central Secretariat, New Delhi 110001
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 2301 5750, 2309 3750, 2309 2763
E-mail: hm@nic.in

3. Mr. K. Vijay Kumar, IPS
Directorate General
Central Reserve Police Force
Block No. 1, C.G.O. Complex, Lodhi Road
New Delhi – 110001
INDIA

4. DIG (ADM), NES (Ops) Sector
NES (OPS) Headquarters
Jorhat, Assam
INDIA

5. Mr. Tarun Gogoi
Chief Minister of Assam
Assam Secretariat, Dispur
Guwahati-6, Assam
INDIA
Fax: +91 361 2262069

6. Chief Justice
Guwahati High Court
Assam
INDIA
FAX +91 361 2604122 or +91 362 2735863 (Registrar General)
E-mail: hc-asm@nic.in, hicourtg@rediffmail.com

7. Chief Secretary
Assam Secretariat, Dispur
Guwahati-6, Assam
INDIA
Fax: +91 361 2260900
Email: psccy_it@assam.nic.in

8. Mr. Justice S. Barman Roy
Chairperson
Assam Human Rights Commission
STATFED H.O. Building, GMC Road
Bhangagarh, Guwahati
Pin – 781005, Assam
INDIA
Fax: +91 361 2529450, 2527076
Email: hrca@sancharnet.in

To send letters please click here


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

AHRC URL: http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-047-2011

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