Urgent Appeal Regarding an Incident Where Central Reserve Police Force open fire indiscriminately in a market place in Assam, killing one

URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Get Pdf version of the document
Urgent Appeal No. BHRPC Case No 58/2010/UA/23/210 Dated: 10 June 2010
Dear Friends,
Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) forwards this Urgent Appeal issued by Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) regarding an incident Central Reserve Police Force open fire indiscriminately in a market place in Assam, killing one
with request to all to take suggested actions.
Yours Sincerely
Waliullah Ahmed Laskar
15, Panjabari Road, Six Mile,
Guwahati-781037, Assam

INDIA: The Central Reserve Police Force open fire indiscriminately in a market place in Assam, killing one

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-084-2010

10 June 2010
——————————————————
INDIA: The Central Reserve Police Force open fire indiscriminately in a market place in Assam, killing one

ISSUES: Extrajudicial execution; impunity; militarisation; excessive use of force
——————————————————

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that on 23 May 2010, a team of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel opened fire indiscriminately and without warning in a small market place in Panchaboti, and later shot dead Mr. Iskandar Ali Barbhuiya, an innocent person on mere suspicion. The attitude of the CRPF has raised suspicions that they may try to use a complaint they have filed against two persons they arrested to justify their murder. This case must be immediately investigated to challenge the impunity surrounding the numerous human rights violations committed by security personnel in North-East India.

CASE NARRATIVE:

According to the information we have received from the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee who carried a fact-finding investigation into the case, on 23 May 2010 at 4.30pm, a team of 11 or 12 CRPF personnel opened fire indiscriminately and without warning in Panchaboti, a small market place in Cachar, Assam, spreading panic among the shoppers and merchants present who tried to escape by finding shelter in nearby shops and houses. Witnesses report having seen one man, later identified as Mr. Iskandar Ali Barbhuiya, running through a small field in direction of the nearby river, Sonai, and jumping into the river while the CRPF personnel were shooting at him. According to the witnesses, no provocation triggered the firing. (Photo: Mr. Iskandar Ali Barbhuiya, Source: BHRPC, Assam)

Following the firing, the CRPF arrested two persons: Moniruddin Barbhuiya, aged about 32 years, son of Abdul Majid Barbhuiya of village Bidruhipar, Sonai Police Station, Cachar, Assam and Mr. Abdul Khalik, aged about 25 years, son of Siraj Uddin of village Sundari Part-II, Sonai Police Station, Cachar, Assam. The CRPF claim that they were there on a routine patrolling when they observed suspicious behaviour from Moniruddin, Abdul Khalik and Iskandar. They further state that when they challenged them, the three suspects tried to run away thereupon the CRPF opened fire. According to the CRPF, the suspects are ordinary criminals who do not belong to any organisation and Moniruddin was found in possession of a 9mm pistol and four bullets.

The CRPF handed over both arrestees to the Palonghat police out post under Dholai Police Station at 9pm on that day. The Dholai police registered a case against Moniruddin, Abdul Khalik and another unnamed person (vide Dholai Police Station Case No. 99/2010 dated 23 May 2010 under Section 47 of the Indian Arms Act, 1959). According to the fact-finding team, the First Information Report has been drafted in such a way that Iskandar can be incriminated as the third accused and therefore could be used by the CRPF to justify its crime.

On 24 May the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Dholai Police Station produced the two accused before a magistrate praying for police custody of the accused which was granted for seven days. They were then sent to the judicial custody.

At about 1pm on 26 May, some people of the Sundari Part-II village saw a dead body adrift in the Sonai river. They informed Kachudaram police outpost and at about 3pm, police officers from the outpost and the police station came and sent the body to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital for autopsy. At about 11am on 27 May the police handed over the body to Monijun and the last rites were performed at about 2.30pm on the same day.

According to the persons who performed the pre-funeral rituals like washing of the body, they saw two bullet holes in the body: one on the victim’s waist and the other one on the left side of his neck. Nevertheless the autopsy report has not yet been provided to the family and Monijun and other villagers fear that the CRPF may want to interfere with the content of the autopsy report.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

According to the police sources, Moniruddin, who was arrested in possession of the pistol, told that he is a labourer who worked in Mizoram for many months and found a pistol near a river, picked it up and was trying to sell it. He stated that Iskandar had nothing to do with them.

Iskandar Ali Barbhuiya, is a small business man from Bidruhipar village. He had left his family house and told his wife, Monijun, that he was going to the Panchaboti area to collect betel nuts and that he would latter visit his sister Champarun Nesa at Krishnapur, Amragat and asked his wife not to worry if he did not return on the same day. When on 24 May, Monijun heard about the firing, she contacted her sister-in-law who informed her that Iskandar did not visit her the day before. Monijun subsequently contacted all the relatives of her husband but none had any idea where her husband was. On 25 May, she and her sister-in-law Sitarun Nesa went to Sonai Police Station and informed the police in writing about her husband’s disappearance. This is entered in the general diary of the police station vide GD Entry 601 dated 25 May 2010.

According to the villagers and the police officials, the victim had never been involved in any crime and had no previous confrontations with the police. Mr. Kutub Ahmed Mazumber, a member of the Assam Legislative Assembly also told that he knew Iskandar personally and that Iskandar was a very good person.

On 28 May, hundreds of people held a condolence meeting, presided by Nazrul Islam Ahmed, Vice President of Sonai Anchalik Panchayat. Three resolutions were passed condemning the killing and terming it as an intentional murder of a law-abiding and peace-loving citizen by power fuddled unscrupulous security forces; expressed condolence to the family for their loss and demanded compensation to be paid to the family by the government and prosecution initiated against the CRPF personnel involved in the case.
Monijun filed a complaint before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Cachar on 29 May praying for the court to direct the police to conduct a proper investigation of the murder, after having a case registered against the CRPF under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The complaint was forwarded to the Sonai Police Station and was registered as an FIR vide Sonai Police Station Case No. 126/10 dated 4 May 2010.
Iskandar was the only earning member of a family of six and his death leaves his wife and their four children without stable incomes and resources.

BACKGROUND COMMENTS:

The military and paramilitary forces heavily deployed in North-East India have repeatedly demonstrated their disdain toward the principles of proportionality and restrain in the use of force which should govern the functioning of security forces in a democratic country. The AHRC has been documenting numerous cases of human rights violations committed by the security forces deployed in the region, in which people may be harassed, tortured, raped or killed with the police being unable and unwilling to investigate the case and to provide protection to the victims. Please see UAC-080-2010 another case, which took place on the same day as Iskandar’s killings, in which the rights of the ordinary citizens of Assam were violated by security forces and in which the police refused to file the case.

The UN basic principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials are the relevant guidelines to the democratic functioning of security agencies. This indiscriminate firing in Panchaboti disrespects Principle 4 according to which the law enforcement officials should only use force and firearms as the last resort, if ‘other means remain ineffective’ and Principle 5 mandates the law enforcement officials to exercise restraint in the use of force and firearms in order to minimise damage and injury and to respect and preserve human life.

More specifically, Principle 10 states that ‘law enforcement officials shall identify themselves as such and give a clear warning of their intent to use firearms, with sufficient time for the warning to be observed, unless to do so would unduly place the law enforcement officials at risk or would create a risk of death or serious harm to other persons, or would be clearly inappropriate or pointless in the circumstances of the incident.’ Not warning of their intention before shooting is an act of carelessness and negligence from the CRPF personnel which could have resulted in further losses. The incident proves how little human life is valued by the members of the paramilitary forces.

The attitude of the CRPF have raised suspicions that they may try to use the FIR and to manipulate the post-mortem report to preserve themselves from a legal process. Regarding the large record of human rights violations committed in the North-Eastern Indian States which went uninvestigated and unpunished, it is necessary to make sure that Iskandar’s family will have access to an independent process, as reminded in Principle 23 of the UN basic principles.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please join us in writing to the following authorities to express your concern regarding this case of slaying and ask for its proper investigation and the prosecution of the perpetrators. Also join us in

Please be informed that the AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, calling for his intervention in this case.

——————————————————

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

INDIA: Please investigate the CRPF firing in Panchaboti market in Assam

Name of victim: Iskandar Ali Barbhuiya, 42 (aged about 42, son of late Abdul Matlib Barbhuiya) resident of Bidruhipar, Cachar District, Assam
Names of alleged perpetrators: Between 11 and 12 Central Reserve Police Force personnel from A147 Battalion led by Mr Muatoshi Dubichu, Deputy Inspector of Police and in-charge of Shachinpur Camp
Date of incident: 23 May 2010
Place of incident: Panchaboti market place, Cachar District, Assam.

I am writing to draw your attention to the killing of Iskandar Ali Barbhuiya after a team of Central Reserve Police Force Police opened fire indiscriminately and without warning in a small market place in Panchaboti, Cachar, Assam on 23 May 2010 at about 4.30pm.

According to the information I have received from the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), witnesses report having seen one man, later identified as Mr. Iskandar Ali Barbhuiya, running through a small field in direction of the nearby river Sonai and jumping into the river while the CRPF personnel were shooting at him. According to the witnesses, no provocation triggered the firing and the CRPF personnel did not warn about their intention to open fire beforehand.

I know that on the morning of that day, Mr. Iskandar Ali Barbhuiya, 42, a small business man from Bidruhipar village went to the area to collect betel nuts. After he did not return home for a few days, his wife, Monijun contacted all his relatives to enquire about his whereabouts and since no one was able to inform her about them, she and her sister-in-law Sitarun Nesa went to Sonai Police Station and informed the police in writing about her husband’s disappearance (Entered in the general diary of the PS vide GD Entry 601 dated 25 May 2010).

I am informed that following the firing, the CRPF arrested two persons: Moniruddin Barbhuiya (32, son of Abdul Majid Barbhuiya of village Bidruhipar, Sonai Police Station, Cachar, Assam) and Abdul Khalik (25, son of Siraj Uddin of village Sundari Part-II, Sonai Police Station, Cachar, Assam). The CRPF claim that they were there on a routine patrolling at that time when they observed suspicious behavior from Moniruddin, Abdul Khalik and Iskandar. They state that when they challenged them the three suspects tried to run away following which the CRPF opened fire. According to the CRPF, Moniruddin was found in possession of a country made 9mm pistol.

I know that the CRPF handed over both arrestees to the Palonghat police outpost under Dholai Police Station at 9pm on that day. The Dholai police registered a case against Moniruddin, Abdul Khalik and another unnamed person (ie. Iskandar), (vide Dholai PS Case No. 99/2010 dated 23 May 2010 under sSection 47 of the Indian Arms Act, 1959). On 24 May the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Dholai Police Station produced the accused before a magistrate praying for police custody for them which was granted for 7 days. They were then sent to the judicial custody.

I am concerned that the FIR has been drafted in such a way to lead the police investigation to conclude that Iskandar was the third suspect and that it may be an attempt by the CRPF to promote a version of the event which would justify the indiscriminate firing. This version is contradicted by a statement from one of the arrestees, Moniruddin, that he had found the pistol when he was working in Mizoram and was trying to sell it in the market that day and that Iskandar had nothing to do with them. I am informed that according to the villagers and the police officials, Iskandar had never been involved in any crime and had nothing against him in the police record. A member of Assam Legislative Assembly, Mr. Kutub Ahmed Mazumder, also confirmed that Iskandar was ‘a very good person’.

I know that Iskandar’s body was discovered at about 1pm on 23 May by some villagers from Sundari Part-II adrift in the river Sonai. They informed Kachudaram police outpost under Sonai Police Station and at about 3pm, police came and sent the body to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital for autopsy. At about 11 am on 27 May the police handed over the body to Monijun and the last rites were performed at about 2.30pm.

The persons who performed the pre-funeral ritual bathing of the body saw two bullet holes in the body: one on the victim’s waist and the other one on the left side of his neck. Nevertheless the autopsy report has not yet been provided to the family and I am aware that Monijun and other villagers fear that this might be because the CRPF wants to change its content.

I know that Monijun has filed a complaint before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Cachar on 29 May praying for the court to direct the police a proper investigation of the murder after having a case registered against the CRPF under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The complaint was forwarded to the Sonai Police Station and was registered as an FIR vide Sonai Police Station Case No. 126/10 dated 4 June 2010.

Additionally, as required by the directives issued by the National Human Rights Commission of India, the post-mortem examination must be video graphed and a separate report about the incident must be send to the Commission.

I know that reports of extrajudicial executions and human rights violations committed by security forces which are heavily deployed in the State of Assam are numerous and often go uninvestigated, promoting the impunity of the perpetrators and encouraging further exactions.

I therefore urge you to promptly intervene into this case by:

1. Launching an independent and impartial investigation into the case registered as FIR vide Sonai Police Station Case No. 126/10 dated 4 May 2010 in Sonai Police Station;
2. Taking appropriate measures to guarantee the protection of the victim’s families and of the witnesses against threats and intimidation from CRPF personnel;
3. Making sure that all the CRPF personnel involved in this murder are temporarily suspended from their duty during the course of the investigation. If enough evidence is gathered, they should be brought before a civilian court and face sanctions which are proportionate to the damage they inflicted;
4. Providing adequate compensation and interim relief to the victim’s family: Iskandar was the sole earning member of a family of 6 and his death leaves his wife and their four children without stable incomes and resources;
5. Providing the post-mortem report to the family without delay.

I am looking forward to your intervention.

Yours sincerely,

—————-

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

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

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

4. Director General of Police
Assam, Ulubari
Guwahati-7, Assam
INDIA

Thank you

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

Posted on 2010-06-10
AHRC URL: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2010/3477/
BHRPC URL:

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


%d bloggers like this: