Custodial Death of Motahir Ali and Events in the Aftermath

Brief Summery of

The BHRPC Fact-finding Report

on Custodial Death of Motahir Ali and Events in the Aftermath in Kalain, Cachar

BHRPC Ref. No. …………….                                                                            Date………………….

Get the pdf version of the report

It was reported in local media that an innocent citizen was killed by police on 21st September, 2007 at Kalain in the district of Cachar, Assam. The police tortured the victim to death in full public view, allegedly for refusing by the victim and his relatives to pay a gratification of rupees ten thousand to sub-inspector Narain Tamuli, in-charge-officer of Kalain Police Patrol Post under Katigorah Police Station.

Next day, after getting the news, a team was formed by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee to visit the spot, and find the facts about the whole case and submit a preliminary report. According to the sources and witnesses talked with by the BHRPC fact finding team, Motahir Ali Tapadar, 38 was a resident of village Bhatghat in Kalain, a daily wage labourer and a father of 3 children of 9, 5 and 4 years of age. He was a law abiding and peace loving citizen. There were no complaints against him whatsoever other than one in connectionwith which he was taken into custody by the police.

Witnesses revealed that there was a petty quarrel at 11am on 20th September between him and his neighbours, namely, Ala Uddin and Sahab Uddin.The quarrel which led the parties to scuffling actually was originated from the quarrel of the kids of the two neighbouring houses over playthings or games. As a result Sahabuddin lodged a complaint against Motahir Ali which was registered under section 326 etc. of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. At about 12.30 pm Narain Tamuli, the in-charge-officer of Kalain PPP arrested Motahir Ali Tapadar. At 1.30pm both complainant and accused, namely Sahab Uddin and Motahir Ali, were medically examined by Dr Badal Das and only a minor bruise on the forehead of Mr. Tapadar was found which may be caused due to scuffling. There were no wounds whatsoever on the person of the complainant, leave alone such grievous hurt caused by dangerous weapons that can fall under section 326.

Some respectable persons from Bhatghat village and relatives of the detainees went to the PPP to bail them out and settle the dispute amicably. Thry saw, according to the statement of Alimun Nesa Tapadar, wife of the victim, who accompanied the group, that S I Narain Tamuli and other police personnel were beating, kicking, abusing and humiating the victim. Alimun Nesa also alleged that Narain Tamuli administered on her person severe lathi-blows and kicked her in the belly in her condition of pregnancy. Salman Uddin, a minor son of Motahir and Alimun Nesa, who accompanied his mother to see his father, was also beaten badly. When they prayed and beseeched the in-charge officer police got infuriated and denied to release him on bail. The whole night police tortured the detainee mercilessly.

Next day, that is 21st September, at 10.30am when Narain Tamuli brought Mutahir Ali Tapadar out of the station house to take him to court he started administering lathi-blows and kicking incessantly in full view of the people gathered at the adjacent office house of Kalain Gaon Panchayat where flood relief were being distributed. The crowd tried to stop Tamuli in vain. Namar Ali Tapadar and Alimun Nesa Tapadar, brother and wife respectively of the victim, who were also present in the crowd, beseeched Tamuli for mercy with no effect. At this time Tamuli demanded ten thousand rupees from Alimun Nesa but she expressed her inability to pay such a huge sum. Here also Tamuli beaten her and her brother in-law. Being frustrated they went to the Circle Office to file complaint and seek help from Debashis Baishya, circle officer and the nearest magistrate.

When the condition of the victim deteriorated beyond limits Tamuli took him to Kalain Primary Health Centre instead of court. In the PHC too Tamuli kept kicking and beating him. The crowd gathered at a free medical camp, which was then being held there, tried to dissuade him without result. Tamuli continued his ritual until there was no sign of life in the body and it got still. When at 1.30pm Dr Badal Das, in-charge officer of the health centre came and examined he did not declare Motahir Ali dead, though in fact he was, for fear of public fury. Instead, he referred him to the Silchar Medical College Hospital, Silchar where Tapadar was declared dead.

After autopsy of the body of Tapadar at the Silchar Medical College Hospital it was returned to his family members at 1.30am in the night.

Before news came from the Medical College the people could guess the fact and got outraged. Hundreds of local people gathered at 2.00pm around the house of patrol post and started shouting slogans demanding arrest of Narain Tamuli. Police charge them with sticks and bayonet which further infuriated the crowd and they started throwing stones. Police then opened fire and kept firing till 80 rounds were shot. In the firing there was only one severe injury. Shahidur Rahman, 17, who was watching the incident from the roof top of a two storied house, was injured badly in his left leg. He was admitted to Silchar Medical College Hospital; Silchar. .Being terrified by such heavy firing the crowd got dispersed. Then the Police themselves set fire on the patrol post and burnt it down in order to distract the attention of people from the murder case and hush it up. The propaganda that after the death of Mutahir Ali the outraged local people burnt down the patrol post is false and intentional.

The terrified local people shut their mouth tight. At first nobody dared to speak anything about the incident. Subsequently a large number of local people requesting anonymity claimed that some men of police had burnt down the patrol post. They raise two arguments for the claim. Firstly, although there was only one hit and injury the police shot eighty rounds of fire to disperse the mob and no mob can withstand such a large quantity of fire. In fact, exactly this thing happened. The mob got dispersed and fled away after a few rounds of firing. Secondly, fire caught first in the hind part of the patrol post. If the mob had set fire they would have done so in the front part because they were there. Moreover, there is a marsh behind the patrol post house for which it is not possible for the mob to come along this side.

Police registered an FIR against one Faruk Ahmed and other five hundred unidentified persons in connection with the fabricated charges of attempt to murder, causing obstruction to police the performance of their lawful duty etc invoking section 307 etc. of IPC. Police, in connection with this false case, raided, beaten, abused and humiliated family members, relatives and fellow villagers of the victim. Even arrested they arrested three innocent persons, namely Faruk Ahmed, Ibajul Hoque and Imamul Hoque, who were subsequently released on bail by the Gauhati High Court.

When, Saidur Rahmen, the person injured in police firing recovered a little and released from the Medical College Hospital was also arrested by the police which act of the police was termed by the intellectuals of the valley as barbaric and brutal. With the intervention of Barak Human Rights Protection Committee the Superintendent of Jails sent him to the hospital then applied to the court for according permission.

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee thinks that the weight of the arguments can not be denied. There are enough reasons to believe that the police might not have burnt the patrol post themselves but they did so through the agency of hired persons. In fact, the incident of burning down the patrol post is enigmatic and indicative of a deeper and larger conspiracy. The way in which police is desperately over-active in hounding the people in relation to the case of burning down the patrol post despite requests from various quarters not to harass and arrest the innocent people and to call an all-party-meeting to decide further action regarding the case, is indicative of such a conspiracy. The fact of non-registration of an FIR regarding the murder of Mutahir Ali and harassing and arresting innocent people arbitrarily tells of the desperate efforts on the part of the police to save their skin at any cost. The enigmatic web of the whole incident can only be unknotted by an impartial investigation. So the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee strongly demands a CBI probe of the whole incident.

Neharul Ahmed MazumderSecretary General

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