Human rights defenders severely beaten up by a government officer in Karimganj, NHRC moved

Press statement

18 December, 2015

Guwahati: Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) has today filed a complaint and appeal for urgent actions to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) regarding a case of assault and intimidation of two human rights defenders in Karimganj district of Assam by a government official and his accomplices.

According to information received by BHRPC, anti-corruption and labour rights activist Mr Shyamraj Rajbhor and his wife Ms Aradhana Rajbhor, who is also an activist in her own right, were badly beaten up causing serious injuries on 2 December, 2015 allegedly by Mr P K Roy, Block Development Officer (BDO), Ramkrishna Nagar Block (in Karimganj district of Assam) and his accomplices. It is obvious that the attack was carried out to intimidate them and members of their organisation Mojuri Sramik Union (MSU) into silence on the matter of alleged corruption relating to allotment of a house under Indira Awas Yojana (IAY), a central government flagship programme to provide housing for the rural poor in India. The activists obtained relevant documents under the Right to Information Act, 2005 that showed that funds under the scheme were allotted to a person not eligible for IAY benefits depriving the actual beneficiaries. Their complaints in the matter were ignored by the BDO for a long time. But when they pursued further the BDO tricked them into coming to a house of one Mr Ravi Malakar where he and his other accomplices severely beat them up causing serious injuries. They had to be given treatment as in-patients for seven days in the Santosh Kumar Roy Civil Hospital. They are still recuperating.

Despite filing complaints to the police and district authorities no actions against the alleged perpetrators have been taken. Mr and Ms Rajbhor and members of the MSU are apprehending more such attacks in view of the lack of any deterrent actions and preventive measures.

In its complaint BHRPC urged the NHRC to ensure registration of a case against the attackers, their arrest, prompt and objective investigation, payment of compensation to the victims and arrangement of proper security for members of MSU and other human rights defenders working in the area.

Reports of the case have also been sent to the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders for appropriate actions and other national and international organisations that look after the security of human rights defenders including the Human Rights Defenders Alert– India, Asian Human Rights Commission, International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Amnesty International.

For further information you may contact

Mr Nirmal Kumar Das

Mobile: +919435238753

Or BHRPC at bhrpc.ne@gmail.com

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