Posts Tagged ‘FIRs’

‘Assam police yet to achieve its legitimacy and lawfulness’, reports police body

April 22, 2012

The Sentinel published a report on 22 April 2012 on the findings and recommendations of the 2010 annual report of the Assam State Police Accountability Commission. The Bengali version of the report as published in the 23 April 2012 issue of the Dainik Prantojyoti can be seen here.

Will policing in Assam ever have a ‘‘humane face’’ in the real sense of the terms? When will the police really begin to behave as a service in a democracy, and not as a brutal, colonial-type force as it acts in many cases? When will ordinary citizens really feel they are being served by the police? These are inconvenient questions, but the police in a democracy must face them and evolve as a people-friendly force.

The issue of policing in Assam has become a much-talked-about subject these days. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had, on April 16, at the Chief Ministers’ Conference on Internal Security in New Delhi, laid stress on ‘‘policing with a human face’’ in the State, which has seen militancy-related violence ebbing in recent times. The State Police Accountability Commission, in its annual report for 2010, has also given thrust on ‘‘democratic policing’’.

The annual report of the Accountability Commission prepared by Justice (retd) DN Chowdhury, who is also the chairman of the Commission,  states that ‘‘democratic policing is used to describe the characteristics of policing in a democratic State where police serve the people of the country, not a regime’’.

 The report has revealed that the State’s police force is ‘‘yet to change its attitude towards democratic policing’’ and ‘‘if the police is to achieve its legitimacy and lawfulness, it must seriously endeavour to become accountable to law’’.

Regarding the lodging of First Information Report (FIR) at police station, the report states that FIR is not registered at the first instance concerning issues relating to breach of trust, misappropriation of properties, and other issues. “Sometimes even if the FIR is registered, though belatedly, investigation does not take its due course with end result that the registration of the case becomes a mere formality to escape from the charge of serious misconduct,” adds the report.

On the issue of ‘‘general diary’’ maintained by the police, the report points finger at the Assam Police Act 2007 that has not been amended in order to make the general diary a legal instrument with its transparency at the level of thana/outpost activities, which is overdue. “The scope of enhancing police accountability is very wide in the general diary to be maintained having the force compatible with that of the RTI Act,” states the report.

“The general diary in respect of information of non-cog nature under the provision of CrPC 155 is one of the important indices of police performance at Thana/Outpost level. The Commission has observed that many of the complaints received by the Commission relate to non-registration of cases and refusal in the guise of non-cog to police. Hardly the police action is supported by the initial records as may be required under the provision of CrPC 155 to find mention in the general diary with advice to the complainant to approach the nearest judicial magistrate for ordering investigation of the non-cog cases by police,” states the report.

Wrath of police: Photo courtesy merinews.com

Wrath of police: Photo courtesy merinews.com

The report has also emphasized computerization as a strongest tool for transparency and accountability of the police to the law. “It is needless to emphasize that the right of the citizens will be better addressed by receiving FIR in the computer through networking having access to the general public,” adds the report.

Regarding supervision of cases registered against cops, the report states that such cases are invariably to be supervised and the cases should be dealt with newer provision in the ‘‘rule book’’ to be amended on a greater priority putting them even as special report cases. “The government should take suitable action in this regard and direct the Director General ofPolice,Assamto initiate proposal to the government accordingly,” says the report.

“In our earlier reports we also mentioned that the directives of the Commission for indicating the erring police personnel accountable were not taken in right spirit. Instead instances were found for out-manoeuvring our guidelines and directives. Setting up of the District Accountability Authority and the appropriate steps for creating awareness among the public are some of the issues which need to be addressed for effective functioning of the Accountability Commission and for greater benefit of the people,” says Justice DN Chowdhury in his report.


Source: http://www.sentinelassam.com/mainnews/story.php?sec=1&subsec=0&id=114551&dtP=2012-04-22&ppr=1#114551 accessed on 22 April 2012.


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Reporter assaulted in Assam for exposing corruption in government works

April 10, 2012


Introduction:

The Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) is deeply concerned over an incident of assault of a reporter in Cachar district in Assam while he was returning home after collecting information and taking photographs of alleged irregularities in works under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (NREGA) in Borkhola development block area. The victim was severely beaten up that caused serious injuries including breaking of his teeth. The incident happened at a place a little away from a work site at Sonapur Gaon Panchayat (GP) on 28 February 2012.  The attackers were allegedly workers of a political party. Although the police registered a case against the attackers, instead of investigating the case, they registered another false case against the victim allegedly due to political interference. The victim is still traumatized and can not go out for work for fear of loss of limbs and life.

The case:

The BHRPC received a written communication from the victim Mr Sibir Ahmed Barbhuiyan on 7 April 2012 giving details of the incident and other relevant information. Mr Barbhuiyan is aged about 34, son of late Basarat Ali Barbhuiya and a resident of village Chandpur Part-III under the jurisdiction of Borkhola police station (PS) in Cachar. He is presently working as a local correspondent with the Dainik Jugasankha, a local daily news paper published from Baidyanath Sarani, Rongpur, Silchar-9. He also does a part time job as an insurance agent with the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). It is also stated that Mr Barbhuiya also works as the president of a village level non-government organization named Borkhola Gram Bikash Parishad that aims to work for equitable and sustainable development of the villages in Borkhola block particularly by ensuring proper implementation of the government rural development schemes. It is registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 vide No. RS/CA/243/G/32. However, the BHRPC could not thoroughly inquire into the works and activities of the NGO and its members.

According to the information provided by the victim, on 28 February he went out for works in the morning as usual. After the day’s work when he was returning home at about 9 pm some job card holders under the NREGA informed him that the GP president (elected head of the village level local government body) Ms Nazima Begum Laskar and its secretary Mr Shew Kumar Pandey caused deployment of Excavator and Tripper machines for soil excavation at the construction work of a village road from Dispur to Ashrab Shah Mukam in Sonapur GP and that the machines were at work at the time.

The work was sanctioned under the NREGA which is an Act of parliament ofIndiaenacted to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. The use of machines in such works defeats the very purpose of the legislation. The operational guidelines for implementation of the law issued by the Ministry of Rural Development, the nodal ministry of the government ofIndiafor implementation of the Act, also categorically say that no contractors and machinery is allowed and a 60:40 wage and material ratio has to be maintained. Therefore, Mr Barbhuiya felt he was duty bound as a working journalist and social worker to capture the evidence of violations of law in camera. Accordingly he went to the work site immediately and shot some photographs.

 According to the information, after taking photographs when he reached Ashrab Shah Mukam a group of about 12 people led by one Liakat Ali Barbhuiya attacked him. Some of the attackers were identified by him as (1) Liakat Ali Barbhuiya, son of late Mujibur Rahman, (2) Abdul Mannan, (3) Jelu Mazumder, son of Gousul Mazumder, (4) Gousul Mazumder, (5) Anor Uddin, (6) Manjurul Haque, son of Nur Uddin, (7) Babul Ahmed, son of late Mujibur Rahman and other 4/5 unidentified persons. All of them are residents of village Sonapur under Borkhola police station and local workers of the congress party, the ruling political party inAssam. The victim stated that the attackers started beating him and continued to box and punch him till they broke one of his teeth and he fell unconscious. The victim alleged that the attackers then took away all his belongings including a camera (canon 14:4), a gold ring (4 Ana), two mobile handsets (Nokia 3110) with SIMs bearing numbers 9401311524 and 9854901235, one HMT wrist watch and Rs. 33,000.00 (thirty three thousand) cash of insurance premium that he collected that day and some important documents etc.

The victim further stated that when his senses returned he found himself confined in a nearby house belonging to one of the alleged attackers Gousul Mazumder and he sensed that they were preparing weapons to kill him. At this point in time the officer In-Charge (IC) of Bhangarpar police outpost Mr Robin Hazarika reached the spot who rushed after receiving information about the incident and rescued the victim but did not nab the attackers and recover the stolen stuffs and thus they fled away at his arrival. Mr Barbhuiya was then taken to a local hospital and later shifted to theSilcharMedicalCollegeand Hospital, Silchar (SMCH) where he was admitted in the surgery department and received treatment until he was released on 5 March.

The police officer told the victim that he needed to visit the police outpost in order that his complaint was registered while the victim was in severe need of urgent medical attention. Mr barbhuiya could not visit the outpost that night as he was at the Sonapur primary health centre (PHC). However, he managed to file a written complaint on 29 February at the Bhangarpar outpost. Still the police did not register the case promptly, let alone taking any actions. When the health condition of the victim deteriorated and he had to be rushed to the SMCH on 1 March and the police was repeatedly urged to take actions the Borkhola PS registered a case against the alleged attackers vide Borkhola PS Case No. 29/12 dated 1 March 2012 under sections 341, 326, 506, 379 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) for wrongful restraint, grievous hurt, criminal intimidation, theft and joint commission of the offences respectively. Sub-inspector of police Mr Robin Hazarika has been made the investigation officer (I/O) of the case.

Mr. Barbhuiya, however, alleged that even after registration of the case the I/O did not take any actions against the accused and investigation of the case did not proceed at all. No statements of the witnesses recorded. No stolen goods recovered. No arrest of the accused was made though they were roaming free. It is alleged that the police facilitated grant of pre-arrest bail of the accused persons from the Gauhati High Court by sending a biased and false report of the case to the court without investigations. After being repeatedly urged to take actions as per law, the officer told that he could not take any actions as he was asked by Dr Rumee Nath, the member of Assam legislative assembly (MLA) belonging to the ruling congress party and representing Borkhola constituency, not to take actions, the victim alleged in his written communication addressed to the BHRPC.

The victim further alleged that he believed that the attack on him was carried out at the behest of the MLA who wanted him to be killed because as a scribe he reported at different times stories containing allegations of corruption made by the people against her. He also mentioned that foundation stone of the particular NREGA work where he found violations of laws was laid by her and the local monitoring body is comprised of party workers loyal to her including the GP president and Liakat Ali Barbhuiya and some other attackers. However, when the BHRPC contacted Ms Nath for her side of the story she did not respond.

It is also alleged that under political influence the police registered a false case against the victim based on a complaint filed by one Ms Champarun Nessa (aged about 45 years) of village Sonapur Part-I vide Borkhola P.S. Case No. 30/12 under sections 341, 354, 376 and 311 of IPC on 1 March 2012. The sections invoked provide punishment for wrongful restraint, assault or criminal force on woman to outrage her modesty and rape. Although the case involves serious offence of rape the self-proclaimed rape victim was not medically examined and her statement was also not recorded by a judicial magistrate. The BHRPC believes that this case against Mr Barbhuiya is absolutely false and malicious filed with malafide intention of abusing the legal process to subvert the object of law, to weaken the case against the alleged attackers of Mr Barbhuiya, to harass and intimidate him. It goes against reasons and common sense that a person who sustained injuries amounting to grievous hurt within the meaning of section 326 of the IPC would be able to commit offence like rape soon thereafter. In fact, it has become a practice for unscrupulous influential persons to procure some complainants and cause registration of serious offences against human rights defenders and anti-corruption activists.

In view of the position and intent of the people against him and the negligence of the police in their duties and their abetment in harassing and intimidating the victim, he is apprehensive of more attacks and seriously concerned for his life and limbs and police harassment as well as for those of his family members and members of the Borkhola Gram Bikash Parishad. He said he always feels that his life and liberty is at risk as the alleged perpetrators are at large and consequently he could freely move and work.

The rights:

The BHRPC thinks that the information reveals a prima facie case of violations of fundamental rights of the victim to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 (1) (a), the right to practice profession of one’s choice guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (g) and the right to security and physical and psychological integrity under Article 21 of the constitution of India as read by the Supreme Court of India. The non-investigation of his case by the police also entails violations right to truth, justice and reparation.

It is also a prima facie case of violations of human right ‘to freedom of opinion and expression’ as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. The rights violated in this case are also guaranteed in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 to whichIndia is a state party. This covenant including this Article is a part of the Human Rights Protection Act, 1993 by virtue of section 2 (1) (d).

It is obvious that the attack was carried out, if not to kill him, to take away the sense of security under which comfort Mr Barbhuiya works legitimately and peacefully both as a journalist and president of the Borkhola Gram Bikash Parishad against corruption and irregularities in implementation of rural development scheme of the government for practical realization of the rights of the people, particularly their social and economic rights. These circumstances make the definition of human rights defender as understood in the context of the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (also known as the declaration on human rights defenders) applicable in the case.

Human rights works including socio-economic and cultural rights by peaceful and legitimate means are both duty and rights of every individual as spelt out in the declaration on human rights defenders. Particularly Article 12 of the declaration imposes duty on the State to “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or dejure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present declaration.”

 The Protection of Human Rights Act also mandates the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to inquire, suo motu or on a petition presented to it by a victim or any person on his behalf, into complaint of (i) violation of human rights or abetment thereof or (ii) negligence in the prevention of such violation, by a public servant under section (a) 12. It is also the mandate of the NHRC to encourage the efforts of non-governmental organisations and institutions working in the field of human rights under clause (i) of the same section, which includes protection of defenders.

The actions:

In view of the circumstances the BHRPC wrote to the authorities including the prime minister ofIndia, the chief minister ofAssam, the president of the All India Congress Committee and the chairperson of the Press Council of India and also filed a complaint at the NHRC urging them to cause the relevant authorities:

 1. to conduct a prompt, objective and exhaustive investigation into the alleged assault on Mr Sibir Ahmed Barbhuiya, failure of police to perform their legal duties in investigating the allegations and the role of MLA Dr Rumee Nath in the alleged violations of human rights;

 2. to take all necessary measures to protect the physical and psychological security and integrity of Mr Sibir Ahmed Barbhuiya and his family and all members of Borkhola Gram Bikash Parishad and their families;

3. to provide adequate reparation in terms of monetary compensation to Mr Sibir Ahmed Barbhuiya for loss of his equipments, documents and other valuables and for suffering physical and mental agony;

 4. to guarantee that human rights defenders in Assam are able to carry out their legitimate human rights works without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions including assault by goons and police harassment;

5. to guarantee that citizens and particularly the journalists in Assam are able to exercise their right to freedom of thought and expression without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions including assault by goons and police harassment.

10 April 2012

Guwahati,Assam

For any clarification or more information you may contact

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

Mobile: +91 9401942234

Email:wali.laskar@gmail.com

Custodial Death of Motahir Ali and Events in the Aftermath

June 13, 2010

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

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

June 10, 2010

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.

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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:

Urgent Appeal Regarding an Incident Where Army raids a village, assault and molests women in Assam

June 10, 2010

URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Get pdf version of the document

Urgent Appeal No. BHRPC/UA/22/210                    Dated: 08 June 2010

Dear Friends,

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) forwards this Urgent Appeal issued by Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) regarding an incident where army raids a village, assault and molests women in Assam with request to all to take suggested actions.

Yours Sincerely

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

15, Panjabari Road, Six Mile,

Guwahati-781037, Assam

INDIA: Army raids a village, assault and molests women in Assam
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMMEUrgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-080-20107 June 2010
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INDIA: Army raids a village, assault and molests women in Assam

ISSUES: Violence against women; torture; militarisation; impunity
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the soldiers from a field regiment stationed in Manipur Block, Hailakandi district, Assam illegally raided houses in Mohanpur village and in the process tortured the inmates, molested women and girls and even took their pictures at gun point. It is reported that the soldiers were looking for Mr. Nurul Hoque Barbhuiya, the former elected president of Mohanpur Gaon Panchayat. During the raid that lasted for about half a day, the soldiers destroyed household properties at gun point and opened fire to threaten the villagers who gathered near the house. A pregnant woman who was kicked in her abdomen by the soldiers lost her child in a miscarriage within two days after the incident.

CASE NARRATIVE:

According to the information we have received from the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), a human right organisation based in Assam, the soldiers from 117/33 Field Regiment stationed at Manipur Block, Hailakandi, Assam state raided the house of Mrs. Hawatun Nesa, wife of Mr. Nurul Hoque Barbhuiya at about 3.30am on 23 May 2010 in Mohanpur village. Hawatun is the president of Mohanpur Gaon Panchayat, a position previously occupied by her husband Nurul.

There were about 17 soldiers who entered the house and all of them had their face covered by black cloth. The soldiers knocked at the front door of the house at about 3.30am when the family was sound asleep. Hawatun opened the door. Without warning, the soldiers marched into the house and asked Hawatun where her husband Nurul was. Hawatun replied that Nurul is not at home as he had gone to a relative’s house in a nearby village a day before. The soldiers refused to believe this and started searching the house.

They ordered everyone to get off from their bed. 82-year-old Mr. Mashur Ali Barbhuiya, Nurul’s father was unable to get from the bed since he requires help to get up. The soldiers dragged Mashur from the bed holding him by his throat. Then the soldiers started beating 65-year-old Mrs. Fulerun Nesa, Nurul’s mother accusing her that she is hiding Nurul. Then the officers started destroying household goods and furniture including chairs, tables, drawers, wardrobes and cooking utensils. The soldiers were not accompanied by women soldiers or women police officers from the local police station, which is a mandatory requirement under the law. The soldiers did not inform the family why they were looking for Nurul.

At about 7.30am the villagers gathered around the house to see what was going on in Nurul’s house. At the time some of the soldiers came out of the house and fired a few shots into the air asking the villagers to stay away. The soldiers did not allow Hawatun to feed her children and others inside the house till 2.30pm. When she requested the soldiers to allow her to feed the family, a soldier pointed his rifle at her and ordered that she must feed the soldiers rather than her family and forced her to make tea and cook snacks for the soldiers to eat. They refused her to feed her family members until the soldiers left.

In the meanwhile some soldiers went to the neighbouring house where Mr. Moinul Hoque Barbhuiya resides with his family. The soldiers searched this house also. Mrs. Rejwana Parvin Barbhuiya, aged 24 years, the eldest daughter of Moinul who was recently married was home at the time. The soldiers molested her and her two younger sisters, Sabina Yasmin Barbhuiya aged 14 years and Shahnaj Yasmin Barbhuiya aged 17 years, by holding the girls by their arms and pulling them towards them with a gesture to have sex with them in front of their father.

The soldiers threatened that they have weapons and that they could do anything to them if they refused to come closer. They threatened that they could rape the girls in front of their father. One of the soldiers asked the girls and their elder sister to come along with them if they wanted to have sex away from their home and parents. Then the soldiers took turns to take the pictures of the girls and their elder sister with their mobile telephone camera.

Rejwana informed the BHRPC that she had to beg and plead with the soldiers not to rape herself or her sisters. Rejwana informs that her sisters and she are traumatized by the incident and they find it difficult to speak to their father who witnessed helplessly while his daughters were abused by the soldiers.

The soldiers during the raid in Hawatun’s house also engaged in pilferage. They took dress, cosmetics, utensils and gold ornaments belonging to the family when they left the house. The articles stolen from the house is approximately of Rs. 70,000 in value. Hawatun also accuses that the soldiers took Rs. 20,000 in cash that they found inside the house.

Before leaving, the soldiers forced Hawatun to sign documents that they had prepared and forced her to affix her official seal in the documents. The soldiers also took by force documents belonging to the Panchayat that Hawatun had kept at home. The soldiers took two mobile telephones from the house with its SIM cards with registered numbers 9854621923 and 9435582945 used by Nazim Uddin, Hawatun’s brother, and that of Hawatun. Hawatun’s brother’s telephone was returned on 25 May.

While the soldiers were still at Hawatun’s house some other soldiers were on the rampage in the village. At about 5am, they raided yet another house. This house belonged to Mr. Mujammil Ali Barbhuiya and is about 0.5kms away from Hawatun’s house. When the soldiers entered the house compound Ali was getting ready to go to his farm. The soldiers stopped him and demanded to know where Nurul is. When Ali informed the soldiers that he did not know where Nurul was they assaulted him with a bamboo stick and started hitting him with their rifle butt. Ali fell down and his cloths were torn. Ali’s wife Rushna Begum came running to rescue Ali from the soldiers. But she was also kicked around and beaten by the soldiers. The soldiers stopped assaulting Ali when they saw yet another villager Mr. Abdul Jalil Laskar, aged about 65 years on the street.

Laskar was going to the mosque for his morning prayers. The soldiers grabbed Laskar by his dress and without asking anything started beating him. Some persons who happened to witness this tried to intervene and they were also beaten up by the soldiers. Mrs. Latiful Begum Barbhuiya, aged 35 years, Sharmina Begum, aged 12 years and a mentally challenged boy, Imran Hussain aged 14 years are among those who were beaten up. Mrs. Suretun Nesa, aged about 30 years was beaten up by the soldiers and kicked in her abdomen. Suretun Nesa was in her advanced stage of pregnancy and on 25 May she had a miscarriage at Silchar Medical College and Hospital due to the injuries suffered to her womb from the assault.

Another group of soldiers at about 6am went to yet another house belonging to Mr. Amit Das. The soldiers asked Das about Nurul for which Das replied that he did not know about Nurul’s whereabouts. Immediately the soldiers started beating him, whereby he sustained serious injuries on his leg. Das is currently under treatment at Community Health Centre, Mohanpur. It is reported that the soldiers refused to allow anyone to leave the village to seek medical help until they left.

It is suspected that the raid and assault was carried out for wrecking political vengeance against Nurul and his wife, who are popular among the villagers. Both husband and wife do not belong to any political parties and during their tenure as the president of the local panchayat they are trying to root out corruption in the distribution of funds in the government schemes. It is widely believed among the villagers that the some local politicians are behind instigating the soldiers to raid the village in an act of vengeance against Nurul and his wife since they have so far refused to join any political parties.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The BHRPC contacted Subedar Mr. Yadav at the 117/33 Field Regiment in Manipur Block on 4 June at about 12pm. The officer informed BHRPC that the operation was conducted based on the information provided from anonymous sources, but the identity of the suspect was mistaken and that they have apologised to Hawatun about the incident. Yet the officer insisted that he need to meet Nurul.

At about 1pm Captain Mr. Amit Gautom, COB Commander contacted BHRPC from the telephone number +91 9435742088. The Captain informed BHRPC that the raid was conducted by the 117/33 Field Regiment. When the Captain was questioned about the absence of any police officer during the raid he first replied that it is not required under law. When confronted about his misinterpretation of the law, quoting from the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights case as decided by the Supreme Court of India, the Captain claimed that the raiding party was accompanied by a police constable from Katlicherra Police Station. However, the BHRPC claims that Mohanpur is outside the jurisdiction of Katlicherra Police Station.

The Captain further claimed that they did not injure, torture or abuse anyone during the raid and that the soldiers did not destroy any property. He claimed that Hawatun has signed a document to prove this. Hawatun as well as her family members claim that the document was signed by Hawatun at gunpoint and that she was not informed about the content of the document. It has to be noted that this is a common practice employed by soldiers and police officers when they conduct illegal house raids in India. The AHRC has reported cases in the past where soldiers and police officers resorting to such practices.

The Captain further informed BHRPC that Hawatun and her husband need not be afraid if they are innocent. The Captain also claimed that the army will use force only when required. Yet the Captain insisted that Nurul and Hawatun must come to their camp and meet the Captain. He also threatened that there would be further raids in the village if the army receive any information and insisted that the raid on 23 May was not conducted on any mistaken identity.

The police so far have refused to register any case concerning the incident. Two complaints however are filed at Algapur Police Station, one by Hawatun and the other by Abdul Jalil. The police accepted Hawatun’s complaint but refused to register any formal case. As for Abdul’s complaint, the police asked him to go home and refused to register a case based on his complaint. The police told Abdul that he must be happy that he is alive after his encounter with the army and that he should not complain and if he insisted, the army would get him and finish him off in some other excuse.

It must be noted that the army has no right whatsoever to summon a civilian to their camp and has no legal mandate to engage in crime control or other operations in the area unless for supporting police operations. The local police must immediately record the statement of the injured and the witnesses to the incident. This is a clear case of abuse of authority by the army and such acts must not be allowed to recur. In addition, the soldiers conducting house raids without informing their ranks and names with their face cowered is a direct violation of law against which the unit’s immediate commanding officer must be punished.

The villagers also fear for the safety of Nurul and his wife Hawatun. They say that if the husband and wife try to pursue their case against the soldiers, they will come again and kill both of them and later claim that they were killed in an armed encounter, a phenomenon common in the region and there would be no inquiry into the case at all. But Nurul and Hawatun are confident that if there is enough pressure, there will be an investigation into the incident and the soldiers will be punished.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write letters to the authorities mentioned below, in particular to the Defence Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Assam, expressing your concern in the case. The statements of the victims and witnesses must be recorded by a judicial magistrate and the Army has a legal as well as moral duty to inform the civilian authorities about the identities of the officers involved in the raid. The AHRC is writing separate letter of concern to the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women calling for an intervention in the case.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

INDIA: Illegal army raid in Mohanpur, Assam must be investigated

Name of injured victims:
1. Mrs. Suretun Nesa, aged about 30 years, wife of Mr. Altaf Hussain Barbhuiya
2. Mr. Abdul Jalil Laskar, aged about 65 years
3. Mrs. Latiful Begum Barbhuiya, aged about 35 years
4. Ms. Sharmina Begum, aged about 12 years
5. Imran Hussain, aged about 14 years
6. Mr. Amit das, aged about 35 years, son of Umesh Das
7. Mr. Mashur Ali Barbhuiya, aged about 82 years
8. Mrs. Fulerun Nesa, aged about 65 years
9. Mrs. Hawatun Nesa, aged about 30 years
Name of the threatened victims:
1. Mr. Nurul Hoque Barbhuiya, aged about 42 years
2. Farhat Parvin Kawsar Barbhuiya, aged about 9 years, daughter of Nurul Hoque Barbhuiya
3. Rahat Parvin Kawsar Barbhuiya, aged about 7 years, daughter of Nurul Hoque Barbhuiya
4. Fuzail Ahmed Barbhuiya, aged about 6 years, son of Nurul Hoque Barbhuiya
5. Mikail Ahmed Barbhuiya, aged about 3 years, son of Nurul Hoque Barbhuiya
6. Mr. Moinul Hoque Barbhuiya
7. Mrs. Rejwana Parvim Barbhuiya, aged about 24 years, daughter of Moinul Hoque Barbhuiya
8. Ms. Sabina Yasmin Barbhuiya, aged about 14 years, daughter of Moinul Hoque Barbhuiya
9. Ms. Shahnaj Yasmin Barbhuiya, aged about 17 years, daughter of Moinul Hoque Barbhuiya
All the above victims are the residents of Mohanpur village, Hailakandi district, Assam

Names of the perpetrators:
1. About 17 unidentified soldiers under the command of Captain Mr. Amit Gautom, stationed at 117/33 Field Regiment stationed at Manipur block, Hailakandi District, Assam
2. Captain Mr. Amit Gautom, of 117/33 Field Regiment stationed at Manipur block, Hailakandi District, Assam

Date of incident: 23 May, 2010
Place of incident: Mohanpur village, Hailakandi district, Assam

I am writing to voice my concern regarding the case of an illegal army raid held on 23 May 2010 in Mohanpur village, Hailakandi district Assam, in which several persons were seriously injured and several others threatened by the soldiers of 117/33 Field Regiment stationed at Manipur block, Hailakandi District under the command of Captain Mr. Amit Gautom.

I am informed that about 17 soldiers on 23 May 2010 at about 3.30am raided the house of Mrs. Hawatun Nesa, the president of Mohanpur Gaon Panchayat, a position previously occupied by her husband Nurul Hoque Barbhuiya. I am informed that the soldiers were looking for Nurul, Hawatun’s husband.

It is reported that the soldiers who entered the house had their face covered by a black cloth thereby concealing their identity, which is illegal in India. The soldiers knocked at the front door of the house at about 3.30am when the family was sound asleep and asked for Nurul when his wife Hawatun opened the door. I am informed that without being accompanied by any woman soldiers or police officers and without offering the women in the house to step outside the house, the soldiers marched into the house and asked Hawatun where her husband Nurul was. This again is a clear violation of Indian laws, in particular the several directives issued by the Indian Supreme Court concerning state agencies, including police and the military, conducting house raids and the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

I am informed that Nurul was not at home at the time of the raid since he had gone to a relative’s house in a nearby village a day before. It is reported that the soldiers refused to believe the statement given by Hawatun that her husband is not at home and started searching the house.

It is reported that the soldiers then ordered everyone to get off from their bed. I am aware that 82-year-old Mr. Mashur Ali Barbhuiya, Nurul’s father was unable to get up from his bed since he required help and that the soldiers dragged Mashur from the bed holding him by his throat. The soldiers reportedly assaulted 65-year-old Mrs. Fulerun Nesa, Nurul’s mother accusing her that she is hiding her son. It is reported that the officers then destroyed household goods and furniture including chairs, tables, drawers, wardrobes and cooking utensils. Until today the soldiers have not informed why they are looking for Nurul.

It is reported that at about 7.30am the villagers gathered around the house to see what was going on in Nurul’s house. At the time some of the soldiers came out of the house and fired shots into the air asking the villagers to stay away. I am informed that the soldiers did not allow Hawatun to feed her children and others inside the home till 2.30pm whereas the soldiers forced Hawatun to make them tea and snacks. I am aware that the soldiers refused anyone in the house to have food until they left.

I am also informed that while some soldiers stayed at Hawatun’s house some soldiers went to the neighbouring house where Mr. Moinul Hoque Barbhuiya resides. I am informed that the soldiers searched this house and in the process molested Moinul’s daughters who were in the house at the time. Mrs. Rejwana Parvin Barbhuiya, aged 24 years, the eldest daughter of Moinul who was recently married was home at the time. The soldiers molested her and her two younger sisters, Sabina Yasmin Barbhuiya aged 14 years and Shahnaj Yasmin Barbhuiya aged 17 years, by holding them by their arms and pulling them towards them with a gesture to have sex with them in front of their father.

I am informed that the soldiers threatened that they have weapons and that they could do anything with the girls and the woman if they refused. It is reported that the soldiers threatened that they could rape the girls and the woman in front of their father. One of the soldiers asked the girls and their elder sister, Rejwana, to come along with them if they wanted to have sex away from their home and parents. It is reported that the soldiers then took turns to take the pictures of the girls and their elder sister with their mobile telephone camera.

Rejwana has informed the BHRPC, a local human rights organisation that she had to beg and plead with the soldiers not to rape herself or her sisters. It is reported that Rejwana and her sisters are traumatized by the incident and they find it difficult to speak to their father who witnessed the incident helplessly while they were abused by the soldiers.

It is alleged that the soldiers during the raid in Hawatun’s house also engaged in pilferage. Hawatun claims that the soldiers took dress, cosmetics, utensils and gold ornaments belonging to the family when they left the house. The articles stolen from the house is approximately of Rs. 70,000 in value. Hawatun also accuses that the soldiers took Rs. 20,000 in cash that they found inside the house.

I am also informed that before leaving the soldiers forced Hawatun to sign documents that the soldiers had prepared and forced her to affix her official seal in the documents. It is reported that the soldiers also took by force documents belonging to the Panchayat that Hawatun had kept at home. Hawatun claims that the soldiers took two mobile telephones from the house with its SIM cards with registered numbers 9854621923 and 9435582945 used by Nazim Uddin, Hawatun’s brother, and that of Hawatun. Hawatun’s brother’s telephone was returned on 25 May.

I am also informed that while the soldiers were still at Hawatun’s house some other soldiers were on the rampage in the village. It is reported that at about 5am, they raided yet another house belonging to Mr. Mujammil Ali Barbhuiya. When the soldiers entered the house compound it is reported that Ali was getting ready to go to his farm. It is alleged that the soldiers stopped him and demanded to know where Nurul is. I am informed that when Ali told the soldiers that he did not know where Nurul was they assaulted him with a bamboo stick and started hitting him with their rifle butt.

Ali fell down and his cloths were torn. Ali’s wife Rushna Begum came running to rescue Ali from the soldiers. But she was also kicked around and beaten by the soldiers. The soldiers stopped assaulting Ali when they saw yet another villager Mr. Abdul Jalil Laskar, aged about 65 years on the street.

I am informed that Laskar was going to the mosque for his morning prayers when the soldiers grabbed him by his dress and without asking anything started beating him. It is reported that persons who happened to witness this when tried to intervene they were also beaten up by the soldiers. Mrs. Latiful Begum Barbhuiya, aged 35 years, Sharmina Begum, aged 12 years and a mentally challenged boy Imran Hussain aged 14 years, are among those who were beaten up.
Mrs. Suretun Nesa, aged about 30 years and wife of Mr. Altaf Hussain Barbhuiya also was beaten up by the soldiers and kicked in her abdomen. Suretun Nesa was in her advanced stage of pregnancy and on 25 May she had a miscarriage at Silchar Medical College and Hospital due to the injuries suffered to her womb from the assault.

I am further informed that another group of soldiers at about 6am went to yet another house belonging to Mr. Amit Das. The soldiers asked Das about Nurul for which Das replied that he did not know about Nurul’s whereabouts. Immediately the soldiers started beating him, whereby he sustained serious injuries on his leg. I am informed that Das is currently under treatment at Community Health Centre, Mohanpur. It is reported that the soldiers refused to allow anyone to leave the village to seek medical help until they left.

Nothing is known as to why the soldiers conducted the raid and for what purpose are they looking for Nurul. I am informed that the raid was conducted by soldiers under the command of Captain Mr. Amit Gautom of 117/33 Field Regiment stationed at Manipur block, Hailakandi District. I am informed that the Captain has ordered Nurul and Hawatun to be present in his camp, an order he is legally unfit and have no powers to issue.

I am certain that the deployment of army detachment units in Assam is for the singular purpose of aiding operations by the local police and that the army has no legal mandate to engage in either crime control of carryout investigations or house raids without police assistance. I am also certain that the law in India mandates the army can enter houses only if they suspect that an enemy or a terrorist is harboured in the house. In all these circumstances they are expressly prohibited to cover their face or take similar measures to cover their identity. This very act forces me to suspect that the soldiers were operating illegally, for which they have to be punished. Captain Amit Gautom, being the immediate commanding officer of the unit engaged in the raid, must be immediately punished for his command responsibility, even if he was not directly present in the raid.

The army also has a moral as well as legal duty to divulge the identities of the soldiers involved in the raid to the civilian authorities, in particular the Algapur Police Station, where a complaint has been registered against the incident.

I am informed that the police so far have refused to register any formal case concerning the incident. Two complaints however are filed at Algapur Police Station, one by Hawatun and the other by Abdul Jalil. It is reported that the police accepted Hawatun’s complaint but refused to register any formal case based on his complaint. As for Abdul’s complaint, the police asked him to go home and refused to register a case. It is reported that the police told Abdul that he must be happy that he is alive after his encounter with the army and that he should not complain and if he insisted, the army would get him and finish him off on some other excuse.

I therefore request you to:
1. Make appropriate arrangements so that the statements of the victims and the witnesses in the case are recorded by a judicial magistrate;
2. The soldiers involved in the incident, in particular Captain Mr. Amit Gautom, and the soldiers involved in the raid are suspended from active duty and detained by the military police;
3. That the complaint filed by Hawatun at Algapur Police Station is converted into a formal case after registering a First Information Report and Crime; and the case be investigated by the police;
4. The soldiers involved in the raid handed over to the custody of the local police and produced before a Judicial Magistrate, charged with the offense as alleged in the complaint filed by Mrs. Hawatun;
5. The complaint filed by Mr. Abdul Jalil at Algapur Police Station be accepted to records and a similar procedure initiated as in the complaint filed by Mrs. Hawatun;
6. The Army Command conducts an impartial inquiry into the incident and actions initiated to prevent the soldiers from misusing their presence in the district among civilian population for acts that could be termed as ‘unbecoming of a soldier’.

I’m looking forward to your intervention in this case.

Yours sincerely,

—————-
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

2. Dr. P. Chidambaram
Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs
Griha Mantralaya Room
No. 104, North Block Central Secretariat
New Delhi 110001
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 2301 5750, 2309 3750, 2309 2763

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

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

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

Thank you.

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

Posted on 2010-06-07

AHRC URL: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2010/3473/

BHRPC URL:

Urgent Appeal: Extortion and Harassment of Victims of Domestic Violence by Police in Assam

June 3, 2010

URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Get Pdf version of the document

Urgent Appeal No. BHRPC/UA/21/210                    Dated: 02 June 2010

Dear Friends,

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) forwards this Urgent Appeal issued by Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) regarding an incident of extortion of money by police from a victim of domestic violence and harassment of social activists in Assam  and requests all to take appropriate actions.

Yours Sincerely

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

15, Panjabari Road, Six Mile,

Guwahati-781037, Assam

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-075-2010

2 June 2010

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INDIA: Police extort money from a victim of domestic violence in Assam

ISSUES: Violence against women; domestic violence; corruption; police inaction

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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that police officers in Silchar Police Station, Assam allegedly harassed and threatened a victim of domestic violence in order to extort money from her, and neglected the investigation of her case. The victim’s father-in-law is a senior member of the District Bar Association and she has been unable to find legal support. Gender-based violence remains a major issue in India. The corruption, lack of professional conduct and lack of gender training among police officers adds another difficulty to the already almost insurmountable obstacles that victims face when pursuing redress.

CASE NARRATIVE:

According to the information we have received from the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), a human right organisation based in Assam, Ms. Sharmista Das was subjected to severe physical assault by her husband Mr. Rananjay Da and her in-laws.

Shamista’s husband left her and their two daughters on 3 September 2009; she and her mother have heard that he married another woman and went to live with her in Shillong, Meghalaya state. We are told that after her husband left, Sharmista’s in-laws continued to demand more dowry money and to ill-treat her. On 15 September they reportedly expelled her from her home, forcing her to abandon her belongings and wedding gifts, including jewellery, clothing, utensils and furniture. Sharmista and her two daughters then took shelter at her mother’s house.

On 3 November she registered a First Information Report (FIR) at the Silchar police station (Case No. 2126/2009) under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which criminalises the subjection of a woman to cruelty by her husband or his relatives. The officer in charge of the police station, Mr. S. K. Chauhan, reportedly demanded that the victim’s mother, Sima Dutta give him Rs. 5,000.00 (USD 100) before agreeing to investigate the case. He then arrested three of the accused: Sharmista’s father-in-law Mr.Rupendra Mohan Das alias Ratul Das, her mother-in-law Mrs. Mitra Das, and her sister-in-law’s husband Mr. Joydeep Roy Choudhury. However he failed to arrest Sharmista’ husband, the main accused. A female constable allegedly asked for Rs. 900 as remuneration for guarding Mitra Das for the night.

On 4 November the police produced the three accused before a local magistrate who remanded them to judicial custody. On 9 November they were released on bail following the filing of a charge sheet. According to the Indian law, once a charge sheet is filed in court, the prosecution proceedings against the accused begin in the judicial system. Nevertheless there has been a significant delay in initiating this step in the case. Such delay is common with the judicial system in India and often it takes two to three years for even the initial stages of a trial to begin in criminal cases, due to overwhelming case loads. At the time of writing this appeal, the court has not yet framed charges against the four accused and the trial has not begun.

On the same day the police also filed a charge sheet in which they accused Mr. Rananjay Das of being an absconder and avoiding the process of law. Yet the complainant has seen no evidence of a legitimate investigation, or attempt to find him.

Mrs. Dutta further reported that OC Chauhan demanded Rs. 1,200 (USD 25) as a bribe from her on 12 November, which she felt obligated to pay.

Given the lack of progress in this first case, on March 10, 2010, Sharmista filed another FIR in the same police station to recover the things she had had to leave at her home when she was expelled (Case No. 509/10 under Sections 379 and 406, IPC). She also filed an application to the District Magistrate for a search warrant of Rupendra Mohan Das’ and Joydeep Roy Choudhury’s houses (Case No. 155 M/2010, under section 94 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973).

Sub-Inspector Narayan Tamuli is the Investigating Officer (IO) who was entrusted with the execution of the search warrant. When Sharmista and Mrs. Mithu Sen, a social activist, visited the police station on 17 March 2010 to enquire about the progress of the case, they report that OC Chauhan and SI Tamuli intimidated them into paying respectively Rs. 3,000 (USD 64) and Rs. 20,000 (USD 424) as bribes.

According to the victim, when she accompanied the SI to visit the house of her husband’s father Mr. Rupendra Mohan Das, the inspector did not attempt to recover the items listed in the search warrant, although she pointed them to him during the search. Instead the officer reportedly took a few items into his possession. Moreover we have been told that the police officer did not visit the other address mentioned in the search warrant.

On 20 March Sharmista returned to the police station accompanied by two social activists, Mithu Sen and Aleya Islam Laskar, to inquire about the progress of the investigation. According to their testimony, SI Tamuli demanded a further Rs. 50,000 (USD 1,060) from them and threatened them with dire consequences if they didn’t. They report being forcibly kept in detention for over two hours and were eventually released due to the intervention of persons contacted by the social activists.

According to the victim and the activists, Mr. Rupendra Mohan Das, Sharmista’s father-in-law, is an advocate and an influential senior member of the District Bar Association, Silchar, with strong connections with the local politicians. They believe this to be the reason that no advocate of the District Bar is willing to represent Sharmista in a trial against her in-laws. Members of BHRPC have also spoken with some advocates who, requesting anonymity, said that they are under severe pressure not to accept the brief against Das or any member of his family.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

The demanding of bribes from complainants by police officers, sometimes by force or by threat, is frequently documented in India. Nevertheless, only a small percentage of such allegations are investigated, and when they are it is relatively rare for few sanctions to be effectively taken against perpetrators.

Also, according to the BHRPC, Officer Narayan Tamuli himself has been accused, along with two other police officers, of having tortured to death Motahir Ali (of Bhatgram Village under Katigorah Police Station) in Cachar, Assam on 21 September 2007. A departmental enquiry was conducted into the incident and the accused were placed under suspension, but then reinstated. This is despite a magisterial enquiry that concluded that: ‘the police of Kalain Out Post was pro-active on the brutalities inflicted on Motahir Ali simply for the reason that the deceased family could not afford payment of gratification beyond the reach of the poorest family.’

A case was also registered in the Assam Human Rights Commission regarding this incident, yet the accused have not been prosecuted, nor the victim’s family paid any kind of compensation or reparation.
That a police officer with such strong accusations against him was able to remain in full service reveals much about the extent of the impunity in the area. Please see our previous statement for a more detailed analysis of this gap between the extent of corruption in the police system and the limited number of cases effectively investigated.

As this case clearly shows, police officers continue to be encouraged by the lack of any negative consequence if caught violating the rights of civilians. It leaves those without money or influential connections extremely vulnerable, with their access to the justice system blocked.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Although criminalized by the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, the persistent practice of dowry payment remains emblematic of women’s inferior status in India, and is often a cause of extreme forms of gender-based violence. When this sum of money (given by the bride’s family to the groom’s family at the time of the wedding) is considered insufficient, the bride is often mentally and physically harassed by her in-laws. Too often this harassment can extend to the attempted burning murder of the woman. Indian Government statistics show that 8172 cases of so-called ‘dowry deaths’ were reported in 2008 among 81,344 cases of ‘cruelty by husband and relatives’.

It is extremely difficult for the victims of those prosecutions to find support in society, and to find access to effective remedies. The patriarchal structure and the dominating values of Indian society continue to protect and encourage gender-based violence and dowry harassment, and the functioning of the criminal justice system usually reflects the values and customs of a country. According to government statistics, in 2008 the conviction rate in the cases of dowry deaths was only 33% and 22% in the cases of ‘cruelty by husband and relatives’.

The social stigma against women who try to escape such persecutions also impacts on their ability to find redress in India’s corrupted criminal justice system, which tends to work only in favour of its most powerful social elements. The AHRC has reported numerous cases of dowry deaths in which the police simply refused to file the case, or later neglected the investigation because the husband belonged to a rich and influential family, or used the case to extract bribes from the victims and/or the accused. Please see our appeals: Failure of police investigation into alleged dowry death of a womanA failing criminal justice system betrays the poor in India, especially the women and Alleged police inaction into dowry death of a woman for examples of such cases.

To support this appeal please click here: 

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please join us in expressing your concern, and in asking for the thorough investigation of this case of corruption and domestic violence.

Please be informed that the AHRC will write a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.

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SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

Dear ,

INDIA: Police extort money from a victim of domestic violence in Assam

Name of victim: Sharmista Das, resident of Narsing Road, Shibam Apartment Ground, Ambicapatty, Silchar, Cachar, Assam
Names of the perpetrators of domestic violence:
1. Mr. Rananjay Das alias Rupam Das, resident of Sri Sumit Endow, Moulavi Road, Ambicapatty; the victim’s husband
2. Sri Rupendra Mohan Das alias Ratul Das, the victim’s father-in-law
3. Mitra Das, the victim’s mother-in-law
4. Joydeep Roy Choudhury, the husband of the victim’s sister-in-law
Names of the police officers involved:
1. Mr. S K Chauhan, Officer-in Charge (OC)
2. Mr. Narayan Tamuli, Sub Inspector (SI) of Police
3. A female constable, name unknown.
All staff of of Silchar Sadar Police Station

Date of incident: Between 3 November, 2009 and 2 March 2010
Place of incident: Silchar Sadar Police Station, Cachar District, Assam

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the case of Sharmista Das, a victim of domestic violence who was harassed by police officers who failed to investigate her case properly.

According to the information I have received from the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Sharmista Das and Mr. Rananjay Das got married in 2003. Considering the dowry she brought for her wedding as insufficient, the victim’s husband and his family started to physically and mentally abuse the young woman. The victim reports having frequently been subjected to ‘severe physical assault’. The victim’s husband left her and her two daughters on September 3, 2009.I am further informed that on September 15, 2009 Sharmista’s in-laws reportedly drove her away from her home, forcing her to abandon most of her possessions and wedding gifts, including jewellery, clothing, utensils, furniture, furnishings etc. Sharmista then took shelter at her mother’s house with her two daughters.

I am told that on November 3, 2009, she registered a First Information Report at the Silchar police station (Case No. 2126/2009 under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 yet police officers not only showed unwillingness to investigate the case properly, but extracted money illegally from the victim. First, the Officer in Charge of the police station, Mr. S K Chauhan, forced the victim’s mother, Sima Dutta, to give him Rs. 5000.00 before accepting to investigate the case and asked for additional Rs 1,200 on 12 November, which I am told she gave out of fear. I am moreover informed that a lady constable asked for Rs 900 to keep one of the accused for a night in detention.

Following the filing of the FIR, the police arrested three of the suspects: Sharmista’ father-in-law, her mother-in-law and the husband of her sister-in-law but they failed to arrest the main accused, her husband. According to Sharmista, the police did not carry the investigation properly actually neither did they try to arrest her husband. Nevertheless, in an attempt to justify their inaction, the police told the court that they could not arrest Mr. Rananjay Das and that he was avoiding the process of law.

Despite the filing of a charge sheet against the four accused on November 9, no prosecutions have taken place against them yet. According to the victim and local social activists, the victim’s father-in-law is an influential member of the District Bar Association, and the local lawyers have been under pressure not to represent Sharmista in a case against her in-laws.

I am aware that on March 10, 2010, Sharmista tried to recover the belongings she had to leave at her matrimonial house by filing another FIR in the same police station (Case No. 509/10). She also applied for a search warrant of Rupendra Mohan Das’ and Joydeep Roy Choudhury’s houses at the District Court magistrate on the same day. (Case No. 155 M/2010)

I am appalled to learn that the police officer who was made the investigating officer of the case, and entrusted with the execution of the search warrant, Sub-Inspector Narayan Tamuli, has been accused of having tortured to death a young man, Motahir Ali, in order to extract bribes from him. Although different inquiries were launched in the case and found him guilty, no sanctions were taken against this officer.

When Sharmista and Mrs. Mithu Sen, a social activist, visited the police station on 17 March 2010 to enquire about the progress of the case, they report that OIC Chauhan and SI Tamuli intimidated them into paying respectively Rs. 3,000 (USD 64) and Rs. 20,000 (USD 424) as bribes.

Furthermore, when Sharmista accompanied Narayan Tamuli to visit the house of her father-in-law, the inspector did not recover the items listed in the search warrant but reportedly took several miscellaneous items in his possession instead. It is further alleged that he did not visit the other address mentioned in the search warrant.

And worryingly, when, on March 20, Sharmista returned to the police station, accompanied by two social activists Mithu Sen and Aleya Islam Laskar, S. I. Tamuli reportedly forcibly kept them in detention for over two hours and threatened them, in order to get them to give him Rs. 50,000 as a bribe.
I consider Sharmista’s case to be a clear illustration of the damage done when a police officer is allowed to keep his position of power, despite strong accusations of corruption being taken against him or her.

It further highlights the advantage experienced by the wealthy and influential in distorted, corrupted policing system. Women victims of gender-based violence are often the most vulnerable, since they must defend their case while facing extreme social and systematic stigma; in most cases they do so in isolation and without resources.

Given the seriousness of the situation, I therefore urge the government of India to promptly ask for an impartial investigation – conducted by a police officer who do not belong to the same police station – into these allegations of corruption and intimidation, during which the officers involved should be removed from duty. If enough evidence is gathered, Mr. S K Chauhan and Mr. Narayan Tamuli must be prosecuted. In the meantime other police officers must be appointed to conduct the investigations into the cases filed by Sharmista, and execute the search warrants.

I also urge the authorities to provide Sharmista with the services of a lawyer of her choice, and to probe the allegations of pressure exerted by Ratul Das on the local lawyers. Adequate measures must be taken to guarantee the protection of Sharmista, her mother, other witnesses and her lawyers. The victim is entitled to compensation for the prejudices undergone; please ensure that these are swiftly processed.

I look forward to your intervention in this case,

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. Ms. Krishna Tirath
Minister of State
Ministry of Women and Child Development
6th Floor, ‘A’ Wing
Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi – 110001
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 23381495
Email: secy.wcd@nic.in

3. 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)

URL of the Appeal: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2010/3466/

URL of the automatic system to send the appeal: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-075-2010

BHRPC Fact-finding Report on Army Atrocity in Mohanpur, Hailakandi

May 27, 2010

Vandalism by Soldiers in Assam Causing Grievous Hurts and Miscarriage

Report in the Portable Document Format (pdf)

In another atrocious incident in Assam soldiers of the Indian army illegally raided several houses in a village, indiscriminately beaten up many people including bed-ridden aged persons, expectant mother causing miscarriage, children and disabled persons causing grievous injuries to them in the district of Hailakandi on 23 May, 2010. They molested young girls and attempted to rape them. They also reportedly robbed a family of all their cash and other valuables. There are strong fears among the villagers that the incident may be repeated and worse. Extrajudicial killings by state agents are common in this part of India, and impunity remains a severe problem.

BHRPC received information that at about 3.30 am on 23 May, 2010 a group of 16/17 soldiers belonging to the artillery 11 field regiment from their base at Arunachal, Silchar knocked at the door of Mr Nurul Hoque Barbhuiya (better known to the local people as Samoi Panchayat), former president of Mohanpur Gaon Panchayat (GP, elected village level local government body, village counterpart of municipality) and husband of the present president, aged about 42, of village Mohanpur under the jurisdiction of Algapur police station in the district of Hailakandi in Assam. Mohanpur is a village situated at a distance of about 15 kilometres to the northward from Hailakandi town.

Having received information a team from BHRPC visited the village and talked with victims, their relatives, doctors treating them and other villagers and collected evidence from them. BHRPC also talked with police officers including the officer in charge of Algapur police station. The information received reveal that the soldiers were in uniform and their faces were covered with black clothes. They were not accompanied by a police officer or any other representative of the civil administration.

When the present GP president Mrs Hawatun Nesa, wife of Nurul Hoque Barbhuiya, aged about 30 years, opened the door the soldiers entered the house and asked for Samoi Panchayat, her husband. She told them that he did not return home last night from the house of a relative in another village where he went the day before. They started searching for him in all the rooms and asked the inmates to get up from bed. They wrung the throat of 82 year old bed-ridden father of Samoi Panchayat Mr Mashur Ali Barbhuiya because he could not immediately drag his body from the bed, which normally he hardly can do without help. They also beat up 65 year old mother of Samoi Panchayat Mrs. Fulerun Nesa accusing her of hiding her son. The soldiers then started breaking and destroying household goods such as furniture including chairs, tables, beds, drawers, wardrobes etc. and utensils.

Mrs Hawatun Nesa Barbhuiya stated that when in the morning at approximately 7.30 am people from the locality tried to see what is going on the soldiers opened fired. They fired in the air three times at which the whole village got terrified. She was not allowed to feed her five children and ailing elders till the soldiers left her house at about 2.30 pm in the evening. When she tried they abused her and threatened her by pointing gun at her ear and they forced her to serve them tea and snakes several times.

Her daughters Farhat Parvin Kawsar Barbhuiya aged about 9, Rahat Parvin Kawsar Barbhuiya aged 7, and sons Fuzail Ahmed Barbhuiya aged about 6, Suhail Ahmed Barbhuiya aged about 5 and Mikail Ahmed Barbhuiya aged 3 were badly traumatised. BHRPC members observed that the children developed some syndrome of trauma such as they could not sleep well in the night due to several interruptions by nightmares, they even experience hallucinations that armed men are trying to kidnap them in waking hours, they shudder and break down into weeping even at indirect mentions of the incidents.

In the mean time, some of the soldiers went to the adjacent house belonging to Mr Moinul Hoque Barbhuiya and purportedly searched for Samoi Panchayat. Mrs Rejwana Parvin Barbhuiya aged about 24, the older daughter of Moinul Hoque who is married and came for a few days to her father’s house, stated that two soldiers seriously misbehaved with her younger sisters namely Sabina Yasmin Barbhuiay aged about 14, a student of class VIII, and Shahnaj Yasmin Barbhuiya aged about 17 and studying in class XI. The soldiers repeatedly proposed them for sex and elopement in front of all family members and other soldiers. They grabbed their hands and engaged in scuffling with them. They also told the girls that they are soldiers with big guns and they can do anything with them. The soldiers threatened that if they would not comply they would be abducted and raped. They took the photos of the girls in their mobile sets. Rejwana told that she managed to protect the girls somehow from the worst. But they also got traumatised.

Mrs Hawatun Nesa also stated that the soldiers took away items of apparel, cosmetics, utensils and jewellery etc. bought to be given as wedding gift to Shahnaj at her marriage fixed to be solemnised on 26 May, 2010 worth approximately Rs. 70, 000.00 (seventy thousand) and Rs. 20, 000.00 (twenty thousand) cash. She also stated that the soldiers took signatures of Rejwana and herself in a paper written something on it which they did not allow her to read and they used her official stamp in the paper. They did it at gun point. The soldiers took away some official documents and papers belonging to the GP office. They also took away two mobile phones with SIMs with the numbers +919854621923 and +919435582945 used by Mr. Nazim Uddin, brother of Hawatun Nesa, and Hawatun Nesa respectively. However, the mobile used by her brother was returned to Hawatun Nesa on 25 May, 2010. She filed a complaint to the officer in charge (OC) of Algapur Police Station (PS) but police did not register a First Information Report (FIR).

Some other soldiers were also on rampage at the same time in other parts of the village. At about 5 am they raided the house of Mr. Mujammil Ali Barbhuiya, aged about 35, son of late Namor Ali Barbhuiya of Mohanpur part VI, half a kilometre away from the house of Samoi Panchayat. Mujammil Ali lives by farming his lands and at that time he was preparing to go to his farming field for work. Soldiers stopped him and asked whether he knows the whereabouts of Samoi Panchayat. But at his expression of ignorance they started beating him with the butts of gun and bamboo sticks. When he fell to the ground they kicked him incessantly. His clothes were torn into pieces. When his wife Mrs Rushna Begum Barbhuiya tried to rescue him they also beat her up.

They left severely injured Mujammil Ali when they saw another old man Mr. Abdul Jalil Laskar, aged about 65, in the street, who was going to the nearby mosque to participate in the morning prayer. They grabbed him and without much ado started administering severe blows of gun butts and bamboo sticks on the fragile body of the old man. When people tried to intervene they were also beaten up. Mrs. Latiful Begum Barbhuiya, a woman aged 35, Sharmina Begum, a girl aged 12 and a mentally retarded boy Imran Hussain aged about 14 were also badly beaten up. An expectant mother of about 9 months of gestation Mrs. Suretun Nesa (aged about 30, wife of Altaf Hussain Barbhuiya) was not spared. The soldiers kicked her in the abdomen and as a result she suffered miscarriage on 25 May, 2010 at the Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Silchar.

Another group of soldiers at about 6 am went to a nearby house belonging to Amit Das (known also as Sona Das, aged about 35, son of late Umesh Das). They also asked him about Samoi Pachayat and when he told them that he did not know where he is, they started beating him. He sustained injuries on his legs and is under treatment in the Community Health Centre, Mohanpur. It is also reported that soldiers even tried to prevent the wounded and injured from going to hospital.

The villagers are as much terror struck as surprised by the incidents. They are at a loss to explain the incidents. As there is no complaint against Samoi Panchayat with the police or any other authorities. He is a peace loving public spirited person. According to the persons BHRPC team spoke with, Samoi Panchayat is a very respectable person in the village. People love and trust him. He was elected as the GP president for two consecutive terms and when in the last election the seat fell under the quota for women his wife got elected with a huge margin. Some villagers requesting anonymity told that they saw political conspiracy behind the incidents. Neither Samoi Panchayat nor his wife is a member of a political party. They are independent politicians. They also don’t divide funds for rural development schemes that are implemented by the Panchayat among politicians and officials as is the practice in many other GPs. These villagers think that some of the politicians, most probably, belonging to ruling congress party might want to teach Samoi Panchayat a lesson and for this purpose they are using the army.

There are fears among the villagers for the safety of Samoi Panchayat and two girl children Sabina and Shahnaj. BHRPC is also very concerned for their safety and physical and psychological integrity of all victims and other villagers.

It is obvious that the actions of the soldiers don’t come within the rules of any civilised society. They not only violated human rights of the villagers but also violated the law of the land and committed serious crimes of house trespass, robbery, grievous hurt, causing miscarriage, attempted rape, molestation, assault, criminal intimidation and so on with intent to terrorise the people for political purpose like members of a terrorist group.

Report prepared by

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

For BHRPC

On 26 May, 2010-05-26

At Guwahati, Assam

Brief Summery of the BHRPC Report on Sharmista Case

May 25, 2010

Brief Summery of

The BHRPC Fact-finding Report

on Incidents of Extortion and Harassment of a Victim of Domestic Violence by Police in Silchar

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

Report in Portabel Document Format (pdf)

Assam police in India extorted a victim of domestic violence and harassed her mother and other two social activists for bribes. Instead of investigating the complaints filed by the victim police in the Silchar Sadar Police Station (PS) in the district of Cachar, Assam, threatened and harassed them while shielding the accused.

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) received information that the Officer-in Charge (OC) of the Silchar Police Station Mr. S K Chauhan and Sub Inspector (SI) of police Mr. Narayan Tamuli forced Sharmista Das, daughter of Late Rishikesh Dutta, resident of Narsing Road, Shibam Apartment Ground, Ambicapatty, Silchar, Cachar, Assam, and her mother Sima Dutta to pay them Indian rupees 30,100.00 (thirty thousand and one hundred) and attempted to get another Rs. 50,000.00 (fifty thousand) by virtual detention and threat of dire consequences between 3 November, 2009 and 2 March, 2010.

Sharmista Das was married to Mr. Rananjay Das alias Rupam Das, S/o Sri Rupendra Mohan Das alias Ratul Das, resident of Sri Sumit Endow, Moulavi Road, Ambicapatty, under Silchar police station in Cachar, on 22 January, 2003 under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. According to her, her husband and in-laws were not satisfied with her as she did not brought ‘enough’ dowry to her matrimonial house. They started demanding huge amount of money from her which she was unable to meet. Consequently they started abusing and ill-treating her. They even frequently subjected her to severe physical assault, she alleged. In the meantime she was blessed with two daughters. Ultimately her husband left her alone with the kids on 3 September, 2009. Since then there was no communication from his side. But Sharmista and her mother claimed that they had information that he married another girl and he was staying with her in Shillong, Meghalaya.

She stated that after her husband had disappeared the in-laws started demanding dowry and ill treating her afresh. At last they drove her away from her matrimonial house on 15 November, 2009 forcibly robbing her of all jewellery and other necessary items. She took shelter at her mother’s house with her two daughters.

She eventually on 3 November, 2009 filed a complaint against her husband and in-laws hoping for justice for wrongs done to her. On the basis of the complaint a First Information Report (FIR) was registered in the Silchar police station vide Silchar PS Case No. 2126/2009 dated 3 November, 2009 under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). Instead of investigating the case, Mr. S K Chauhan, the OC of the PS, started demanding bribes. At first Mrs. Sima Dutta was forced to pay him Rs. 5000.00 (five thousand) that day otherwise the OC refused to investigate the case. The OC then arrested all the accused except the prime accused Mr. Rananjay Das. Mrs. Dutta had to pay another sum of Rs. 900.00 (nine hundred) to a lady constable. They revealed that the constable demanded the payment as remuneration for guarding the lady accused Mitra Das for the night. Showing the main accused Mr. Rananjay Das as an absconder the police filed charge sheet in the court on 9 November, 2009. Sharmista claimed that the police did not investigated the case properly and did not exercised due diligence and wilfully neglected the arrest of accused No. 1. The OC also took another sum of Rs. 1,200.00 from Mrs Dutta on 12 November, 2009 which she paid for fear of attracting wrath of the OC, she claimed.

Sharmista stated that when she was driven away from her matrimonial house she left there hundreds of items that she received as her wedding gifts. These were the items of jewellery, apparels, utensils, furniture, furnishings etc. She filed a complaint on 10 March, 2010 to recover these things. The case was registered as Silchar PS Case No. 509/10 under sections 379 and 406, IPC. She also filed another application in the court district magistrate for a search warrant under section 94 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) vide Case No. 155 M/2010. SI Narayan Tamuli was made the Investigating Officer (IO) of the police case and he was also entrusted with the execution of the search warrant. Sharmista and Mrs Mithu Sen, a social activist, visited the police station on 17 March, 2010 to enquire about the investigation of the case and the execution of the search warrant. They paid Rs. 3000.00 (three thousand) and Rs. 20,000.00 (twenty thousand) to Mr. S K Chauhan and Nrayan Tamuli respectively under threat.

Sharmista alleged that S. I. Narayan Tamuli visited the house of Shri Rupendra Mohan Das at Moulavi Road, Ambicapatty, Silchar accompanied by her to execute the search warrant. He did not recover the items listed in the search warrant which she had shown there. Instead, he bullied her and took a few insignificant items as the accused were pleased to allow him. He never visited the other address mentioned in the search warrant.

So, she along with Mithu Sen and Aleya Islam Laskar, another social activist, visited the police station at 12 noon on 20 March, 2010 to know about the progress of the investigation relating to her complaints, S. I. Narayan Tamuli demanded Rs. 50,000.00 (fifty thousand) from them. They stated that Mr. S. K. Chauhan abused and threatened them with dire consequences and forcibly kept them in detention for over two hours in order to force them to pay the amount demanded by Mr. Tamuli. They could come out from the police station because the activists had connections.

Corruption of this magnitude and brutality with impunity is easily understandable for a person who knows that Mr. Narayan Tamuli himself is accused No. 1 in a case of murder for bribes. It is Katigorah P S Case No. 484/07 under sections 302 and 34 of the IPC where SI Narayan Tamuli, ASI Promod Nath and Constable Ramzan Hussain Choudhury were charged with causing death by torture of Motahir Ali of village Bhatgram under Katigorah police station in Cachar, Assam on 21 September, 2007. A departmental enquiry was conducted into the incident by R C Tayal, IPS, Inspector General of Police on 22 September, 2007. The accused were placed under suspension on 11 March, 2008 vide D. O. No. 703 dated 21 March, 2008 and then reinstated. A magisterial enquiry was also conducted vide No. MISC. CASE.1/2007/28 dated 9 April, 2008. This enquiry unequivocally concluded that ‘the police of Kalain Out Post was pro-active on the brutalities inflicted on Late Motahir Ali simply for the reason that the deceased family could not afford payment of gratification beyond the reach of the poorest family.’ A case was also registered in the Assam Human Rights Commission regarding this incident vide AHRC Case No. 6404/2007. But till date neither the accused were prosecuted nor the family of the deceased was adequate compensation or any other type of reparation. That much paper work was made possible by the support of the people to the efforts of BHRPC.

In the present case, it is also notable that Mr. Rupendra Mohan Das, the father-in-law of Sharmista is an advocate and a very influential senior member of the District Bar Association, Silchar, Assam. He is also well connected with the big politicians of Barak valley, the southern part of Assam. Sharmista, her mother and the two social activists stated that no advocate of the District Bar is willing to represent Sharmista. Members of BHRPC also talked with some advocates who, requesting anonymity, told that they are under severe pressure not to take brief against Rupendra Mohan das or any member of his family. They did not want to risk their life and career.

Neharul Ahmed Mazumder

Secretary General

BHRPC

Brief Summery of The BHRPC Fact-finding Report on Kalam Uddin of Jirighat

May 25, 2010

Brief Summary of

The BHRPC Fact-finding Report

on Torture of Kalam Uddin of Jirighat and His Family by Army in Assam

BHRPC Ref. No. ……………. Date………………….

Report in Portabel Document Format (pdf)

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) has received information that on 13 April, 2010 about 20 armed men belonging to 11 Field Regiment camping at Labok in the jurisdiction of Lakhipur Police Station (PS) in the district of Cachar in Assam (India) abducted Kalam Uddin Choudhury alias Kala, a daily wage labourer aged about 22 years, son of Dolu Mia Choudhury of village Makhon Nagar under the Jirighat Police Station in the same district. They tortured and kept him in incommunicado detention for about 24 hours. During the raid at the dead of night, the armed forces allegedly beaten up and humiliated all the inmates of the house, vandalised household goods and forcibly taken away 2 mobile phone handsets and other valuables with them. When on 14 April, 2010 the villagers, with the help of Yasin Ali, Officer in Charge (OC) of Jirighat Police station, found him out in the said Labok camp, the army lodged a First Information Report vide Jirighat P. S. Case No. 12 of 2010 under section 120B and 384 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) accusing Kala of hatching criminal conspiracy and extortion.

BHRPC members visited Makhon Nagar and talked with the family members of the victim, villagers and other persons related to the incident. From the information thus gathered it becomes clear that Dolu Mia Choudhury is a respectable person in his village, although the family is very poor. He held the post of Secretary for many years in the Village Defence Party (VDP), a village level committee which is formed by, and functions under the supervision of, the local police station. His son Kala works as a daily wage labourer having some skills in masonry. In November, 2008 Niam Uddinof village Hatirhar, Lakhipur Police Station (Cachar), who constructs small buildings in Imphal, Manipur under contract, hired Kala and took him to Imphal where the later worked for about four months as was employed by his hirer. But all of a sudden Niam Uddin disappeared one day without paying Kala anything and for many days Kala could not trace him. Kala returned home in January, 2010

After returning home Kala tried working at nearby places. On 9 April, 2010 Kala suddenly saw Niam Uddin at Jiribam, a town in Manipur bordering Assam adjacent to Jirighat, and demanded his money, which according to him was Rs. 26, 000. 00 (twenty six thousand). An altercation ensued between them. According to Dolu Mia Choudhury, Niam Uddin told his son that if he would keep demanding money he would be taught a very bitter lesson which he would not be able to forget in his life.

And then….. Dolu Mia Choudhury stated that at midnight on 13 April when all were sleeping he heard someone heavily knocking at his door. The knockers were claiming to be police and demanding the door to be opened immediately, which he obeyed. They told him that they were from army and they needed to search his house. When he enquired about search warrant and asked why they came alone without being accompanied by police officers from local police station, or the president of Gaon Panchayat (elected village level local government body, village counterpart of municipality), or the secretary of the VDP, they told him to keep quiet and started beating and kicking him. They tied him with a pillar in the veranda tying his hands at his back. They also entered a handkerchief into his mouth. At the sound of scuffle and his muzzled shriek others sleeping in his house woken up and tried to rescue him. Everybody including his aged and sick wife, daughters, sons and daughters-in-law ended up being beaten, kicked and tied. And then the brave soldiers of Indian army entered the house and vandalised everything they could find. They took two mobile handsets and some other valuables.

At the hue and cry people living nearby got awaken and started to rush to the spot. But there were army personnel at various points in the village road who stopped the people and sent them back forcibly by beating and abusing them. Present VDP Secretary Abdul Hoque Choudhury and some other members of the VDP such as Ajir Uddin, Nasir Uddin, Minhaj Uddin stated that they took their identity cards and badges provided by the police and ran towards the origin of the clamour and they also were stopped, their cards and badges were snatched away and they were also subjected to heavy beatings. But in other ways that were unknown to the army they could manage to reach the spot and they witnessed the subsequent events.

The witnesses stated that when they reach the spot they saw the army personnel asking Dolu Mia to produce ‘the gun’ according to them which he illegally possessed. Dolu Mia told them that he did not have any gun at which he received another round of beatings and kicking. The army personnel again searched the house, but in vain. Then one of the personnel called someone by the name of Monir Uddin and asked him to indentify the person who they wanted to pick up. Monir Uddin showed Kala and told them he is the person. They took him away with them without telling his family members and gathered villagers any reasons for such actions. The army also took signatures of Dolu Mia in three blank papers.

A group of villagers led by the VDP Secretary Abdul Hoque Choudhury went to Jirighat police station and woke up the Officer in Charge Yasin Ali. They narrated the whole story before him. The OC made a few phone calls and then told them that he could do nothing in the night. He asked them to come the next day early morning. The police officer with a few constables along with the villagers started searching for the boy. They searched each and every army camp within the jurisdiction of Jirighat police station. But the boy was found nowhere. The OC told them that without gathering information it is no use to continue search in this way.

On 14 April the boy was indeed found in the Labok Army camp, which is under the jurisdiction of Lakhipur police station. His condition was very bad. He was losing and gaining his consciousness. The Jirighat police took him into custody and then sent him to Jirighat New Primary Health Centre. He was examined by Dr. D Das, medical officer there.

A few hours later N. K. Subeder, N. Shri Varman from 11 Field Regiment came to the police station and produced a letter bearing letter head of People’s United Liberation Front (PULF) allegedly written by Kala demanding money from someone. Kala vehemently denied it. He stated the police that the army made him to sign the paper at gun point. Other people present there from his village including Abdul Hoque Choudhury told the police that they knew Kala well and he is a very peaceful boy, who never even mildly assaulted any person. They told that they believed army is trying to frame him. Nevertheless, the police registered a case against Kala under section 120B and 384 of IPC as Jirighat P. S. Case No. 12 of 2010. He was produced before the Magistrate on 15 April and sent to the judicial custody.

BHRPC also tried to gather information about the person whom the raiding army personnel asked to identify the intended person. It came out that Monir Uddin of Ujan Tarapur under Lakhipur police station is a person known as “army informer” and has a reputation of framing people in exchange of a few thousand bucks. According to the local people, if any body has any enmity or grudge against anybody they can teach the intended person a lesson paying Monir Uddin a few thousand rupees. In turn Monir Uddin gives a feast to his friends in the army or maybe some money also and they will take the intended actions, claimed the local people.

Monir Uddin has also some serious criminal cases against him. In many of these cases he was accused of robbery, kidnap, murder, rape etc. A few days back he was arrested by Silchar police station but sometimes later he was also released mysteriously.

BHRPC thinks that there are reasons to believe that Niam Uddin (of Hatirhar) contracted Monir Uddin for a few thousand to teach Kala the lesson he promised when the later demanded his money. Monir Uddin activated his friends in the army and they done their job.

The army for a feast or a few thousand Indian currencies acted like organized criminals flouting the Indian laws regarding search, seizure and arrest. They indulged in severe torture, incommunicado detention and other forms of gross violation of human rights guaranteed in the constitution of India and enshrined in the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights of 1966 to which India is a party

Neharul Ahmed Mazumder

Secretary General


.

A Case of Human Rights Violations Involving Extortion and Harassment of a Victim of Domestic Violence by Police

May 14, 2010

A Case of Human Rights Violations Involving Extortion and Harassment of a Victim of Domestic Violence by Police

Get the Document in pdf Version

Assam police in India extorted a victim of domestic violence and harassed her mother and other two social activists for bribes. Instead of investigating the complaints filed by the victim police in the Silchar Sadar Police Station (PS) in the district of Cachar, Assam, threatened and harassed them while shielding the accused.

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) received information that the Officer-in Charge (OC) of the Silchar Police Station Mr. S K Chauhan and Sub Inspector (SI) of police Mr. Narayan Tamuli forced Sharmista Das, daughter of Late Rishikesh Dutta, resident of Narsing Road, Shibam Apartment Ground, Ambicapatty, Silchar, Cachar, Assam, and her mother Sima Dutta to pay them Indian rupees 30,100.00 (thirty thousand and one hundred) and attempted to get another Rs. 50,000.00 (fifty thousand) by virtual detention and threat of dire consequences between 3 November, 2009 and 20 March, 2010.

Sharmista Das was married to Mr. Rananjay Das alias Rupam Das, S/o Sri Rupendra Mohan Das alias Ratul Das, resident of Sri Sumit Endow, Moulavi Road, Ambicapatty, under Silchar police station in Cachar, on 22 January, 2003 under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. According to her, her husband and in-laws were not satisfied with her as she did not brought ‘enough’ dowry to her matrimonial house. They started demanding huge amount of money from her which she was unable to meet. Consequently they started abusing and ill-treating her. They even frequently subjected her to severe physical assault, she alleged. In the meantime she was blessed with two daughters. Ultimately her husband left her alone with the kids on 3 September, 2009. Since then there was no communication from his side. But Sharmista and her mother claimed that they had information that he married another girl and he was staying with her in Shillong, Meghalaya.

She stated that after her husband had disappeared the in-laws started demanding dowry and ill treating her afresh. At last they drove her away from her matrimonial house on 15 September, 2009 forcibly robbing her of all jewellery and other necessary items. She took shelter at her mother’s house with her two daughters.

She eventually on 3 November, 2009 filed a complaint against her husband and in-laws hoping for justice for wrongs done to her. On the basis of the complaint a First Information Report (FIR) was registered in the Silchar police station vide Silchar PS Case No. 2126/2009 dated 3 November, 2009 under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). Instead of investigating the case, Mr. S K Chauhan, the OC of the PS, started demanding bribes. At first Mrs. Sima Dutta was forced to pay him Rs. 5000.00 (five thousand) that day otherwise the OC refused to investigate the case. The OC then arrested all the accused except the prime accused Mr. Rananjay Das. Mrs. Dutta had to pay another sum of Rs. 900.00 (nine hundred) to a lady constable. They revealed that the constable demanded the payment as remuneration for guarding the lady accused Mitra Das for the night. Showing the main accused Mr. Rananjay Das as an absconder the police filed charge sheet in the court on 9 November, 2009. Sharmista claimed that the police did not investigated the case properly and did not exercised due diligence and wilfully neglected the arrest of accused No. 1. The OC also took another sum of Rs. 1,200.00 from Mrs Dutta on 12 November, 2009 which she paid for fear of attracting wrath of the OC, she claimed.

Sharmista stated that when she was driven away from her matrimonial house she left there hundreds of items that she received as her wedding gifts. These were the items of jewellery, apparels, utensils, furniture, furnishings etc. She filed a complaint on 10 March, 2010 to recover these things. The case was registered as Silchar PS Case No. 509/10 under sections 379 and 406, IPC. She also filed another application in the court district magistrate for a search warrant under section 94 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) vide Case No. 155 M/2010. SI Narayan Tamuli was made the Investigating Officer (IO) of the police case and he was also entrusted with the execution of the search warrant. Sharmista and Mrs Mithu Sen, a social activist, visited the police station on 17 March, 2010 to enquire about the investigation of the case and the execution of the search warrant. They paid Rs. 3000.00 (three thousand) and Rs. 20,000.00 (twenty thousand) to Mr. S K Chauhan and Nrayan Tamuli respectively under threat.

Sharmista alleged that S. I. Narayan Tamuli visited the house of Shri Rupendra Mohan Das at Moulavi Road, Ambicapatty, Silchar accompanied by her to execute the search warrant. He did not recover the items listed in the search warrant which she had shown there. Instead, he bullied her and took a few insignificant items as the accused were pleased to allow him. He never visited the other address mentioned in the search warrant.

So, she along with Mithu Sen and Aleya Islam Laskar, another social activist, visited the police station at 12 noon on 20 March, 2010 to know about the progress of the investigation relating to her complaints, S. I. Narayan Tamuli demanded Rs. 50,000.00 (fifty thousand) from them. They stated that Mr. S. K. Chauhan abused and threatened them with dire consequences and forcibly kept them in detention for over two hours in order to force them to pay the amount demanded by Mr. Tamuli. They could come out from the police station because the activists had connections.

Corruption of this magnitude and brutality with impunity is easily understandable for a person who knows that Mr. Narayan Tamuli himself is accused No. 1 in a case of murder for bribes. It is Katigorah P S Case No. 484/07 under sections 302 and 34 of the IPC where SI Narayan Tamuli, ASI Promod Nath and Constable Ramzan Hussain Choudhury were charged with causing death by torture of Motahir Ali of village Bhatgram under Katigorah police station in Cachar, Assam on 21 September, 2007. A departmental enquiry was conducted into the incident by R C Tayal, IPS, Inspector General of Police on 22 September, 2007. The accused were placed under suspension on 11 March, 2008 vide D. O. No. 703 dated 21 March, 2008 and then reinstated. A magisterial enquiry was also conducted vide No. MISC. CASE.1/2007/28 dated 9 April, 2008. This enquiry unequivocally concluded that ‘the police of Kalain Out Post was pro-active on the brutalities inflicted on Late Motahir Ali simply for the reason that the deceased family could not afford payment of gratification beyond the reach of the poorest family.’ A case was also registered in the Assam Human Rights Commission regarding this incident vide AHRC Case No. 6404/2007. But till date neither the accused were prosecuted nor the family of the deceased was adequate compensation or any other type of reparation. That much paper work was made possible by the support of the people to the efforts of BHRPC.

In the present case, it is also notable that Mr. Rupendra Mohan Das, the father-in-law of Sharmista is an advocate and a very influential senior member of the District Bar Association, Silchar, Assam. He is also well connected with the big politicians of Barak valley, the southern part of Assam. Sharmista, her mother and the two social activists stated that no advocate of the District Bar is willing to represent Sharmista. Members of BHRPC also talked with some advocates who, requesting anonymity, told that they are under severe pressure not to take brief against Rupendra Mohan das or any member of his family. They did not want to risk their life and career.

BHRPC once again urges the authorities to:

  1. Register a case against Mr. S K Chauhan and Mr. Narayan Tamuli under section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 for demanding and accepting bribes and sections 389, 342 and 506 of the IPC for putting Sharmista and her companions in fear of accusation of offence in order to commit extortion, for their wrongful confinement and for criminal intimidation respectively.
  2. Conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations resulting prosecution.
  3. Entrust other officers in places of Mr. Chauhan and Mr. Tamuli and particularly for investigating the cases filed by Sharmista Das and for executing the search warrant.
  4. Provide Sharmista with the services of a lawyer of her choice to represent her in her cases.
  5. Guarantee adequate security to Sharmista, her mother, other witnesses and her lawyers.
  6. Provide Sharmista and other persons subjected to harassment with adequate compensation.
Neharul Ahmed MazumderSecretary General

Date: 14 May, 2010

Place: Silchar, Assam