Posts Tagged ‘Inhuman cruel degrading treatment’

Custodial death of Ajijur Rahman and the situation that led to his death

July 19, 2012

BHRPC report on efforts of effecting communal division, riots and custodial death in the aftermath of “conversion and second marriage” of Dr Rumee Nath

An aged person named Mr Ajijur Rahman was picked up from his residence at Kalain under the Katigorah police station in the district of Cachar (Assam) by a raiding police team led by Mr Y T Gyatsu, a probationary Indian Police Service (IPS) officer posted as Additional Superintendent of Police at the Cachar police headquarters at Silchar in the night between 6 and 7 July 2012 and was tortured to death in the lock-up of Kalain police patrol post.

The police team was conducting raids to arrest some persons who were accused or suspects of creating mischief and rioting on and after 4 July in Kalain area. The law and order situation of the area deteriorated due to a call of general strike by the Hindu Jagaran Mancha in protest against alleged police harassment of youths belonging to their community who were suspected of being parts of the mob that assaulted Dr. Rumee Nath and her ‘husband’ on 29 June at Karimganj for her ‘conversion and marriage’ with the Muslim boy. The Mancha was also reportedly protesting against the protests of the supporters of Dr. Nath.

The report:

After the incident the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) formed a fact finding team comprising of 1. Mr. Neharul Ahmed Mazumder, 2. Mr Sadique Mohammed Laskar, 3. Mr Raju Barbhuiya, 4. Mr Nirmal Kumar Das, 5. Mr Aftabur Rahman Laskar, 6. Ms S Sarmila Singha and 7. Mr Abdul Wakil Choudhury to find out the factors and the situation that led to the death of Ajijur Rahman. The team visited Kalain area on 14 July and met family members and relatives of the victim, victims of rioting and their family and relatives and respectable citizens of the area including president, secretary and members of Kalain Bazaar committee Mr Sukhendu Kar, Mr Karunamoy Dey, Mr Asit Baran Deb and others. The fact finding team also visited the Kalain police patrol post and talked with the officer-in-charge Sub-Inspector of police Mr Anowar Hussain Choudhury and some constables. This report is based on the information collected by the team.

The victim:

The victim Mr Ajijur Rahman was aged about 60 years and a permanent resident of village Boroitoli Part-I, Kalain under Katigorah police station and was respected as a senior local businessman. The place, where his house situates, borders with three villages of Boroitoli, Brahmangram and Lakhipur. He was the head of his family which comprised of his 5 sons Mr Fariz Uddin (aged 42), Mr Sarif Uddin (39), Mr Selim Uddin (30), Mr Nazim Uddin (26), and Mr Mahim Uddin (20), 4 daughters Ms Anowara Begum (32), Ms Monowara Begum (aged 24 and unmarried), Ms Reena Begum  (aged 18 and unmarried), Ms Runa Begum  (aged 15 and unmarried), his wife Ms Saleha Khatun (55) his mother aged about 80 years and the children of his sons. It is a big joint family of people of three generations living together. It appeared that the family belongs to the emergent lower middle class of Bengali Muslims in Barak valley (South Assam).

 

Place:

Kalain is situated at a distance of about 40 kilometres from Silchar towards west and is a growing semi-urban area serving as a local business centre for the entire West Cachar region. The population of Bengali speaking Hinuds and Muslims are almost equal in number. Hindus have been living mostly nearby the market. Beside these two religious communities, some other people belonging to Manipuri, Bishnupria and Hindi speaking communities are also living in the outskirts. According to the local residents, people of Kalian belonging to different communities have been living harmoniously and in peace and love with each other for times immemorial. However, there were small quarrels and even fighting at times between people belonging to different communities but they were of personal nature and the religions of the parties have had nothing to with them.

Incident:

A huge police team led by Mr Y T Gyatsu raided the house of Mr Ajijur Rahman at about 12.30 in the night intervening between 6 and 7 July. They first cordoned off the house from all sides and then knocked at the doors. The inmates of the house were fast asleep. At the sound of heavy knocks Mr Ajijur Rahman got up and opened the door. A big number of police personnel including a lady constable remained outside the house and four/five of them including Mr Gyatsu went into the house. They asked for Mr Nazim Uddin who was not home at that time. In fact, no other male members of the family were present in the house since they were in hiding. The able male members of all families of the area were hiding themselves in apprehension of indiscriminate arrest and harassment by police in the wake of the rioting. As an aged person Mr Rahman did not feel the need to hide himself.

The police team made all female members to go out of the house and they conducted a search for Mr Nazim Uddin in all rooms including kitchen and bathrooms in vain. They demanded of Mr Ajijur Rahman to tell them the whereabouts of his son or they would send him in jail in place of his son. When he pleaded ignorance of whereabouts of his son Mr Gyatsu hurled a torrent of verbal abuse and started assaulting him. He demanded that Mr Rahman would have to take his son to the police patrol post before 6am. Mr Rahman told that he would not be able to do so since he did not know where his son is and latter’s mobile phone was also off. At that Mr Gyatsu started boxing his ears and the back of his head while dragging him. Member of the raiding police team constable Mr Badrul Islam Barbhuiya, Ms Reena Begum, daughter of Mr Rahman and other eye witnesses told the BHRPC team that Mr Gyatsu did not let the old man to wear even a top under garment. The old man cried and pleaded with Mr Gyatsu not to take him to the police station as he was to go to Mecca in Saudi Arabia for Haj pilgrimage. His wife and daughters also wept uncontrolably and urged the police officers to spare the old man at least for the sake of God since he did not know anything about incidents of 4 July. These beseeching of the helpless was not heeded.

Mr. Mahibur Rahman[1], a neighbour and cousin of Mr Ajijur Rahmn, told the BHRPC team that when he heard of the cries of wife and daughters of the latter he went there and saw that the police was taking him with them. He then sneaked to house of other neighbours Mr. Taj Uddin[2] and Mr. Shahid Uddin[3] and awakened them. They were to move silently since they were themselves very afraid of the police and a prohibitory order under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 was also in force. Three of them stood at the front side of a house[4] at a distance of about 20 metres from the patrol post to witness what was happening to the old man there. According to them, from that place everything was clearly visible since the doors and windows of the patrol post house were wide open and electric lights were on. They stated that they saw Mr Ajijur Rahman was seated on a red plastic chair. They inferred from the gestures of the police personnel and Mr Rahman that they were talking. Then two personnel coming from two sides kept his thighs in tight grip in a way that rendered Mr Rahman unable to move. And then another police personnel dressed like a higher officer and in his facial and physical features resembling to a tribal man came and placing his one grip at the chin and another on the head twisted the head of Mr Ajijur Rahman with tremendous force. It seemed that the body of Mr Rahman became motionless and loose and his head leaned at the side at which his head was left by the officer. This is also corroborated by Mr Taj Uddin and Mr Shahid Uddin.

According to the police personnel posted at the Kalain patrol post with whom the BHRPC team talked, there were two police officers there at the time who more or less look like tribals. One is Mr Y T Gaytsu and another is Mr L Saikia, the Deputy Superintendent of Police. It appears that the person who twisted the head of Mr Ajijur Rahman is either Mr Gyatsu or Mr Saikia.

According to the above mentioned eye witnesses, after the assault of the officer all people in the patrol post got agitated and a hullabaloo ensued. Two personnel lifted Mr Ajijur Rahman as if they were lifting a dead body and put him in a vehicle which then went away. It was at about 2am.

Mr. Mahibur Rahman further stated that a certain person named Mr AJijur Rahman Khan called him up on his cell phone and informed that a person of his name from Boroitoli was brought to the Kalain Community Health Centre and the physician in-charge of the hospital Dr Sumon Bhomik advised to take him to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital as he could not feel his pulse. Circumstances strongly indicate that Mr Ajijur Rahman  was brought dead and he died due to twisting of his head.

After that the family, relatives and neighbours of Mr Ajijur Rahman tried to find out what happened to him during the remainder of the night and in the morning some of them went to the SMCH and came to know about the death of Mr Rahman with help from local member of Assam Legislative Assembly Mr Ataur Rahman Mazarbhuiya. Autopsy of the body was conducted at the SMCH on 7 July and was handed over to the relatives of the deceased. After performing last rites Mr. Ajijur Rahman was laid to rest on the next day.

The local people were concerned that the post mortem report might not reflect the true causes of death and material facts might be suppressed since the autopsy in India is conducted in a very unscientific, legally improper and unreliable way. Usually someone engaged in manual scavenging cuts the body at the direction of a surgeon who stands at a safe distance and looks at the body from there. The surgeon does not touch the body or examine it otherwise. From that distance he makes a guess and writes down the cause of death based on the guess. In cases of custodial deaths the body remains under the custody and absolute control of the police since before the death until the autopsy report is prepared.

Observing such appalling conditions of autopsy procedure the National Human Rights Commission of India issued guidelines to the states as well as the central government calling for their immediate action to address the lack of transparency while dealing with deaths in custody. The Commission recommended video recording of the inquest as well as the post-mortem of the victim. The Commission has even recommended using a standardised ‘post-mortem examination report form’ by the forensic surgeons. These recommendations however have not been implemented in India in their letter and spirit. Sometimes the procedures may be recorded but the report is not prepared as per the recommended guidelines.

Sharing the concerns of the local people the BHRPC instantaneously on 7 July wrote a letter to the District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police and Superintendent of the SMCH enclosing the NHRC guidelines and urging them to conduct the autopsy as per the guidelines.

The DM also ordered an inquiry into the incident of death to be conducted an executive magistrate. People are of the opinion that it is nothing but an attempt to cover up the case and save the guilty officers and personnel. Executive magistrates are not independent judicial authorities. They are servants of the government and exercise quasi-judicial powers. They usually do not record evidence before the other parties and give parties opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses of the other party in violations of universally recognised rules of judicial procedure. There are reasons, therefore, to believe that their inquiry may not be objective and impartial.

The Parliament of India keeping in view of the lacunae in law regarding inquiry into the deaths in police custody incorporated a subsection (1A) in section 176 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 by section 18 (ii) of the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Act, 2005 providing for an inquiry by a judicial magistrate in addition to the inquiry or investigation held by the police. Although the BHRPC reminded the DM of this mandatory provision it was ignored.

The widow of late Ajijur Rahman filed a complaint at the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Cachar on 7 July 2012 under section 302, 506 and 34 of the IPC against Mr Y T Gyatsu and other police personnel. The complaint was sent to the Katigorah Police Station for registration and investigation. It was registered and assigned a case number vide Katigorah PS Case No. 291/12. The Officer-in-Charge of the police station entrusted a Sub-Inspector of police with the task of investigation. There are reasons to suspect the objectivity and impartiality of the investigation officer because he is working under the very persons who have been named as accused in the case.

Background:

As mentioned above, the police team that picked up Mr Ajijur Rahman was conducting raids to arrest some persons who were accused or suspects of creating mischief and rioting on and after 4 July in Kalain area. The law and order situation of the area deteriorated due to a call of general strike by the Hindu Jagaran Mancha in protest against alleged police harassment of youths belonging to their community who were suspected of being parts of the mob that assaulted and brutally beaten up Dr. Rumee Nath and her ‘husband’ on 29 June at Karimganj for her ‘conversion and marriage’ with the Muslim boy. The Mancha was also reportedly protesting against the protests of the supporters of Dr. Nath.

After the call of “bandh” (strike) on 4 July was given by the Mancha some groups in different areas of Barak valley issued a counter call to the people not to observe the bandh because, according to them, frequent strikes are harmful for the business and economy. These groups are thought to be the supporters of Dr Nath. In the morning of 4 July activists of the Mancha went to different parts of the valley to enforce the strike. One of such groups came to Kalain bazaar where they faced resistance from others who wanted the market to function normally.

The bazaar committee, a committee of shop keepers having shops at Kalain, intervened and a tripartite meeting was held among the opposers and supporters of bandh and the committee. The committee offered a compromise proposal after talk with both the parties that the shops could remain closed till 12 noon and then the shops could be opened. Though there were indications of acceptance by both the parties but it could not be finalised as some people of both the parties were adamant in their stands. The members of the committee went to their homes giving up hope of any settlement.

According to the information gathered by the BHRPC, after break down of talks when supporters of the bandh were trying to enforce it forcibly the police raised a barricade and kept most of them outside the barricade. However, they were trying to break the barricade unsuccessfully. With times the situation became very tense. At about 11.30am a mob of Muslim youths came with bamboo sticks and attacked anyone belonging to Hindu communities including shop-keepers and members of the bazaar committee. To face the attack many youths of Hindu communities also came out with sticks. A fight between the communities ensued. Stones were pelted from both sides. Some cycles and motor cycles were burnt down. About 18 people were wounded. They were 1. Mr Sunil Mandal, 2. Mr Sushil Deb, 3. Mr Sumon Deb, 4. Mr Pronit Deb, 5. Mr Sukhendu Kar, 6. Mr Jamal Uddin, 7. Mr Deepak Podder, 8. Mr Titu Baishnob, 9. Mr Buddha Deb Roy, 10. Mr Manna Deb, 11. Mr Sumit Shulkabaidhya, 12. Mr Badrul Islam Barbhuiya, 13. Mr Ranjit Deb, 14. Mr Khalil Uddin, 15, Mr Moin Uddin, 16. Mr Kamrul Haque, 17. Mr Debabrata Paul, 18. Mr Monsur Uddin and others. First six persons sustained serious injuries. Three reporters who went there to cover the situation were also caught in the fight between two communities and received injuries.

According to the local people, had the administration handled it efficiently the situation could be brought under control and the fighting and resulting injuries could have been averted. Executive magistrate Ms Khaleda Sultana Ahmed, DSP (probationary) Mr Iftikar Ali and in-charge of Kalain police patrol post Mr Anowar Hussain Choudhury were present. They failed to handle the mob frenzy. People felt they could take measures including lathi charge and tear gas fire. These measures could disperse the mob. Due to the inability of the authorities to take decisions the fighting intensified.

Towards the evening Additional District Magistrate Mr Borenya Das went to Kalain with a force of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and ordered the police to charge the mob with sticks and fire of tear gas. The mob then got dispersed. The district administration then issued a prohibitory order under section 144 of the CrPC. The situation slowly came under control.

The police registered cases against many named and unnamed suspects who were accused of involvement in fighting on 4 July and started conducting raids of the houses of the people living there to arrest the suspects. It was one of such raids during which Mr Ajijur Rahman was picked up by the police and tortured him to death.

Controversy over ‘conversion and marriage’:

Apart from the mob hysteria that drove the mobs of both communities at that moment, this communal clash resulted from efforts of communalisation of ‘conversion and second marriage’ of Dr. Rumee Nath, encouragement and provocation of youths by a minister of Assam government to take law in their hands and beat up anyone who enters into inter-religious marriage.

Dr. Nath is a Member of Legislative Assembly of Assam (MLA) elected from Borkhola constituency in Cachar district holding ticket from the Congress party. She was earlier also elected from the same constituency as a candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from which she later defected. She has been married with Mr. Rakesh Singh of Lucknow of Uttar Pradesh and from him she has a girl child who is about 2 years old. It was reported that their matrimonial relation has not been going well for some months.

In the month of April she reportedly got ‘converted into Islamic religion’ and ‘married’ one Jakir Hussain (also known as Jakey) of Badarpur under Karimganj district apparently as per Islamic rules. However, it is reported that the ‘conversion and marriage’ took place in the same sitting. Many Muslim clerics maintained that the marriage was invalid for it was solemnised before observing iddat period of three months and therefore her first marriage was subsisting. Validity of her conversion was also under question mark as it was tainted with motives that were not entirely pious. Most intellectuals of the valley also did not take her ‘conversion and second marriage’ pleasantly. According to them, her actions were immature, improper and not befitting of a public figure.

Her first husband filed a case against her and her ‘second husband’ under section 494, 497, 498 and others of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 accusing her of bigamy, (accusing her second husband of) adultery, enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman. She also filed case against her first husband alleging domestic violence.

The BHRPC maintained that right to get converted into any religion is a part of the freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion guaranteed by Article 25 of the constitution of India. Per se inter-religious and inter-caste marriages are also recognised by the Special Marriage Act, 1955 and such marriage should be encouraged as they can promote harmonious communal co-existence and secularism. However, in case of Dr. Nath the things are a little different. She was a married woman with a two years old child. Bigamy or living with another person as man and wife during the subsistence of earlier marriage prima facie amount to offence against the institution of marriage. Abandoning a 2 year old child is cruelty on the child and violation of child rights. These grievances against her could be legitimately vented through legal means and judicial process and which was what her first husband resorted to.

However, some groups including the Hindu Jagaran Mancha exerted themselves to blow it out of all proportion. They conjured up spectre of ‘love jihad’ and started campaign against inter-religious and inter-caste marriages, friendship between girls and boys belonging to different communities and even resorted to vigilantism by raiding parks, restaurants and other public places in search of inter-religious couples and friends and beating them up. Ostensibly this group received encouragement from political leaders who were interested in diving people in religious lines and diverting the attention of the people from the real issues of starvation deaths, corruption, miserable conditions of rural and urban roads and the national highways, human rights violations by police and armed forces etc.

A very influential politician of the ruling congress party in Assam Mr Gautom Roy, Minister for Public Health and Engineering (PHE), at a public function organised to mark 3 years of Assam government issued a call to the public to beat up any boy who marries a girl from a different community and to hand over the girl to her guardians. Provoked and encouraged by this call a mob of more than one hundred youths attacked Dr Nath and her ‘second husband’ at about 10pm on 29 June 2012 at Hotel Nakshatra in Karimganj where she was staying for the night after visiting her constituency. Both of them were brutally assaulted, and according to her, attempts were also made to rape her. After hours a police team rescued them in serious conditions. They were rushed to Guwahati for treatment.

The BHRPC could not confirm any direct links of the minister with the attack on Dr Nath and the mob that attacked her. But it is obvious that his call to beat up such couples definitely encouraged the mob. The comment of the minister is not only against the established constitutional canons of the land and principles of human rights but also a provocation to breach the public order and a call towards further lawlessness and jungle raj. Any person including a minister may disagree with any law and in such cases he should propose repeal or amendment of the law if he is sincere in his opinions. A minister who is part of the party that rules at the central and state governments should have proposed amendment of Article 14, 21 and 25 of the constitution and the Special Marriage Act, 1955 if he sincerely thought that conversion and inter-religious marriages are undesirable. By provoking youths he betrayed his motives.

The attack on Dr Nath is a manifestation of desperate reactions of patriarchy and its interests against the empowerment of women and empowered women. These are attacks on expression of moral agency in women. She was abused and attacked only because she was a woman.

Conclusion:

It is found that Mr Ajijur Rahman was the latest victim of inhumanity and brutality of the police which they sometimes without any rhymes and reasons unleash on the very people for whose protection they are being paid. His son Mr Nazim Uddin might be an accused or suspect and his arrest might also be necessary in the situation. But it is absolutely illegal to take his father into custody to be used as bait for the son. Moreover, the torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment to which he was subjected and which allegedly caused his death are not only illegal but also inhuman and barbarous.

It is also found that groups of people who have vested interest in communal divisions among the people created controversy around ‘conversion and second marriage’ of Dr Rumee Nath and engaged in a communal campaign. It polarised some people in religious lines and created tensions in Barak valley.

Provocative and ant-constitutional statement of Minister Gautom Roy encouraged the mob of the male dominated society to attack Dr Nath, a woman who represents more than 1 million people in the law-making body of the state and her ‘second husband’.

The alleged police harassment of youths and inefficient investigation of the attack case and efforts of forcible enforcement of strikes led to the fighting between the communities at Kalain; communal mass hysteria of some Muslims youths of Kalain and inefficient handling of the situation by the  authorities present there led to the fighting between the communities resulting in injuries of many innocent people; insensitivity to human rights of the people and reliance on illegal means and torture during investigation by the police resulted in the death of Mr Ajijur Rahman.

Recommendations:

The BHRPC recommends to the authorities including the Central government of India and government of Assam to take following actions:

To the Government of Assam:

  1. To conduct a prompt and objective judicial inquiry into the death of Ajijur Rahman and the circumstances that led to his death;
  1. To cause the investigation of the case of custodial death of Mr Ajijur Rahman to be conducted by a team led by an officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police of the Crime Investigation Department of Assam police;
  1. To pay an ex-gratia of an adequate amount to the next of kin of Mr Ajijur Rahman;
  1. To hand over the investigation of mob attack on Dr Rumee Nath to the Central Bureau of Investigation of Delhi Police as name of a minister of Assam government is involved in the incident;
  1. To amend the Assam Police Act, 2007 to bring it in conformity with the directions of the Supreme Court of India in Prakash Singh and others Vs. Union of India and others case;
  1. To separate investigation wing and maintenance of law and order wing of Assam police completely;
  1. To train the officers and other personnel of Assam police in following human rights laws while tackling riots and dealing with mobs; and
  1. To take any other actions needed for protection of human rights of the people.

To the Central Government of India:

  1. To ensure a prompt and impartial inquiry by a judicial authority into the death of Ajijur Rahman, communal fighting and mob attack on Dr. Rumee Nath;
  1. To ensure that the investigation of the case of custodial death of Mr Ajijur Rahman is conducted by a team led by an officer of rank of Superintendent of Police of the Crime Investigation Department of Assam police;
  1. To ensure  payment of ex-gratia of an adequate amount to the next of kin of Mr Ajijur Rahman;
  1. To ensure the investigation of mob attack on Dr Rumee Nath to the Central Bureau of Investigation of Delhi Police as name of a minister of Assam government is involved in the incident;
  1. To repeal the colonial Police Act of 1861 and enact a police act as per directions of the Supreme Court of India issued in Prakash Singh and others Vs. Union of India and others case;
  1. To enact the Communal Violence Bill after further consultation with the civil society;
  1. To enact the Prevention of Torture Bill after further consultation with civil society;
  1. To enact a law providing for adequate reparation and rehabilitation of the victims of human rights violations by the state agencies and their families after consultation with the civil society; and
  1. To take any other appropriate actions required for protection of human rights of the people.

For any clarification and more information please contact:

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

Director, Legal Affairs

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC)

Cell: +919401942234

Email: wali.laskar@gmail.com


[1] Mr. Mahibur Rahman, aged about 50, son of Haji Haroos Ali, resident of Lakhipur Part-I, Kalain, Katigorah, Cachar.

[2] Mr. Taj Uddin, aged about 44, son of late Abdul Barik of Boroitoli Part-I

[3] Mr Shahid Uddin,  aged about 25, son of late Abdul Wahab Barbhiuya of Brahmangram.

[4] The house belongs to one Mr Mainul Haque. They did not awake him lest the police know about any movements.

 

 

 

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DIGEST OF INTERNATIONAL JURISPRUDENCE ON THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS WHILE COUNTERING TERRORISM

June 16, 2012

The non-state armed groups (insurgents, extremists or terrorists, whatever you may call them) need to be dealt with and contained because they violate rights of the people to live peacefully, they try to impose their will on the people and the state unlawfully and violently trampling the constitutionalism and the rule of law that are sine qua non for civilised human existence. It is the mandate of the state to maintain the reign of law and constitution and the writ of the government established by law along with ensuring security and safety of the person and property of the citizens. But when the state through its security forces and law enforcement agencies commits more atrocious acts than the acts which it professes it is fighting the difference between the non-state terrorists and the state gets blurred.

Since independence in 1947 as in colonial times India has a number of laws containing provisions that are termed by the liberal jurists and human rights defenders as draconian and repressive unparalleled in the democratic world. Such laws are held responsible for regular violations of human rights with impunity resulting in defeat of the rule of law and continuity of lawlessness breeding more terrorism and violence. Despite this reality there is also a shrill voice for more stringent laws in the country.

Even before the terrorist attack in Mumbai on 26 November, 2008 the demand for “stronger and tougher anti-terror laws” kept getting shriller and hasher and was being projected as panacea. It started after the present parliament repealed the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA), although some provisions of POTA incompatible with human rights laws were incorporated into the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) by way of amendment. The discourse of ‘tough’ laws is premised entirely on the misrepresentation of facts. It seems that the advocates of ‘tough’ laws want us to believe that there were no terrorist attacks in India when some of the “toughest” (read most draconian) laws in the civilised world were in force such as the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) and its other local variants; the National Security Act, 1980 (NSA); the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act, 1987 (TADA); POTA; UAPA and other state enactments. But the reality is that some of the worst terror offences were perpetrated when these “stronger and tougher anti-terror laws” were in force such as hijack of an airIndia flight from Kathmandu to Kandhahar, Red Fort attack, parliament attack etc.

New law becomes necessary when existing provisions are proved ineffective or counter effective. There are still many draconian and colonial provisions in our general criminal law composed of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) the Evidence Act, 1972 and others. Records of implementation and effective implementation of laws in India is very dismal due to many factors including corruption and inadequacy in both quantity and quality of man-power in the Criminal Justice Administration System and the inefficacy of some of the provisions of law themselves. With registration of First Information Report the justice administration machinery gets into motion. There are hundreds of thousands of cases where police does not register FIR without being greased. It has become the rule in some part of the country. There are also numerous cases of custodial torture and death for not paying gratification by the detainee/arrestee or their relatives to the police. When the state of the things is this it is ridiculous to think that “stronger and tougher anti-terror laws” will free us from crimes and criminals, let alone the question of terrorism.

Terrorism is the worst form of crime. It is just a matter of common sense that the people who love to kill and get killed would not have any fear of law howsoever “tough” and “strong” that law may be. Soon after the terrorist attack in Mumbai, Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) reminded that “it has been seen that in countering terrorism the state often succumbs to the design of the terrorists by failing to respect the human rights of the people. When this happens the terrorism triumphs because the state itself does the act of terror. More over, failure to respect human rights creates breeding ground of terrorism” in a statement issued to condemn the attack. Counter terror laws and practice violating human rights are used by the terrorists to justify their heinous acts and the state cites these terrorist acts to justify its acts of violations of human rights. In the process the ordinary human beings are just sandwiched between state and non state terror. These two forms of terrorism feed on each other and are same for general population.

Unfortunately the Indian State has succumbed to the terror design and gave them the triumph after the Mumbai attack. A bill has been passed amending the UAPA after the November attacks in Mumbai which violates international human rights treaties.

New amendments to anti-terror laws include: 1. Sweeping and overbroad definitions of “acts of terrorism” in violation of the principle of legality, 2. No clear and strict definition of what constitutes “membership” of a “terrorist gang or organization” also violate the principle, 3. Minimum period of detention of persons suspected to be involved in acts of terrorism extended to 30 days from 15 days and the maximum period of detention of such persons to 180 days from 90 days – already far beyond international standards, 4. Denial of bail to foreign nationals who may have entered the country in an unauthorised or illegal manner, except in very exceptional circumstances, also violates international human rights standard, 5. The requirement, in certain circumstances, of accused people to prove their innocence, is in violation of basic principle of universal criminal jurisprudence and natural justice.

Another new legislation has been passed constituting the National Investigating Agency which, inter alia, authorises special courts to close hearings to public without defining or limiting the grounds under which they may do so. This is also in violation of the due process principle.

While introducing the bill for amendment of the UAPA, the government took plea in the preamble of the bill that it is bound under several international instruments to combat terrorism specifically citing some select United Nations Security Council Resolutions such as1267 (1999), 1333 (2000), 1363 (2001), 1373 (2001), 1390 (2002), 1455 (2003), 1526 (2004), 1566 (2004), 1617 (2005), 1735 (2006) and 1822 (2008). But ignored the dictum of the resolution 1535 (2004) adopted by the Security Council at its 4936th meeting, on 26 March 2004 which reminded the “States that they must ensure that any measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, and should adopt such measures in accordance with international law, in particular international human rights, refugee, and humanitarian law”. More over, there are many international instruments acceded or ratified by India which put the state under obligation to adhere to the human rights norms in all its activities including counter terrorism.

When POTA was repealed by the government most of the resolutions cited were in existence. Citation of these resolution and invoking international obligations are nothing but taking recourse to false plea. A look into the jurisprudence of the united nations and regional organizations on the protection of human rights while countering terrorism would show the hypocrisy of the Indian State so far its invocation of the international obligations is concerned.

In this background the digest on terror jurisprudence complied by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights of the United Nations is a necessary tool for the human rights defenders, lawyers, academics, law-enforcement officials. law-makers, policy makers etc. The digest can be downloaded from here.

Survivors of TOV felicitated as a part of therapeutic intervention at Silchar, Assam

January 2, 2012
Survivors of TOV felicitated as a part of therapeutic intervention at Silchar, Assam

Survivors of TOV felicitated as a part of therapeutic intervention at Silchar, Assam

On the International Human Rights Day on 10 December, 2011 Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) conducted a programme to felicitate the survivors of torture and organized violence (TOV) at Banga Bhawan, Silchar (Assam) as a part of the therapeutic intervention. The felicitation programme was a joint event with a public discussion on the human rights situation in Barak valley and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights conducted to observe the International Human Rights Day. 14 survivors were ceremonially honored by the eminent persons of the valley. The event was chaired by Mr. Manindra Sankar Gupta, chairperson of BHRPC.

 At the outset Mr. Sadique Mohammed Laskar, joint secretary of BHRPC introduced the audience with the concept and methodology of testimonial therapy and its effectiveness in the fight against torture.

Survivors of TOV felicitated as a part of therapeutic intervention at Silchar, Assam

Survivors of TOV felicitated as a part of therapeutic intervention at Silchar, Assam

 A printed booklet containing the Bengali translation of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights was distributed among the audience. Mr. Neharul Ahmed Mazumder (Secretary General of BHRPC) elaborated some parts of the UDHR and informed the audience about various laws against torture. He added that democracy is possible only in a torture free environment. Mr. Imad Uddin Bulbul emphasized on the fact that BHRPC was working to makeBarakValleyfree from all forms of torture and ill treatment.

 Mr. Faruk Ahmed Barbhuiya, member of BHRPC read the testimony of Mr. Ranjit Roy who was the victim of torture by the personnel of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Mr. Ranjit Roy is a shopkeeper who survived from the jaws of death. Mr. Roy was called upon the stage and honored with garlands and Uttaria (Shawl), at the same time slogans against torture as well as slogans hailing Mr. Roy’s struggle for justice raised in the hall. Mr. Imad Uddin Bulbul handed over the beautifully printed testimony to Mr. Ranjit Roy. The hall was filled with claps and slogans. Ranjit also delivered a short speech.

 Mr. Nehar Uddin’s testimony was read by Mr. Mrinal Kanti Shome. He was tortured by his neighbours and lost his mental and physical strength. His wife was also raped. He was a day labourer and a very poor person. However, the police was allegedly negligent to their complaint. His wife’s testimony was read earlier in private. Both of them were honoured with garlands and Shawls. Their testimonies were handed over by Mr. Manindra Sankar Gupta and Ms Bithika Acharya. The hall filled with the loud sounds of claps and slogans.

 Mr. Hussain Ahmed Laskar, a poor mason apprentice, was tortured by the personnel of the Indian Army in front of his family members and in Army camp. Hussain lost his physical and mental strength. His testimony was read by Asab Uddin Barlaskar and thereafter he was called upon on the stage and honored. His testimony was handed over by Mr. Abid Raja Majumder.

Survivors of TOV felicitated as a part of therapeutic intervention at Silchar, Assam

Survivors of TOV felicitated as a part of therapeutic intervention at Silchar, Assam

 Mr. Choudhury Charan Gorh, an activist who was tortured by an organized group of miscreants for protesting against corruption. His testimony was read by Aftabur Rahman and was handed over by Mr Abid Raja Majumder.

 Mr. Nurul Alom Laskar, a driver by work, was tortured by the CRPF personnel. His testimony was read by Miss Sarmila Singha and was handed over by Mr Mujammil Ali Laskar.

 Mr. Ataur Rahman Majumder, a teacher, was tortured by the Indian Army personnel. His testimony was read by Miss Nasim Akhtar Majumder and was handed over by Mr Mujammil Ali Laskar.

 Mr. Surman Ali Laskar, a farmer, was tortured by the Indian Army personnel. His testimony was read by Miss Perbin Sultana and was handed over by Mr. Makabbir Ali Barbhuiya.

 Mr. Riaz Uddin Choudhury was tortured by the Indian Army personnel. His testimony was read by Mr. Najir Hussain Laskar and was handed over by Ms Bithika Acharya.

 Mr. Raju Kar was tortured by the Indian Army personnel. His testimony was read by Mr. Biswajit Das and was handed over by Mr Imad Uddin Bulbul.

Survivors of TOV felicitated as a part of therapeutic intervention at Silchar, Assam on 10 December, 2011

Survivors of TOV felicitated as a part of therapeutic intervention at Silchar, Assam on 10 December, 2011

Mr. Alom Hussain Barbhuiya, a businessman, was tortured by the Indian Army personnel. His testimony was read by Mr. Abdul Wakil and was handed over by Mr Shourindra Kumar Bhattacharya.

 Mr. Sams Uddin Laskar, a student, was tortured by the Indian Army personnel. His testimony was read by Mr. Snigdha Nath and was handed over by Mr Manindra Sankar Gupta.

 Mrs. Kimati Rani Das a housewife and a victim of domestic violence by her in-laws. Her testimony was handed over by Ms Bithika Acharya.

 Mr. Shyamendra Malakar, a victim of torture by organized group of miscreants nurtured by the political bigwigs and hence allegedly backed by the police, was also felicitated.

 Each of them was called upon the stage and honoured with garland and Shawl. The audience loaded the hall with the sounds of claps and slogans.

 Miss Mina Begum a victim already honoured delivered a short speech describing how she came out of trauma by testimony therapy. Some eminent persons and activists   delivered speeches on various aspects of human rights and the works of BHRPC.

Survivors of TOV felicitated as a part of therapeutic intervention at Silchar, Assam on 10 December, 2011

Survivors of TOV felicitated as a part of therapeutic intervention at Silchar, Assam on 10 December, 2011

Prisoner assaulted for protesting against corrupt practices inside Silchar central jail in Assam

December 25, 2011

Prisoner assaulted for protesting against corrupt practices inside Silchar central jail in Assam (India)

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) received information that an inmate in the Central Jail, Silchar (Assam) was badly beaten up on 30 December, 2010 allegedly for protesting against ill-treatment of prisoners and corrupt practices of jail officials. Mr. Bidyut Kumar Paul, who was admitted in the central jail on 30 January, 2006 to serve rigorous imprisonment for life, was beaten up, kicked and punched by some other inmates and jail officials that caused him serious injuries. He was given some medical treatment afterwards. However, no investigations of the incident conducted and no actions against the alleged perpetrators were taken. There were concerns that the incident might be repeated and some day Mr. Paul might be hurt seriously.

 According communications dated nil, 28-2- 2011 and 29-3-2011 claiming to be written and signed by Mr. Paul and addressed to the BHRPC, Mr. Paul, son of Bipad Ranjan Paul was a resident of village­ Srikona, in Cachar district inAssam(India). He was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life by the Court of Sessions, Cachar, Silchar in Sessions case no. 71/2003 under section 302/34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) vide judgment and order dated 30-1-2006. He was also kept in the jail under judicial custody as an under trial prisoner in connection with another case bearing number 2c/2011. Under these circumstances he had been living in the central jail, Silchar since 30 January, 2006.

 According to the communication, he was assaulted because he raised voice against ill-treatment of inmates and corrupt practices of the officials inside jail. He also referred to a news story published in the 24 February, 2011 issue of the Dainik Nababarta Prasanga, a local daily news paper published in Bengali from Silchar (Assam). The story claimed that one Biru Laskar alias Rois Ali (aged 40, son of late Abdul Bari Laskar and a resident of village Tulargram Part-I, PS: Sonai,Cachar,Assam), a released prisoner served sentence in the central jail, Silchar informed the journalist that there was massive irregularities gong on in the jail. Mr. Laskar also stated that he had witnessed the assault on Mr. Paul in the said jail on 30 December, 2010.

 According to the information furnished both in the communication of Mr. Paul and statement of Mr. Laskar cited in the news story, the Jail Superintendent, the Assistant Jailor, the Ward Matron, the Police Guards and some prisoners formed an immoral nexus inside the jail. According to the statement made by Mr. Laskar, everything including narcotic drugs and alcohol was available in the jail and could be bought if one had sufficient money.

 It was also stated that the prisoners had to pay rupees 2000 (two thousand) per head per month as bribe to that nexus if s/he wanted to get proper accommodation and food. If anyone could not or did not pay the bribe, would be placed near the dirty lavatory and would get lowest quality of food. If anyone protested against this corrupt should face inhuman treatment and torture. The complain box was put just before the visit of the chief judicial magistrate, otherwise it was kept hidden. There was an unauthorized fixed rate for visit by relatives and outsiders at rupees 50.00 (fifty) per head. The food items, medicines etc. were sold outside depriving the prisoners. Manual box was also kept invisible. The canteen inside the jail had been converted to an unauthorized business stall of the Jail Superintendent, they claimed.

 Mr. Paul expressed fears in his communication to the BHRPC that he might be assaulted again and again and he might even be killed by the jail officials in connivance with some other inmates since he made himself inconvenient by raising his voice against the irregularities and corrupt practices.

 BHRPC is also very concerned about the safety and physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Paul and other inmates. BHRPC thinks the condition in the central jail Silchar is inhuman and in violations of the human rights of prisoners as enshrined in the Constitution of India and time and again upheld by the High Courts and the Supreme Court in India as well as universally recognized human rights standards in relation to the treatment of prisoners.

The World Human Rights Day observed in a unique way

December 11, 2011
The World Human Rights Day observed in a unique way

The World Human Rights Day observed in a unique way

Survivors of torture honoured as a therapeutic intervention

October 4, 2011

A ten-days long workshop on Testimonial Therapy of the survivors of torture and organized violence was comducted at Silchar, Cachar, Assam. As a part of the workshop a ceremony to honour the survivors of torture and organized violence, who are struggling for justice was held at Banga Bhavan, Silchar on the 13th September, 2011. The program was organized by the joint endeavors of Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), Peoples Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), Rehabilitation and Research Center for Torture Victims (RCT) and National Alliance on Testimony Therapy (NATT). Eminent personalities of the locality attended the Honor Ceremony. The meeting was presided over by Mr. Manindra Sankar Gupta (Retd. ACS), the Chairperson of BHRPC.

 At the outset Mr. Sadique Mohammed Laskar , the Joint Secretary of BHRPC, delivered the welcome address, and also gave a brief idea on Testimony Therapy. The president took chair and thereafter Mr. Lenin Raghubanshi, Secretary General and Director of PVCHR, Ms Sirin Sabana Khan of PVCHR, and Mr. Imad Uddin Bulbul took chairs at the dais.

 Mr. Neharul Ahmed Mazumder, Secretary General of BHRPC, delivered his speech on the purpose of Testimony Therapy and the Honor Ceremony. He dwelt on the need of psychological rehabilitation of the traumatized survivors of torture and organsed violence which aspect is neglected in human rights works. Hence, there was an urgent need for such type of trainings to serve the victims in a better way.

 Ms. Shirin Sabana Khan in her very brief speech told about the experiences of working with BHRPC, and about the pattern of torture and human rights violation in the valley. She also added that there remained a lot to work with BHRPC. Ms. Khan further told about various aspects of testimony therapy.

 Mr. Nirmal Kumar Das, member of BHRPC, read out the testimony of Mr. Kalam Uddin Choudhury, who is a survivor of torture by the personnel of the Indian Army. Though all the doors are shut by the human rights institutions of India, still Kalam is fighting for justice in legal forum and trying to attract the helping hands of the organizations and individuals. Mr. Kalam is a poor mason apprentice and lost his mental and physical strength to a large extent after the excruciating experience of torture. Kalam was called upon on the stage and honored with garlands and Uttaria (shawl), at the same time slogans against torture as well as slogans hailing Kalam’s struggle for justice raised in the hall. Mr. Lenin Raghubanshi handed over the beautifully printed testimony to Mr. Kalam Uddin Choudhury, The hall was filled with claps and slogans.

 The testimony of Miss Mina Begum Choudhury, a secondary victim of organized violence was read by Miss Chaya Kumari, a member of PVCHR. Mina lost her brother in this incident, and her parents alongwith her uncle also faced inhuman torture. She lost her property and shelter. Still she is facing hard as her opponents are very close to the heavyweight political leaders of the locality. Mina got warm welcome when she appeared on the stage with loud slogans, claps, garlands and uttaria. Miss Sirin Sabana Khan handed over the testimony to Mina, which was beautifully printed.

 The testimony of Mrs. Alimun Nessa, another survivor of torture, was read out by Sadique mohammed Laskar. Alimun Nessa lost her husband due to cruel inhuman torture in police custody. The torture to which her husband was subjected was witnessed by her. The human rights institutions has never paid heed to her complaints seriously, though all the enquiries conducted into the incident found the involved policemen guilty. Alimun, in spite of, all limitations such poverty and ignorance is still fighting for justice.

 Mr. Parvez Khasru Laskar read out the testimony of Mr. Fariz Uddin Barbhuiya, who was tortured by the personnel of 147 Battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) with his family members. Fariz is a retired CRPF personnel himself and runs his business near his house situated opposite to the CRPF camp. Fariz got warm welcome with slogan against torture and praising his bravery. He was honored with garlands and uttaria (shawl). The Chairperson then handed over the beautifully printed testimony to Mr. Fariz. He then delivered a speech thanking the organizers. He added that he has got half justice after being able to express his feelings in such a forum, and that he has got energy to expedite his fight for justice.

 Mr. Waliullah Ahmed Laskar, a member of BHRPC, delivered his short speech on various provisions of national and international laws against torture. He also added that the impact of torture on individuals and in society is very serious, it creates trauma in individual and mass mind.

 After that Mr. Dholu Mia Choudhury, father of Mr. Kalam Uddin Choudhury was escorted to the stage by Mr. Abdul Rahman Laskar and Mr. Abul Hussain Barlaskar, members of BHRPC. He was welcomed with garlands, Uttaria (shawl) and loud claps and slogans from the audience. Mr. Dholu Mia, a secondary victim of torture had the bitter experience of torture, when he saw his son, the only earning member of his family paralyzed after torture by the personnel of Indian Army. He received his beautifully printed and decorated testimony from Mr. Imad Uddin Bulbul.

 Mrs. Aftarun Nessa Barbhuiya, wife of Mr. Fariz Uddin Barbhuiya, a secondary victim was escorted to the stage by N. Kamalini and Sarmila Singha, members of BHRPC. She received warm welcome with garlands, Uttaria, claps and slogans. She received her testimony from Ms. Shirin Sabana Khan, which was beautifully printed and decorated.

 Mr. Imad Uddin Bulbul, advocate and Legal Advisor of BHRPC delivered his speech. He told that torture victims must raise their voices and testimony therapy will help to uphold the suppressed voices. He also added that BHRPC has crossed many hurdles, and it will do a lot with PVCHR and RCT.

 Mr. Anup Kumar Choudhury (Advocate) and Mr. Shyamal Dey (social activist) delivered their speeches and appreciated the organizers for arranging such a unique program in the valley.

 Mr. Lenin Raghubanshi delivered a pithy speech where he expressed the experiences of working with BHRPC. He cited various examples of victims becoming activists after testimony therapy, and encouraged the survivors to raise their voice against torture. He also brought to light the various issues and problems in Barak Valley.

 The meeting ended after the address from the chair and vote of thanks.

Sadique Mohammed Laskar

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC)

Silchar, Assam

18 September, 2011

Assam: Honour ceremony of torture victims at Silchar

September 20, 2011

Honouring survivors of torture and organised violence as a part of therapeutic intervention

Views from the Honour Ceremony of survivors of torture and organised violence that was held at Silchar, Assam on 13 September, 2011. The event was organised by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), People s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) with support from Rehabilitation and Research Centre (RCT) at Banga Bhavan, Sadarghat Road, Silchar. As a part of testimonial therapy 8 survivors of torture by law enforcement officials, security forces, domestic violence and organised violence were honoured with garland, shawl by Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi and Shirin Saban Khan of PVCHR, Manindra Shankar Gupta and Imad Uddin Bulbul of BHRPC. The testimonies of the survivors were also read out and delivered to them. (Part-1)

Views from the Honour Ceremony of survivors of torture and organised violence that was held at Silchar, Assam on 13 September, 2011. The event was organised by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), People s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) with support from Rehabilitation and Research Centre (RCT) at Banga Bhavan, Sadarghat Road, Silchar. As a part of testimonial therapy 8 survivors of torture by law enforcement officials, security forces, domestic violence and organised violence were honoured with garland, shawl by Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi and Shirin Saban Khan of PVCHR, Manindra Shankar Gupta and Imad Uddin Bulbul of BHRPC. The testimonies of the survivors were also read out and delivered to them. (Part-2)

Views from the Honour Ceremony of survivors of torture and organised violence that was held at Silchar, Assam on 13 September, 2011. The event was organised by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), People s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) with support from Rehabilitation and Research Centre (RCT) at Banga Bhavan, Sadarghat Road, Silchar. As a part of testimonial therapy 8 survivors of torture by law enforcement officials, security forces, domestic violence and organised violence were honoured with garland, shawl by Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi and Shirin Saban Khan of PVCHR, Manindra Shankar Gupta and Imad Uddin Bulbul of BHRPC. The testimonies of the survivors were also read out and delivered to them. (Part-3)

Views from the Honour Ceremony of survivors of torture and organised violence that was held at Silchar, Assam on 13 September, 2011. The event was organised by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), People s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) with support from Rehabilitation and Research Centre (RCT) at Banga Bhavan, Sadarghat Road, Silchar. As a part of testimonial therapy 8 survivors of torture by law enforcement officials, security forces, domestic violence and organised violence were honoured with garland, shawl by Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi and Shirin Saban Khan of PVCHR, Manindra Shankar Gupta and Imad Uddin Bulbul of BHRPC. The testimonies of the survivors were also read out and delivered to them. (Part-4)

Views from the Honour Ceremony of survivors of torture and organised violence that was held at Silchar, Assam on 13 September, 2011. The event was organised by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), People s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) with support from Rehabilitation and Research Centre (RCT) at Banga Bhavan, Sadarghat Road, Silchar. As a part of testimonial therapy 8 survivors of torture by law enforcement officials, security forces, domestic violence and organised violence were honoured with garland, shawl by Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi and Shirin Saban Khan of PVCHR, Manindra Shankar Gupta and Imad Uddin Bulbul of BHRPC. The testimonies of the survivors were also read out and delivered to them. (Part-5)

Views from the Honour Ceremony of survivors of torture and organised violence that was held at Silchar, Assam on 13 September, 2011. The event was organised by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), People s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) with support from Rehabilitation and Research Centre (RCT) at Banga Bhavan, Sadarghat Road, Silchar. As a part of testimonial therapy 8 survivors of torture by law enforcement officials, security forces, domestic violence and organised violence were honoured with garland, shawl by Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi and Shirin Saban Khan of PVCHR, Manindra Shankar Gupta and Imad Uddin Bulbul of BHRPC. The testimonies of the survivors were also read out and delivered to them. (Part-6)

Views from the Honour Ceremony of survivors of torture and organised violence that was held at Silchar, Assam on 13 September, 2011. The event was organised by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), People s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) with support from Rehabilitation and Research Centre (RCT) at Banga Bhavan, Sadarghat Road, Silchar. As a part of testimonial therapy 8 survivors of torture by law enforcement officials, security forces, domestic violence and organised violence were honoured with garland, shawl by Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi and Shirin Saban Khan of PVCHR, Manindra Shankar Gupta and Imad Uddin Bulbul of BHRPC. The testimonies of the survivors were also read out and delivered to them. (Part-7)

Views from the Honour Ceremony of survivors of torture and organised violence that was held at Silchar, Assam on 13 September, 2011. The event was organised by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), People s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) with support from Rehabilitation and Research Centre (RCT) at Banga Bhavan, Sadarghat Road, Silchar. As a part of testimonial therapy 8 survivors of torture by law enforcement officials, security forces, domestic violence and organised violence were honoured with garland, shawl by Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi and Shirin Saban Khan of PVCHR, Manindra Shankar Gupta and Imad Uddin Bulbul of BHRPC. The testimonies of the survivors were also read out and delivered to them. (Part-8)

BHRPC to continue its fight for human rights

September 14, 2011

BHRPC to continue its fight for human rights

Special Correspondent

(Click here to view videos of the event)

SILCHAR, Sept 13: Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) since its inception in 2002 has been fighting for upholding the cause of human rights and its protection. Whenever, there is report of violation of human rights, the Committee through its fact finding team after thorough investigation takes up the case at the national and international forums for effective check and initiation of action against the guilty and justice to the victim of torture, pointed out Neharul Ahmed Mazumdar, secretary general of the Committee, while addressing the gathering on the occasion of the ‘honour ceremony of the torture victims’ held at Banga Bhavan here today in association with the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), Varanasi, and Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victim (RCT), Copenhagen, Denmark.

BHRPC has been working against all odds, but it is universally acknowledged that ‘truth ultimately prevails’. With the active support of PVCHR and RCT, Barak Committee after receiving specific complaints goes deeper into the circumstances and related facts to unravel the truth and works out strategy to give justice to the victims. At this ceremony, ten men and women who were victims of domestic violence, torture by security forces as well as other forms of human rights abuses were honoured. These victims of torture were enlisted after their ‘testimonial therapy’ in a eight-day-long session for point to point scrutiny and examination of their statements.

Neharul Ahmed Mazumdar added to say that the sense of security infused in them, in fact, empowers them to the bold and assert their rights for self-defence. He pointed out most of the victims are from the economically backward and minority communities. It is most unfortunate, as he said, laws are used and misused for oppression and suppression. Security forces are often misguided and misused by persons with malafide intentions to score personal gain. The ‘Honour Ceremony’ pointed out Manindra Shankar Gupta, chairman of BHRPC, said would embolden the victims to join the fight against injustice and torture caused by the various forms of violence. Chief Guest on the occasion Lenim Raghuvanshi, secretary general PVCHR, and Shirin Sabana Khan of PVCHR, addressing the assembly said that with the cooperation of people in general, the crusade against violation of human rights could be more strengthened and a world could be created through mass awakening and resolve free from torture and violence. It was their optimism that with the world wide voice against such criminal acts, it could become a reality, and not remain a dream.

Published in the Sentinel, Assam at: http://www.sentinelassam.com/cachar/story.php?sec=2&subsec=12&id=89712&dtP=2011-09-14&ppr=1#89712

(Click here to view the videos of the event)

Honour Ceremony of the Survivors of Torture and Organised Violence

September 11, 2011

(Click here to view videos of the event)

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) in association with the People s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), a human rights organization based at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, is going to organize an honour ceremony of the survivors of torture and organized violence (ToV) on 13 September 2011 at Banga Bavan, Sadarghat Road, Silchar with the support of the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victim (RCT), Copenhagen, Denmark.

 Some of the victims of torture from Barak valley will be honoured by Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, Executive Director, PVCHR in the ceremony. Ms Shirin Sabana Khan f the PVCHR will also attend this ceremony. The Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police of the three districts have also been invited.

 You are cordially invited to the event and requested to grace the same with your presence.

 Best Regards

Yours sincerely

Neharul Ahmed Mazumder

Seceatry General

Venue: Banga Bhavan, Sadarghat Road, Silchar-1

Date: 13 September, 2011 (Tuesday)

Time: 11am onwards

Urgent Appeal: An old man assaulted by the Central Reserve Police in Assam

April 8, 2011

BARAK HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION COMMITTEE

Urgent Appeal No. BHRPC Case No 64/2011/UA/25/211 Dated: 9 April 2011

Dear Friends,

Acting on the information provided by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) issued an Urgent Appeal concerning the case of torture of a 66-year-old person, his aged wife and son by a group of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officers at the victim’s residence. No action was taken upon a complaint filed at the Silchar Sadar police station concerning the incident. It is reported that the Office-in-Charge (OC), instead of investigating the case is demanding that Fariz settle his complaint against the CRPF and rather withdraw it should he not dare facing yet another assault from the CRPF. Fariz filed another complaint at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which was also not acted upon. Please take the suggested actions.

Yours sincerely

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

Urgent Appeal Desk

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee

Rongpur, Silchar-9, Assam, India

INDIA: An old man assaulted by the Central Reserve Police in Assam

April 8, 2011

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-074-2011

Send an appeal letter

8 April 2011

——————————————————
INDIA: An old man assaulted by the Central Reserve Police in Assam

ISSUES: Torture; Impunity; Martial law; Rule of law

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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) concerning the case of torture of a 66-year-old person, his aged wife and son by a group of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officers at the victim’s residence. It is reported that the CRPF tortured Mr. Fariz Uddin Barbhuiya, his wife and son on 27 July 2010 causing serious injuries to the old man. The CRPF assaulted Fariz since he had protested against the CRPF concerning a civil dispute. Fariz had to be hospitalised at the Silchar Medical College Hospital (SMCH) to recover from the injuries. No action was taken upon a complaint filed at the Silchar Sadar police station concerning the incident. It is reported that the Office-in-Charge (OC), instead of investigating the case is demanding that Fariz settle his complaint against the CRPF and rather withdraw it should he not dare facing yet another assault from the CRPF. Fariz filed another complaint at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which was also not acted upon. Fariz is a retired CRPF constable.

CASE NARRATIVE:

A team of about ten CRPF personnel entered the Fariz’s house and assaulted him along with his wife and son on 27 July 2010. Fariz was seriously injured in the incident and had to be hospitalised. The CRPF is a paramilitary force in India.

Fariz is a retired CRPF constable living in front of the 147 battalion of the CRPF camp. Fariz’s house is within the jurisdiction of Silchar Sadar Police Station in Cachar district of Assam state. Fariz supports his family with his pension and the earnings from a small shop where he sells betel nuts and operates a public call office (PCO). Fariz alleges that he was assaulted for protesting against the CRPF concerning a civil contract.

Fariz alleges that one Mr. Radheshyam Sahu, had obtained permission to cut and sell grass from the CRPF 147 battalion campus through a public auction. Thereafter, Sahu entered into a contract with Fariz on 22 April 2010 allowing Fariz to cut and sell grass for which he paid Sahu Rs. 7,500.00. Few days later, Fariz came to know that Sahu had allowed another person to cut and sell grass from the same campus. Aggrieved by the breach of contract, Fariz went to Sahu and demanded an explanation.

It is reported that Sahu ignored Fariz’s question and misbehaved to him. Fariz was disappointed and on 26 June complained to the commander of the battalion, Mr. T. K Hati, asking him to intervene. The commander reportedly informed Fariz that it was him who allowed the other person to cut and sell grass from the campus. Fariz then reminded the commander about the contract and requested the commander to return his money.

Fariz alleges that the officer shouted abuses at him when he demanded the officer to return the money. The officer then threatened Fariz and warned him that he will be taught a lesson for daring to demand the return of the money from a superior officer. Fariz went home disappointed. Fariz stated that following his argument with the commandant, a team of more than ten CRPF personnel accompanied by Mr. Sahu came to Fariz’s house at around 4.30pm on 27 July. Fariz claims that the team was led by the commander Mr. Hati and accompanied by CRPF constables Mr. Abani Nath, Mr. Shashi Bhushan, and Havildar Mr. Amir Uddin Laskar.

Fariz claims that the officers forcibly entered the house and started beating him without any warning. The officers assaulted Fariz with gun butts. The officers then kicked Fariz and punched him on his head and other parts of his body. Fariz’s wife, Aftarun Nessa Barbhuiya, and his son, Asif Akhtar Barbhuiya, tried to intervene and requested the officers to spare the old man. Fariz was lying on the ground soaked with blood. However, it is alleged that the CRPF then assaulted Aftarun Nessa and Asif Akhtar.

Fariz further alleges that the officers then damaged furniture, utensils and other valuable things in his house. Fariz claims that the officers then took the cash box of his shop that had approximately Rs. 2500.00 in it at the time. When the officers left, they warned Fariz against complaining to the authorities or to the police about the incident. The officers also threatened the family that they would be charged with false cases of keeping illegal firearms and ammunition if they sought help from the human rights organisations or informed the media. After the officers left the family called an ambulance and took Fariz to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH). Fariz was admitted at the SMCH and after a few days when his health improved discharged from the hospital.

It is reported that Fariz filed a complaint at the Silchar Sadar Police Station on 28 July 2010 concerning the incident and requesting the police to take appropriate actions against the CRPF officers. The police registered an FIR (First Information Report) based on the complaint as Silchar PS (police station) Case No. 1445/10 under Sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 448 (punishment for house-trespass), 325 (punishment for causing grievous hurt), 323 (punishment for causing hurt), 427 (mischief causing damage), 307 (attempt to murder) and 149 (punishment of being a member of unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). Sub-Inspector Mr. Jitu Mani Goswami was the investigating officer (IO) of the case.

Fariz, however, alleges that the IO was not investigating the case. Instead, the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of the Silchar Sadar Police Station was demanding Fariz to come to an amicable settlement with the accused CRPF personnel and withdraw the complaint. Another complaint was then filed at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on 5 February 2011 with the help of local human rights group, Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC). BHRPC informs that there have been no responses from the NHRC yet concerning the case.

BHRPC and Fariz allege that the assault and theft was a punishment for daring to complain to the CRPF commandant as well as demanding money back from the officer, which the officer viewed as challenging his authority, that too by a retired and old former constable. In places like Assam in India, the CRPF and other paramilitary units have absolute impunity wherever they are posted. The AHRC has reported more than 300 cases of torture, murder and rape committed by the CRPF and other paramilitary units in India over the past six years. Most of these cases find some action only when the AHRC makes the incident public. The AHRC has also noted that in many cases the victims refuse to speak about the incident due to fear of further assault or threat from these agencies. India also does not have any form of witness protection laws or mechanisms.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write letters to the authorities listed below asking them to intervene in the case immediately.

The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the question of torture seeking an intervention in the case.

To support this appeal click here

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

INDIA: Please investigate the case of assault by the CRPF of a 66-year-old man at his residence along with his wife and son

Name of victims:

1. Mr. Fariz Uddin Barbhuiya aged about 66 years residing within the jurisdiction of Silchar Sadar police station in Cachar district of Assam state

2. Ms. Aftarun Nessa Barbhuiya, wife of Fariz

3. Mr. Asif Akhtar Barbhuiya, son of Fariz

Names of alleged perpetrators:

1. Mr.Radheshyam Sahu, owner of the High Tech Communication shop

2. Mr. TK Hati, commander of the 147 battalion of CRPF camp stationed under the jurisdiction of Silchar Sadar police station in Cachar district of Assam state

3. Mr. Abani Nath, constable of the 147 battalion of CRPF camp stationed under the jurisdiction of Silchar Sadar police station in Cachar district of Assam state

4. Mr. Shashi Bhushan, constable of the 147 battalion of CRPF camp stationed under the jurisdiction of Silchar Sadar police station in Cachar district of Assam state

5. Mr. Amir Uddin Laskar, Havildar of the 147 battalion of CRPF camp stationed under the jurisdiction of Silchar Sadar police station in Cachar district of Assam state

Date of incident: 27 July 2010

Place of incident: Victim’s residence

I am writing to seek immediate actions in the case reported to me of assault by the Central Reserve Police (CRPF) of a 66-year-old man, his wife and son at his residence on 27 July 2010. I am concerned to know that the complaints filed by the victims at the local police station and at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have not been acted upon. On the contrary, the local police is demanding that the victim settle the case with the CRPF outside the police station and withdraw his complaint, or dare facing yet another assault from the CRPF.

I am informed that there were about ten CRPF officers who entered the Fariz’s house and assaulted him along with his wife and son. Fariz was seriously injured in the incident and had to be hospitalised. The CRPF is a paramilitary force in India.

Fariz is a retired CRPF constable living in front of the 147 battalion of the CRPF camp. Fariz’s house is within the jurisdiction of Silchar Sadar Police Station in Cachar district of Assam state. Fariz supports his family with his pension and the earnings from a small shop where he sells betel nuts and operates a public call office (PCO). Fariz alleges that he was assaulted for protesting against the CRPF concerning a civil contract.

Fariz alleges that one Mr. Radheshyam Sahu, had obtained permission to cut and sell grass from the CRPF 147 battalion campus through a public auction. Thereafter, Sahu entered into a contract with Fariz on 22 April 2010 allowing Fariz to cut and sell grass for which he paid Sahu Rs. 7,500.00. Few days later, Fariz came to know that Sahu had allowed another person to cut and sell grass from the same campus. Aggrieved by the breach of contract, Fariz went to Sahu and demanded an explanation.

It is reported that Sahu ignored Fariz’s question and misbehaved to him. Fariz was disappointed and on 26 June complained to the commander of the battalion, Mr. T. K Hati, asking him to intervene. The commander reportedly informed Fariz that it was him who allowed the other person to cut and sell grass from the campus. Fariz then reminded the commander about the contract and requested the commander to return his money.

Fariz alleges that the officer shouted abuses at him when he demanded the officer to return the money. The officer then threatened Fariz and warned him that he will be taught a lesson for daring to demand the return of the money from a superior officer. Fariz went home disappointed. Fariz stated that following his argument with the commandant, a team of more than ten CRPF personnel accompanied by Mr. Sahu came to Fariz’s house at around 4.30pm on 27 July. Fariz claims that the team was led by the commander Mr. Hati and accompanied by CRPF constables Mr. Abani Nath, Mr. Shashi Bhushan, and Havildar Mr. Amir Uddin Laskar.

Fariz claims that the officers forcibly entered the house and started beating him without any warning. The officers assaulted Fariz with gun butts. The officers then kicked Fariz and punched him on his head and other parts of his body. Fariz’s wife, Aftarun Nessa Barbhuiya, and his son, Asif Akhtar Barbhuiya, tried to intervene and requested the officers to spare the old man. Fariz was lying on the ground soaked with blood. However, it is alleged that the CRPF then assaulted Aftarun Nessa and Asif Akhtar.

Fariz further alleges that the officers then damaged furniture, utensils and other valuable things in his house. Fariz claims that the officers then took the cash box of his shop that had approximately Rs. 2500.00 in it at the time. When the officers left, they warned Fariz against complaining to the authorities or to the police about the incident. The officers also threatened the family that they would be charged with false cases of keeping illegal firearms and ammunition if they sought help from the human rights organisations or informed the media. After the officers left the family called an ambulance and took Fariz to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH). Fariz was admitted at the SMCH and after a few days when his health improved discharged from the hospital.

It is reported that Fariz filed a complaint at the Silchar Sadar Police Station on 28 July 2010 concerning the incident and requesting the police to take appropriate actions against the CRPF officers. The police registered an FIR (First Information Report) based on the complaint as Silchar PS (police station) Case No. 1445/10 under Sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 448 (punishment for house-trespass), 325 (punishment for causing grievous hurt), 323 (punishment for causing hurt), 427 (mischief causing damage), 307 (attempt to murder) and 149 (punishment of being a member of unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). Sub-Inspector Mr. Jitu Mani Goswami was the investigating officer (IO) of the case.

Fariz, however, alleges that the IO was not investigating the case. Instead, the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of the Silchar Sadar Police Station was demanding Fariz to come to an amicable settlement with the accused CRPF personnel and withdraw the complaint. Another complaint was then filed at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on 5 February 2011 with the help of local human rights group, Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC). BHRPC informs that there have been no responses from the NHRC yet concerning the case.

BHRPC and Fariz allege that the assault and theft was a punishment for daring to complain to the CRPF commandant as well as demanding money back from the officer, which the officer viewed as challenging his authority, that too by a retired and old former constable.

I am also informed that in places like Assam in India, the CRPF and other paramilitary units have absolute impunity wherever they are posted. I am informed that the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has reported more than 300 cases of torture, murder and rape committed by the CRPF and other paramilitary units in India over the past six years. In most of these cases actions were initiated only when the AHRC made the incident public. I am also informed that the AHRC has noted that in many cases the victims refuse to speak about the incident due to fear of further assault or threat from these agencies as it has happened in this case.

I therefore request you to intervene in this case to ensure the following:

1. That the police must immediately record the statement of the victims;

2. That the police investigate the case without any further delay;

3. That if required the witnesses provided protection by the police;

4. That the NHRC informs Fariz and/or BHRPC the status of the complaint they have filed at the NHRC without any further delay.

Yours sincerely,

—————-

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

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

2. DIG (ADM), NES (Ops) Sector NES
Operations Headquarters
Jorhat
Assam
INDIA

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

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

See the appeal at AHRC website: http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-074-2011