Posts Tagged ‘Negligence’

NHRC moved over custodial death and communal clash in Assam

July 19, 2012

Media brief for immediate release—

19 July 2012

 NHRC moved over custodial death and communal clash in Assam

 Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) has moved the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over custodial death of Ajijur Rahman of Kalain in the district of Cachar in Assam. A complaint has been filed at the NHRC based on the report of a fact-finding study conducted by the BHRPC on 19 July 2012. The study found that Ajijur Rahman, an old man of about 60 years, was picked up on 7 July from his home by a police team led by a probationary Indian Police Service officer Mr Y T Gyatsu and he was tortured to death at the police lock-up of Kalain patrol post.

The report released on 19 July[1] has also dwelt on the communal clash on 4 July at Kalain bazaar that led to the illegal arrest and brutal killing of Ajijur Rahman. The report categorically says that negligent and inefficient handling of the situation by the authorities including executive magistrate Ms Khaleda Sultana Ahmed, Deputy Superintendent of Police (probationary) Mr Iftikar Ali and in-charge of Kalain police patrol post Mr Anowar Hussain Choudhury were mostly responsible for the clash. They failed to handle the mob frenzy. It is claimed that they could take measures including lathi charge and tear gas fire. These measures could disperse the mob. Due to the negligence and inefficiency of the authorities about 18 people were injured in the clash. Six of them sustained serious injuries. It amounts to violation of human rights within the meaning of section 12 (a) (ii) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

It is also found that efforts of forcible enforcement of strikes on 4 July by supporters of the Hindu Jagaran Mancha and communal mass hysteria of some Muslim youths of Kalain were also responsible for the communal clash. The BHRPC maintained that every citizen and group of citizens has the right to protest and call strike provided that it is peaceful and the organizers do not force others to take part in the protest. The Mancha broke the conditions for legitimacy of the strike by forcing others.

The fact-finding report further dwelt on the efforts of effecting communal divisions in Barak valley over the controversial conversion and second marriage of Dr. Rumee Nath, Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Assam. It is stated that the right to get converted into any religion is a part of the freedom of conscience and free profession 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.

It is further alleged that some groups 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. These activities are assault on the rule of law.

The report stated that 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.

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.

Apart from the brutality of police personnel, Ajijur Rahman was a victim of the situation that was thus created.

 For any clarification and more information you may contact:

 Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

 Mobile: 09401942234

Email: wali.laskar@gmail.com


 

 

 

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Inquiry ordered into death of a new born baby for alleged negligence of doctors

May 11, 2012


The New Delhi based statutory child-rights body the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) asked the deputy commissioner of Hailakandi district of the North East Indian state Assam for a report on how the first child of Mr Bijoy Dev and Mrs Tumpa Dev of Ward No. 13 at College Road in Hailakandi town died on 1 April 2012 after delivery.

The child rights watchdog of the nation moved into actions after receiving a complaint from the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) on 11 April alleging that the child died due to negligence and dereliction in duties by the doctors of the Sontush Kumar Civil Hospital of Hailakandi. The NCPCR registered a case based on the complaint as case No. 13016/32389/2010-11/COMP.

The BHRPC alleged that Mrs Dev when went in labour was brought to the S K Roy Civil Hospital at about 1pm on 30 March. No doctors saw the woman and with the help of nurses she had to give birth to a male child. It was a forced birth as some doctors who later examined the baby and his mother told that she was in need of caesarian section and that the complicacies leading the death arose due to the injuries caused to the baby during delivery. The conditions of both the mother and child started to worsen soon thereafter. Still no doctors in the hospital saw them. They then went to theSilcharMedicalCollegeand Hospital, Silchar (SMCH) and the baby died there at about 6pm on 1 April.

According to BHRPC, this appears to be a clear case of causing death by negligence within the meaning of section 304A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 even if keeping in mind the rules laid down by the Supreme Court of India in Jacob Mathew Vs State of Punjab (2005) (Appeal (Crl.) 144-145 of 2004) for application of the section in cases of negligent and rash acts or omissions of doctors. Most importantly, it is a prima facie case of violations of fundamental right to life as laid down in Article 21 of the Constitution of India. In a catena of cases the Supreme Court held that the right to health care is a part of the right to life.

The rights group also claimed that the negligent conduct of the doctors, particularly that caused the death of the baby also amounts to violations of the rights enshrined in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. The allegations also constitute violations of provisions of legally binding human rights instruments to whichIndiais a state party. Such as the right to life provided under Article 6 of the International Covenant o Civil and Political Rights, 1966. As a positive entitlement the right to health and health care is recgonised in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966. Further, it is also a case of violations of relevant provisions of other United Nations convention such as Article 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979 (CEDAW) and Article 6 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 (CRC).

As the case also falls under section 13 (1) (j) of the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 took cognizance of the matter and its member-secretary Lov Barma wrote on 17 April 2012 (vide No AS-13016/32389/2010-11/COMP/10930 dated 17 April 2012) to the Hailakandi DC asking for a report within a moth. It is reported that the in-charge DC Mr A Nandababu Shingh after receiving the notice formed a three-member inquiry committee on 3 May 2012 headed by the Hailakandi circle officer Dhrubajyoti Dev, other two members being the joint director of health and the district programme officer of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). Mr Shigh asked the committee to file report within 15 days.

11 May 2012

Guwahati

For any clarification or further information please contact:

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

Mobile: 09401942234

Email:wali.laskar@gmail.com

New born baby dies at hospital in Assam due to negligence of doctors

April 11, 2012


The Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) has learnt that a new born baby died at a hospital in Assam within about 50 hours of his birth on 1 April 2012 due to negligence of doctors. An expectant mother in labour was brought to the S K Roy Civil Hospital in Hailakandi at about 1pm on 30 March. No doctors saw the woman and with the help of nurses she had to give birth to a male child. It was a forced birth. The conditions of both the mother and child started to worsen soon thereafter. Still no doctors in the hospital saw them. They then went to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Silchar (SMCH) and the baby died there at about 6pm on 1 April. It was the first child of the couple.

After the BHRPC first learnt about the incident from local newspapers (see 5 April 2012 issue of the Dainik Nababarta Prasanga, a daily Bengali newspaper published from Karimganj, Assam) on 5 April, it contacted the family and verified the information given in the newspapers and collected other relevant information.

According to the information, the unfortunate parents are Mr Bijoy Dev and his wife Ms Tumpa Dev. They are residents of Ward No. 10,College Road, Hailakandi town in the district of Hailakandi. Mr Bijoy Dev is a small shopkeeper and provides the family from earnings of his pan shop (a small store where shopkeeper sells a mouth-freshener chewing item prepared by mixing different types of areca nuts, betel leaf, tobacco etc. according to order of the customer) that he runs  in front of his house. His wife 20-years-old Tumpa Dev conceived the baby for the first time. After conception the couple were seeing Dr Shubhendu Chakrabarti regularly at his private chamber. Although Dr Chakrabarti is a government doctor posted at the S K Roy Civil Hospital he has his private practices like almost all other government doctors inAssam.

Mr. Bijoy Dev stated that when Ms Tumpa Dev went into labour at the normal time on 30 March her husband and other relatives brought her to the S K Roy Civil Hospital at about 1pm. But there were no doctors on duty in the 100-bedded hospital. Dr Shubhendu Chakrabarti was in Guwahati, the capital city ofAssam. Therefore nurses tried to help her. After much agony and tribulation she delivered a baby at 4pm. It was a boy. However, his condition was critical. He could not breathe properly. The nurses started giving him oxygen. Meanwhile the father of the baby and other relatives were desperately looking for a doctor. They were informed by the hospital staff that at that time Dr D K Dev should have been in duty. They went to his residence. Mr Bijoy Dev’s older brother Mr Joydeep Dev and brother-in-law Mr Rajesh Dev urged Dr D K Dev to come to the hospital and do something to save the life of the new-born. Dr Dev told them that he was tired since he was at a health fair at Bilaipur, a remote village in the district for the whole day. He refused to help the baby in his fight for life. In the meantime, health condition of the mother also started getting worse.

The relatives then went to another doctor of the hospital Dr Abul Hussain at about 10pm. He was at home but refused to visit the hospital. He asked them to bring the patients at his house. The mother and baby then were brought to the place of Dr Hussain who after examining them wrote a prescription. Mr Bijoy Dev told the BHRPC that Dr Hussain told them that the condition of the baby and mother became so serious due to the forced delivery. According to him, it was a fit case of caesarean section. The doctor told that he was of the opinion that if the delivery would have been caused through caesarean there would not be any complexities since the baby appeared otherwise alright.

Mr Bijoy Dev stated that after they got the medicines prescribed by Dr Hussain from an outside drug store they brought the baby and his mother back to the hospital. One Dr L D Sinha came on duty next day morning. When the medicines prescribed by Dr Hussain failed to check the deterioration of the health condition of both the mother and her baby Dr Sinha referred the patients to the SMCH. At about 7.30 am on 31 March they were brought to the SMCH and were admitted in the department of obstetrics and gynaecology. Dr P Nath, an associate professor in the department examined them. Dr Nath also confirmed the findings of Dr Hussain that the forced delivery caused the complexities. According to Mr Bijoy Dev, the doctors and the staff at the SMCH tried their best to save the baby but he was declared dead at about 6pm. However, Mr Dev also informed the BHRPC that the hospital did not provide them with any medicines and he had to buy them from outside stores.

This appears to be a clear case of causing death by negligence within the meaning of section 304A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 if the opinions of Dr Nath and Dr Hussain are to be believed even if keeping in mind the rules laid down by the Supreme Court of India in Jacob Mathew Vs State of Punjab (2005) (Appeal (Crl.) 144-145 of 2004) for application of the section in cases of negligent and rash acts or omission of doctors.

Most importantly, it is a prima facie case of violations of fundamental right to life as laid down in Article 21 of the Constitution of India. In a catena of cases the Supreme Court held that the right to health care is a part of the right to life.

The negligent conduct of the doctors, particularly that of Dr D K Dev, that caused the death of the baby also amounts to violations of the rights enshrined in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 that reads: “(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” 

“(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.”

The allegations also constitute violations of provisions of legally binding human rights instruments to which Indiais a state party. Such as the right to life provided under Article 6 of the International Covenant o Civil and Political Rights, 1966. Clause 1 of the Article lays down: “1. Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”

As a positive entitlement the right to health and health care is recgonised in  Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966 which says: “The right to the highest attainable standard of health”. The General Comment 14 the Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states that the right to health requires availabilityaccessibilityacceptability, and quality with regard to both health care and underlying preconditions of health. This case is a glaring instance of gross violation of this universally recognised provision.

Further, it is also a case of violations of relevant provisions of other United Nations convention such as Article 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979 (CEDAW)[1] and Article 6 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 (CRC)[2].

After documentation of the case BHRPC filed a complaint at the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the Assam State Commission for Women (ASCW). Letters were also sent to the other authorities including the prime minister ofIndiaand the chief minister ofAssamurging them to take appropriate actions including:

 1. a prompt, objective and exhaustive investigation into the alleged negligence of Dr D K Dev and other doctors of the S K Roy Civil Hospital, Hailakandi;

 2. payment a prompt relief in terms of money to the parents of the baby pending the inquiry/investigation;

3. adequate reparation in terms of monetary compensation to the parents of the baby for loss of life of their son and for suffering physical and mental agony;

 4. prosecution of the alleged negligent doctors for fixing their criminal liability;

At a time when the government of Assam is busy advertising its ‘achievement’ in the health sector with much fanfare it will be interesting to follow the actions of the government that may be or may not be taken in response to these specific allegations.

11 April 2012

Guwahati,Assam

For any clarification or more information you may contact

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

Mobile: +91 9401942234

Email:wali.laskar@gmail.com


[1] Article 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979 (CEDAW) reads:

“Article 12

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning.

2. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph I of this article, States Parties shall ensure to women appropriate services in connection with pregnancy, confinement and the post-natal period, granting free services where necessary, as well as adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation.”

[2] Article 6 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 provides:

“1. States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.

2. States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.”

Rape in Silchar Medical College Campus

January 18, 2011

Rape in Silchar Medical College Campus

A minor girl named Rustana Begum of 15 years was raped in Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Silchar at about 5 pm on 2/2/08. She was attending her mother Sunapakhi Bibi of Kanchanpur Pt-I, Hailakandi, Assam, who was undergoing treatment at the orthopedic department of the Hospital from 10th January, 2008.

At the time of incident Rustana Begum was going to the canteen to fetch hot water for her mother. Two security guards named Rahim Uddin Mazumder and Bishawjit Ghose, both of whom hail from Masimpur, Silchar and employed by Barak Security Agency, a private security providing firm, which was providing security to the said hospital under contract, stopped her at the door of the room of Medical Record Department when she was going to the canteen to fetch hot water and forcibly brought her in Out Patient Department room which usually remain closed at such hour of the day and they committed rape alternately on her.All this happened before the eyes of Atul Das, a fourth grade employee of the said Hospital who remain a silent spectator.

Shushantha Nath and Surendra Singh, the two in-charges of security at the said Hospital on behalf of the BSA, threatened the victim, her mother and her relative Abdul Mannan with dire consequences and asked them not to disclose the incident and inform the police. However, Sunapakkhi Bibi, the mother of the victim lodged an FIR regarding the matter vide Silchar Poloce Station Case No 208.08 dtd 6/02.08. Abdul Mannan also filed a complaint with the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Cachar regarding the threat to life of the victim, her mother and his own life under section 107 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 on 7/02/08.

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

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

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