Posts Tagged ‘Para-military’

Indian reserve battalion soldiers assault a physician in Assam

April 2, 2012

A convoy of soldiers belonging to 22 Indian Reserve Battalion stationed at Kadamtala camp in Jiribam of Manipur state assaulted a physician at Jirighat market in Cachar district of Assam state on 29 March 2012 causing injuries and mental trauma. The incident led a scuffle between the local people and the soldiers causing some more injuries and a lot of fear and anxiety. The local people later blocked the53 National Highway(NH) forcing the police officers in both the districts to come over to the spot and take control of the situation. No complaint has been registered by the police against the soldiers and the victim is very concerned about his and his family members’ safety and security.

According to the information, the physician Mr. Dulal Biswas (age about 43, son of late N L Biswas) is a resident of Jirighat town under the Jirighat police station (PS) in the district of Cachar. Jirighat is a small town falling in the border ofAssamwith Manipur state. A tributary of the river Barak called Jiri separates Manipur fromAssamhere. On the other bank of the river falls Jiribam town in the Imphal West district of Manipur. Mr. Biswas is a registered medical practitioner and has been practicing medicines for some years. He runs his own private dispensary at Jirighat. He is a very respectable person in the town.

On 29 March he went to the market as usual to buy household stuffs and some vegetables at about 8am in the morning. He was riding a motor bike. Things went wrong when he was crossing the road after two Bolero cars passed him. He had to stop in the middle of the road as the Bolero car ahead of him stopped suddenly. But another Bolero car collided with the bike powerfully from behind. Though Mr Biswas fell down with the bike he did not sustain much injury. After he got up he demanded from the driver of the colliding car an explanation as to why he was driving so rashly in the market place. After exchange of a few words the driver got down from the car brandishing a stick. Some other soldiers in uniform also came out with their guns in hands. One of them put the pointed gun on the chest of Mr. Biswas and others punched and kicked him incessantly for a while. At that time some other soldiers who were buying alcohols from a nearby shop started shouting and hurling verbal abuses at Mr. Biswas and other people. It is these soldiers who suddenly stopped their car ahead of Mr Biswas’ bike and partially responsible for the accident. When they rushed towards Mr. Biswas many other people in the market started running, some to other directions but many towards the spot. It caused a great commotion and confusion and helped Mr. Biwas to go away. Although such disturbances by the military and para-military personnel at public places is a part of life in this part of the country, a section of the public lost their cool and tried to gherao the soldiers. When soldiers threatened to open fire the people started pelting stones here and there missing targets. The stones touched none. On the other hand, it facilitated escape of the soldiers.

Fearing retaliation from the IRB the people decided to seek permanent solution of such disturbances that has become a part of their lives through peaceful means. They blocked the NH 53 that connects Cachar district administrative headquarters Silchar with Imphal, the capital of Manipur. At this point, the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Jirighat PS Mr S C Kaman came out and tried to persuade the people to disperse. However, people demanded talk with the authorities from Manipur as the battalion was stationed in that state. Accordingly he informed administration of Jiribam sub-division. A team led by OC of Jiribam PS Mr L Khagen Singh, an officer of Manipur police commando Mr O K Yumnam and another officer of crime investigation department (CID) of Manipur police was sent from Jiribam. At the arrival of the Manipur delegation the blockade that lasted only half an hour from 9am to 9.30am was lifted to hold talk. As a result of the talk that was held at the office of the local village defence party (VDP) the officers who came from Manipur apologized to Mr Biwas and the public on behalf of the assaulting soldiers. They also promised that some money would be paid to Mr Biswas for repairing his bike and such incident would never be repeated again; but it was on the conditions that Mr Biswas or the people should not complain to any authorities and courts.

Mr Biswas’ bikes’ registration number was AS 11 F 2993 and one of the cars of soldiers borne the registration number MN 02 A 4695.

It is learnt that the soldiers belong to 22 IRB stationed at Kadamtala under Jiribam PS in Manipur. They were returning from Kumbhirgram airport in Silchar where they went escorting Mr Chartolien Amo, member of Manipur legislative assembly (MLA) from Churachandpur constituency.

The local people told the BHRPC that they did not believe the promises made in order to lift the blockade as it came with veiled threats that the victim should not seek redress. Mr. Biswas appeared mentally traumatised and talking incoherently. He was very concerned. The physical injuries that were caused to his body by punching and kicking were by no means negligible, though it appeared lesser than the wound he sustained at his heart by being humiliated at the marked place in front of so many people who revered him so much. He was very concerned that the soldiers may harm his family, particularly his two young children, aged about 7 years and 10 years and were studying at class II and V respectively. He kept repeating that his two kids had to go to school and that is why he did not want to talk with reporters and human rights defenders.

It is clear that the soldiers, prima facie, committed many offences including the crime of attempt to murder and crime against public peace and tranquillity and violations of the right to life with dignity and security of person as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India and many international human rights instruments to which India is a state party.

The police officers also violated his right to seek truth, justice and reparation in case of violations of any rights recognised by either the Indian domestic laws including the constitution or the international human rights laws by not registering a first information report (FIR) and trying to hush it up. The right to truth, justice and reparation is also guaranteed under the constitution as well as many international instruments.

The BHRPC sent a complaint on 2 April to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and other authorities including the prime minister of India, chief ministers of both Assam and Manipur, union ministers for home affairs and defence expressing concern over the safety and security of the victim, his family and particularly his school going kids and other witnesses and urged them to take appropriate actions to ensure their physical and psychological integrity and safety, a prompt and impartial inquiry/investigation and registration of first information report (FIR) leading to truth, adequate reparation to the victims and prosecution of the alleged perpetrators in accordance with the criminal law of the land and universally recognised rules of criminal jurisprudence and other appropriate measures to ensure that such incident does not recur in the future.

2 April 2012

Guwahti-6,Assam

For further information please contact:

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

wali.laskar@gmail.com

+91 94019 42234

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Submission of BHRPC to the UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions

March 28, 2012

The few representative cases submitted here clearly show the abysmal state of lawlessness which people live in.  Life here is virtually “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” (as was claimed by Thomas Hobbes in his The Leviathan) for some people, particularly those who belong to the vulnerable groups such as minority communities, working class.

The alleged perpetrators in some of the cases belong to the armed forces ofIndiawhether regular military or para-military operating invariably under the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958. The Act empowers members of the armed forces to use lethal force against civilians even to the causing of death on mere suspicion that they may act in breach of any law or any order along with the power to enter into any doweling places by breaking their entrance and search and seize anything without warrant and arrest any person without warrant and keep the arrestees in custody for unspecified times without charge in the valley along with the rest of Assam and parts of some other North East Indian states and Jammu and Kashmir. The AFSPA also places the army above the law, constitution and judiciary for acts claimed to be done under the Act by barring institution of prosecution, suits or any judicial procedure in any court inIndia.

Some other cases of extra-judicial execution noted above were perpetrated by the state police who operate under a state version of the AFSPA titled the Assam Disturbed Areas Act, 1955. Along with these special security laws with draconian provisions and laws like the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the regular law that governs the policing in Assam is the Assam Police Act, 2007, which was enacted apparently to comply with the requirements of the directives issued by the Supreme Court of India in Prakash Singh and Others vs. Union of India (also known as the police reform case), in essence conform more with the colonial-era Police Act of 1861. The colonial police law was not aimed to provide democratic policing. It meant to create a repressive force subservient to ruling class and devoid of any accountability to the law and people.

After decades of public pressure, lack of political will and continued poor policing, a police reform process is finally underway inIndiaas the apex court stepped in. On 22 September 2006, the Supreme Court delivered a historic judgment in Prakash Singh and Others vs. Union of India and Others instructing central and state governments to comply with a set of seven directives laying down practical mechanisms to kick-start reform.

The directives were aimed to ensure functional autonomy of the police and their accountability to the law. For ensuring functional autonomy the Supreme Court directed 1. to establish a State Security Commission to i. ensure that the state government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police; lay down broad policy guidelines aimed at promoting efficient, effective, responsive and accountable policing, in accordance with the law; give directions for the performance of the preventive tasks and service oriented functions of the police; evaluate the performance of the state police and prepare a report on police performance to be placed before the state legislature.

2. The second directive was aimed at ensuring fair selection of Director General of Police (DGP) and guarantee of his tenure.

3. Security of tenure is similarly important for other police officers on operational duties in the field. In order to help them withstand undue political interference, have time to properly understand the needs of their jurisdictions and do justice to their jobs, the Supreme Court provides for a minimum tenure of two years for the following categories of officers:           – Inspector General of Police (in charge of a Zone)

– Deputy Inspector General of Police (in charge of a Range)

– Superintendent of Police (in charge of a District)

– Station House Officer (in charge of a Police Station)

4. To counter the prevailing practice of subjective appointments, transfers and promotions, the Supreme Court provides for the creation of a Police Establishment Board. In effect, the Board brings these crucial service related matters largely under police control. Notably, a trend in international best practice is that government has a role in appointing and managing senior police leadership, but service related matters of other ranks remain internal matters. Experience inIndiashows that this statutory demarcation is absolutely required in order to decrease corruption and undue patronage, given the prevailing illegitimate political interference in decisions regarding police appointments, transfers and promotions.

5. the Supreme Court directed the Central Government to establish a National Security Commission for Central Police Organisations and Central Cara-Military Forces.

For ensuring accountability the Supreme Court directed the governments to set up:

6. Police Complaints Authority and

7. To separate investigation and law and order function of police.

The Commonwealth Initiative for Human Rights (CHRI), a regional human rights organization which was also one of the interveners in the Prakash Shingh case, after an analysis of the newly enacted Assam Police Act says that the Act only partially complies with the directives:

State Security Commission was established but the composition is not as per the Supreme Court directive. The Act has also weakened the mandate of the commission and has made its recommendation non-binding.

The second directive regarding selection process of the DGP and guarantee of his tenure not complied.

Directive regarding guarantee of tenure of the police officers on the field are also not complied. Only one year of tenure is guaranteed to the Superintendent of Police in charge of a district and Officer-in-Charge of a police station with vague grounds for premature removal.

Police Establishment Board was set up but the mandate was not adhered to. DGP has also been given the power to transfer any officer up to the rank of Inspector “as deemed appropriate to meet any contingency”, contrary to the directive.

The Central Government did not establish National Security Commission in utter contempt of the judgment.

The Assam Police Act, 2007 establishes Police Accountability Commission to enquire into public complaints supported by sworn statement against the police personnel for serious misconduct and perform such other functions. But the Chairperson and members of the Commission are appointed directly by the government. This can, at best, be called partial compliance.

Half hearted attempts can also be seen regarding separation of investigation from law and order function of the police. Special Crime Investigation Unit has been set up in urban police stations but there is no specific section on separation of between law and order and crime investigation.

This deliberate attempt to bypass the Supreme Court directives prompted the petitioner in the case formerAssamdirector-general of police Prakash Singh to describe the Assam Police Act, 2007, as a fraud on the people of the state. He was speaking at a seminar  jointly organised by the commission and the Assam State Legal Services Authority at theAssamAdministrativeStaffCollege, Guwahati. According to him, the government had violated the letter and spirit of the apex court guidelines by passing the act without conforming to these guidelines.

The Act needs drastic amendment to be brought in conformity with the Supreme Court guidelines and to be compatible with International Human Rights Standards. More importantly the role of the police needs to be redefined “taking into account the emerging challenges of policing and security of the State, the imperatives of good governance, and respect for human rights”.

The cases cited also highlight another huge challenge to the civil and political rights inAssamwhich is non-adherence and non-implementation of laws and other instruments that are meant to protect such rights. The Supreme Court guidelines in DK Basu case, and NHRPC guidelines regarding arrest, custodial deaths have the potential to drastically reduce the number of extra-judicial executions if implemented properly. The DK Basu guidelines are only implemented in papers. In rural police stations the guidelines are not even hung in a language eligible to the public at a conspicuous place.

It may be noted that in many of the cases mentioned no magisterial inquiry was conducted in contravention of the statutory mandate of section 176 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. In the cases where such inquiries are conducted the magistrates employed were not judicial ones as is mandate of the law. Although even the executive magistrates when found in their inquiries the guilt of the accused police personnel established beyond doubt, neither prosecution has been started nor has any compensation been provided to the kin of the deceased. Apart from legal immunity provided by security legislations such as the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958, the Assam Disturbed Areas Act, 1955 there is a regime of de facto impunity guaranteed to the violators which is responsible for the increase of the cases of extrajudicial killings.

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BHRPC submits cases of extra-judicial executions in Barak valley to the Special Rapporteur

March 28, 2012

Guwahati, 28 March: “Ours is a case of doing works of police by the army and using the regular state police by ruling politicians as their personal army” said Waliullah Ahmed Laskar during his oral presentation at the North Eastern regional briefing to the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions held today here at Ashoka Brahmaputra hotel. Mr. Laskar, director of law and legal affairs of the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) added, “although there are no terrorist activities and any home grown insurgent groups in Barak valley that can pose a threat to the national integrity and security the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 is in force in the valley along with the rest of Assam and parts of some other North East Indian states and Jammu and Kashmir. The Act empowers the army personnel to use lethal force against civilians even to the causing of death on mere suspicion that they may act in breach of any law or any order along with the power to enter into any doweling places by breaking their entrance and search and seize anything without warrant and arrest any person without warrant and keep the arrestees in custody for unspecified times without charge. The AFSPA also places the army above the law, constitution and judiciary for acts claimed to be done under the Act by barring institution of prosecution, suits or any judicial procedure in any court inIndia.” He further added that the state police also operate under a similar draconian law called the Assam Disturbed Areas Act, 1955 and showed how the Assam Police Act, 2007 is a fraud on the people as well as on the Supreme Court of India in so far as it claims to conform with requirements of directives issued by the supreme court in Prakash Singh and others Vs. Union of India and others.

He also submitted a report to the special rapporteur professor Christof Heyns, who is on a fact-finding mission inIndiafrom 19 March to 30 March, containing cases of extra-judicial or arbitrary killing of innocent people both by the state police and armed forces of the central government. Cases that were submitted include 1. killing of one Islamul Hoque Choudhury (of Sonai, Cachar) by police because he became to threat to them as he witnessed how they tortured another person to death, 2 extra-judicial killing of Hashmat Ali (Kalain, Cachar) by police after being bribed by another person to teach him a lesson, 3. death of Motahir Ali (Kalain, Cachar) caused by torture in police custody as his family could not pay the amount of bribe demanded by the police for his release, 4. death of Mr. Moyfor Raja (Katlicherra, Hailakandi) in police custody due to torture, 5. fake encounter killing of Jamir Uddin (Katlicherra, Hailakandi) by central reserve police force personnel, 6. death of Iskandar Ali (Dholai, Cachar) caused by indiscriminate firing of  CRF personnel at a market place, 7. killing of a car driver by police apparently for speeding and 8. extra-judicial execution of Iqbal Hussain Laskar (Algapur, Hailakandi) by army after they picked him up and some other cases.

The BHRPC urged the special rapporteur to recommend to the authorities inIndiato 1. to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958; 2. to repeal the Assam Disturbed Areas Act, 1955; 3. to make the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 compatible with international human rights standards by amending the Act; 4. to bring the Assam Police Act, 2007 in conformity with the directives of the Supreme Court of India through amendment; 5. to amend the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 to extend the jurisdiction of both the state and national human rights commissions to conduct independent inquiries into cases of alleged human rights violations by the armed forces and to lengthen the limitation period of one year to five years; 6. to constitute an independent commission headed by a retired chief justice of a high court or the supreme eligible to be appointed as the chief justice of India with adequate numbers of members from the civil society to conduct time-bound inquiries into all allegations of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions leading to the initiation of prosecution and provision of adequate reparation; 7. to constitute special courts to conduct trial of all cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions under direct monitoring of the Supreme Court of India; and others.

At the meet presided over by Justice W A Shishak, former chief justice of the Chhattisgarh high court, Mr Babloo Loitongbam of Human Rights Alert (Manipur), Ms. Bubumoni Goswami, chairperson of the Manabadhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS, Assam), Ms Rosanna Lyngdoh of the Impulse NGO Network (Mehgalaya), Taring Mama of the Association for Civil Rights (Arunachal Pradesh), Neingulo Krome of the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (Nagaland), Anthony Debbarma of the Borok Peoples Human Rights Organisation (Tripura) and others also made both oral and written submissions.

The special rapporteur who is accompanied by the UN human rights officer Irina Tabirta and other staff said in his concluding remark that he was thankful to the government of India for extending invitation to his mandate to the country and he assured the participants that he would take up the issues raised here with the government of India and is going to have a press conference in Delhi on 30 March where he would share his preliminary recommendations. He is expected to submit his report on the situation of extra-judicial execution inIndiato the UN human rights council and the General Assembly of the UN at the end of this year.  (Submission of BHRPC to the SR on Summary Execution)

Neharul Ahmed Mazumder

Secretary General,

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee

AFSPA: A blotch on democracy in India

August 20, 2011

The Asian Human Rights Commission, REDRESS Trust UK, and Human Rights Alert, Manipur, India jointly authored and published a report on the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 titled: The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 in Manipur and other States of the Northeast of India: Sanctioning repression in violation of India’s human rights obligations on 18 August, 2011.

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 in Manipur and other States of the Northeast of India: Sanctioning repression in violation of India’s human rights obligations

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 in Manipur and other States of the Northeast of India: Sanctioning repression in violation of India’s human rights obligations

In a statement jointly issued issued on 18 August, 2011 by AHRC, REDRESS and HRA it is claimed that a draconian legislation like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 and the concept of democracy do not go together. While democracy nurture values of justice, equality and fraternity, laws like the AFSPA are synonymous with injustice, discrimination and hatred. A report that analyses the legislation’s complete incompatibility with India’s domestic and international human rights obligations is released today in India, Hong Kong and London. Human Rights Alert, a human rights organisation working in Manipur, India; REDRESS Trust, a human rights group based in London, UK; and the AHRC, a regional human rights body based in Hong Kong have jointly authored the report.

It is also stated that the report while analysing the Act draws extensively upon international and domestic human rights jurisprudence, that India is mandated to follow. The report exposes the visibly different standards even the Supreme Court of India has adopted while deciding the constitutionality and thus the compatibility of the law with India’s international and domestic human rights obligations. Despite repeated calls to repeal the law immediately by government-sponsored Committees that have studied the law, the Government of India is yet to take any steps in that direction. International human rights bodies like the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Racial Discrimination have expressed concern about the law and its implementation in India, suggesting that the law should be repealed.

The law has attracted, repeatedly, wide-ranging criticisms from jurists, human rights activists, and even politicians within India and abroad. Organisations like the AHRC and Human Rights Alert have documented more than two hundred cases, over the past eight years, where the state agencies operating under the statutory impunity provided by the Act has committed serious human rights violations in states like Manipur. Most of these cases has been reported by the AHRC through its Urgent Appeals Programme and brought to the attention of authorities in India and within the United Nations. Yet, so far not a single military or police officer has been prosecuted for the human rights abuses they have committed under the cover of impunity provided by this law.

The report also places emphasis upon the unique form of protest by Ms. Irom Chanu Sharmila, through her decade-long hunger strike, which has been largely ignored by the national media in India.

The report could be downloaded here.

For comments on the report you may contact:
1. Mr. Babloo Loitongbom
Human Rights Alert
Manipur, India
Tel: + 91 385 2448159

2. Mr. Serge Golubok
REDRESS
London, UK
Tel: + 44 20 7793 1777

3. Mr. Bijo Francis
AHRC
Hong Kong
Tel: + 852 2698 6339

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

——————————————————

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

Para-military forces run amock in Silchar with impunity

March 15, 2011

Assam Rifles personnel belonging to the 5th battalion camping at Jiribam, Manipur came to Silchar in Assam, a town known as the heart of Barak Valley, on 2 August, 2009, bought ‘pan’ from a panwala, pushed a pistol into the mouth of panawala who had shown the audacity of demanding money for his pan and then created a mayhem establishing the reign of terror for the whole night.

According to the reports, some ‘jawans’ in plain clothes belonging to the 5th battalion of Assam Rifles visited the College Road area in Silchar around 4pm on 2 August and kept loitering there for a few hours. They bought ‘pans’ from a ‘panshop’ owned by one Trinath Dhar of the same locality and started to go away without making payment for the ‘pans’. They got angry when the ‘panwala’ demanded money for his ‘pans’ and started to hurl abuses and threats at him. At further entreaties for the payment the ‘jawans’ beat him, tried to strangle him and one of the ‘jawans’ put his service pistol into the mouth of the ‘panwala’. When people gathered the ‘jawans’ went away but warned him that he would be dealt with appropriately later.

Around 10.30 pm that night 5 ‘jawans’ led by a major named R Gupta came back in a jeepsy car without number plate. They were in plain clothes. Most of the shops were closed at that time. They looked for Trinath Dhar, but his shop was also closed and he hid himself somewhere nearby. The ‘jawans’ entered a nearby saloon named ‘Ajoy Hair Cutting’, which was still open, and started to break things and to beat people inside the shop. The reports alleged that the ‘jawans’ hurled Sumon Sheel, a worker in the saloon, through the window into a drain several feet down. He sustained severe injuries.

According to the reports, at the hue and cry people of the locality started to gather at the spot and the ‘jawans’ kept beating indiscriminately whoever they could catch including women and rickshaw pullers creating a mayhem. They also allegedly opened fire. Ten persons including Ajoy Sheel, the owner of the saloon, Sumon Sheel, a worker in the saloon, Trinath Dhar, the panwala who came out from his hiding when people gathered and Rapon Bhattacharya of Subhash Nagar were injured.

At that time the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Headquarter, Cachar and the Officer-in-Charge of Silchar police station came to the spot with a large police force and brought the situation under control. The police took the ‘jawans’ including the major and the injured to the police station. The injured were sent to the hospital for treatment. But no First Information Report (FIR) was registered.

The Assam Rifles major told the media persons that they were in an ambush there and the local people attacked them even after the ‘jawans’ revealed their identity. He claimed that Assam Rifles personnel were acting in self defence. But there is no answer to the question why Assam Rifles did not inform the local police about their operation in a thick residential area which they are bound to do.

Members of the BHRPC visited the area next day (3 August) in order to find out the facts about the incident. They encountered with an eerie silence. Witnesses refused to talk. Victims were trying to avoid the team members. Fear and terror were visible in the eyes and faces of the people of the locality. After much persuasion and guarantee of protection of identity some victims and witnesses spoke out. Their accounts corroborated each and every facts stated above.

They added that they were asked not to speak with the media and human rights groups except that the matter was ‘settled amicably’ and that they had no grievances against the Assam Rifles personnel or Assam Police members. But the grievances were so acute and deep that one of them went on to say that ‘talks of human rights have meanings only in independent democratic countries’ and out of frustration he declared that ‘India is neither independent nor democratic in actual sense of the terms’. ‘If you try to fight for your rights legally they will kill you ‘legally’’, he claimed. He went on, ‘if you file a complaint with the police the investigation will be biased and at the end of the day the accused will not be prosecuted or if prosecuted will be acquitted for lack of evidence.’ According to him, this is the best expectable situation. At the worst you will be encountered, he claimed. According to him, it is a practice of the security forces to make terrorist of a person who dares to point his fingers against them by planting arms and ammunitions at his residence and then they will kill him in a staged encounter. ‘No human rights group will be able to save him’, he declared.

The statement said, BHRPC could not persuade the terrified victims to lodge a complaint with the police regarding the incident. It reveals their lack of trust in Indian justice delivery system, which is very dangerous.

One of leading local daily news paper carried the story of ‘mutual settlement’ on 4 August. The report informed that the matter was settled in a tripartite meeting among victims, Assam Rifles personnel and officials of Assam Police held at Silchar police station on 3 August. The news paper planted a new version of the incident completely contradicting what it told the day before. More over, it did not make any reference to the earlier story by way of refutation or corrigendum or whatever may be. The paper owes an explanation to its readers and the public. All other papers kept mum on the matter.

It shows a conspiracy of silence. BHRPC thinks that there are ample grounds to conclude prima facie that the Assam Rifles, Assam Police, local media and some other local elements are in collusion with each other to protection the accused ‘jawans’ from legal consequences. In effect, rights of the victims of crimes to justice, remedies and reparation are being denied.

BHRPC concludes that the incident and the subsequent efforts to hush it up amount to vaiolations of fundamental rights laid down in Artiles 21 and 14 of the Constitution of India. Article 21 guarantees right to life and personal liberty, which includes, inter alia, right to live with human dignity, right to physical and psychological integrity and right to justice, remedies and adequate reparation in case of violations of any fundamental rights. Article 14 guarantees equality before and law and equal protection of law. The officials of the Assam Police violated this right of victims by not registering an FIR and by not initiating prosecution against the accused personnel.

The actions of the Assam Rifles personnel and officials of Assam police also violated international human rights obligation of the State of India in respect of the right to life, security of persons and property, right to physical and psychological integrity and right to justice, remedies and adequate reparation in case of violations as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and other instruments.

Urgent Appeal: CRPF Wireless operator tortured by the superior for pursuing studies

February 25, 2011

BARAK HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION COMMITTEE

Urgent Appeal No. BHRPC Case No 62/2011/UA/23/210 Dated: 25 February 2011

Dear Friends,

Acting on the information provided by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) issued the following Urgent Appeal concerning the case of torture of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), a central paramilitary force, wireless operator by his superiors at 147 battalion at Kashipur in Cachar district, Assam. Please take the suggested actions.

Yours sincerely

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

Urgent Appeal Desk

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee

Rongpur, Silchar-9, Assam, India

Download pdf version

INDIA: Wireless operator tortured by the superior for pursuing studies

February 25, 2011

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-047-2011

To support the appeal please click here

25 February 2011

——————————————————
INDIA: Wireless operator tortured by the superior for pursuing studies

ISSUES: Torture; arbitrary detention; impunity

——————————————————

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the case of torture of a wireless operator, Mr. Surinder Singh Chouhan, serving with the 147 Battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for pursuing an MBA study programme. The victim in this case was threatened and put in confinement and assaulted by his fellow constables upon instructions from the Commandant. The victim managed to escape from the custody of his tormentors and filed a complaint against the perpetrators and sought treatment at the hospital. However the local police took the victim into custody at Guwahati and handed over to the CRPF head quarters. The victim was later released but the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of CRPF initiated a departmental enquiry against the victim.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Mr. Surinder Singh Chouhan, aged about 39 years, has been working with 147 battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) as a wireless operator since 1 September 2008. Surinder was posted at the Head Quarters (HQ) of the battalion at Kashipur, Silchar, Assam state. Surinder has served in many operations with army companies of different battalions including C-company at Gharmura, D-company at Karimganj, E-company at Hailakandi and F-company at Fulertal.

Surinder alleged that some of his superiors were spiteful towards him when he wanted to study for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme, for which he duly fulfilled all the requirements. On 4 October 2010, Surinder got admitted in the MBA course under the Sikkim Manipal University with due permission from his Commandant Mr. T.K. Hati and then he drew a bank draft of Rs. 12,500.00 in the name of the university to pay his admission fee. On the next day, Surinder requested permission to meet the commandant for a discussion concerning his admission to the MBA programme, his study at the university and his duty as a CRPF officer. However, Surinder’s request was denied.

Surinder was then sent to the Deputy Commandant for Operations (DCO), Mr. Nabeen Chandra by Sub-Inspector Mr. T.N. Tripati. Thereafter, Surinder was presented before the Commandant on the same day evening around 7pm. The Commandant behaved in a rude manner and threatened Surinder that he would snatch his job. Then he detained Surinder in a jail and subjected him to ill-treatment for three days without any written order.

On October 7, Surinder requested to be informed of his faults for which he was given punishment but nobody cared to answer him. Instead, Surinder was suspended from his duties on October 8. Surinder was then confined to the guardroom with hand-cuff on his hands from 8 to 11 October. Surinder alleges that he was severely tortured both mentally and physically while he was in the confinement. CRPF constables at the behest of superiors told Surinder by pointing a gun to his head that ‘this is your last moment and you’re going to die now’, an act that they allegedly repeated several times.

The Commanding Officer of F-company, Mr. Anwar Hussain, sent Surinder to the HQ for treatment on October 13 because his health had deteriorated by then. But on the same day the Radio Grid Supervisor, Mr. K. P. Singh, ordered to shift Surinder to D-company at Karimganj. Surinder informed the supervisor about his poor health but no one listened to him. It is reported that Surinder was forced to serve his duty at D-company Karimganj despite his poor health condition.

Surinder alleges that on October 21, seven persons, namely Mr. Rajender Singh, Mr. Rakesh Kumar, Mr. Brojesh Kumar, Mr. Sukhbinder Singh, Mr. Narendra Singh, Mr. Upendra Singh and Mr. Prem Chand Kahar came to him and started assualting him with sticks and chains without any reason. Surider further alleges that on October 23, the commanding officer of D-company, Mr. TN Tripati, ordered him to go for a CRPF operation without weapons at Ratabari area, which was reportedly a disturbed area. When Surinder urged the commanding officer to give him weapons for, it was denied.

It is reported however that the official records are manipulated to show in the duty register that Surindar was engaged at the signal centre under the command of Mr. Manoj Singh. The duty register shows that Surinder was on duty at the signal centre from 7am to 1pm on October 23 and again from 7pm the same day till 7am the next day morning.

Surinder alleged that the commanding officer sent him for the operation only to harass him by putting his life at risk despite his poor health. Surinder performed his duties along with the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Karimganj district in a search operation for nearly 24 hours at Ratabari area without any food and water. While returning from the operation one of Surinder’s colleagues felt very sick and therefore Surinder carried the Light Machine Gun (LMG) of his colleague.

Surinder also alleges that on October 27 once again some persons assaulted him without any reason. They assaulted Surinder so bad that he fell down on the ground. They assaulted Surinder, on his face, chest, stomach and other sensitive parts of the body including his private parts. Surinder further alleges that they forced a broken stick into his anus. Surinder then somehow managed to escape from the clutchs of his tormentors and filed a complaint against the perpetrators in the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) at Silchar. The CRPF on the other hand filed a missing person report alleging that Surinder has gone missing at the Silchar Sadar police station. For the injuries Surinder suffered on this occasion, he received treatment at the Silchar Medical College Hospital.

A complaint was sent to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on November 22 by the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), Assam regarding the case. The NHRC registered a case and issued an order on December 7 transmitting the complaint to the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, for taking action. The NHRC also asked the Union Home Ministry on December 15 to submit an action taken report within four weeks.

In the meanwhile, Surinder has been arrested by the police at Guwahati and sent back to the HQ of his battalion at Kashipur, Silchar. Later, Surinder was released from the HQ and granted him leave. It is reported that a departmental enquiry is being conducted by the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of CRPF. But at this juncture an independent inquiry in the case is required rather than a mere departmental inquiry.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write letters to the authorities listed below requesting them to intervene in the case. The case must be investigated and if the allegations made by the victim are found to be true the perpetrators must be punished.

The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment seeking an intervention in the case.

To support this appeal, please click here
:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

INDIA: The allegations of torture of a CRPF officer must be independently investigated

Name of victim: Mr. Surinder Singh Chouhan, aged about 39 years, working as Wireless Operator, at the CRPF 147 battalion, Kashipur, Silchar, Assam state

Names of alleged perpetrators:

1. Mr. T.K. Hati, Commandant of 147 battalion of Central Reserve Police Force

2. Mr. T.N. Tripati, Sub-Inspector of CRPF and a Commanding Officer of D-company 147 battalion of CRPF

3. Mr. Anwar Hussain, Commanding Officer of F-company 147 battalion of CRPF

4. Mr. K.P. Singh, Radio Grid Supervisor of 147 battalion of CRPF

5. Mr. Rajender Singh, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

6. Mr. Rakesh Kumar, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

7. Mr. Brojesh Kumar, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

8. Mr. Sukhbinder Singh, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

9. Mr. Narendra Singh, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

10. Mr. Upendra Singh, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

11. Mr. Prem Chand Kahar, Constables of 147 battalion of CRPF

Date of incident: 5 – 11 October 2010; 21 October 2010 and 27 October 2010

Place of incident: 147 battalion of CRPF

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the torture and ill-treatment of Mr. Surinder Singh Chouhan by the Commandant for pursuing his studies for an MBA degree. Surinder has been working with the 147 battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) as a wireless operator since 1 September 2008. I am informed that Surinder was posted at the Head Quarters (HQ) of the battalion at Kashipur, Silchar. Assam. Surinder has served in many operations with army companies of different battalions including C-company at Gharmura, D-company at Karimganj, E-company at Hailakandi and F-company at Fulertal.

I am informed that on 4 October 2010, Surinder got admitted to an MBA programme at the Sikkim Manipal University after obtaining the permission of his Commandant, Mr. T.K. Hati. On the next day, Surinder requested for permission to meet the commandant for necessary talks in connection with his admission, study and duty. However, Surinder’s request was denied and sent to the HQ.

I am informed that Surinder was then sent to the Deputy Commandant for Operations (DCO), Mr. Nabeen Chandra by Sub-Inspector Mr. T.N. Tripati. Thereafter, Surinder was presented before the commandant the same day evening around 7pm. The commandant behaved badly with him and threatened Surinder that he would snatch his job. He then detained Surinder and subjected Surinder to ill treatment for three days without any reason.

I am informed that on October 7, Surinder requested to be informed of his faults for which he was punished. But he did not receive any answer. Instead, Surinder was suspended from his duties on October 8. Surinder was then handcuffed and confined to the guardroom from 8 to 11 October. Surinder alleged that he was severely tortured both mentally and physically while he was in confinement.

I am informed that the Commanding Officer of F-company, Mr. Anwar Hussain, sent Surinder to the HQ for treatment on October 13 because his health had deteriorated. But on the same day the Radio Grid Supervisor, Mr. K. P. Singh, ordered to shift Surinder to D-company at Karimganj. Surinder informed the supervisor about his poor health but he was forced to comply the order.

Surinder alleged that on October 21, seven persons namely Mr. Rajender Singh, Mr. Rakesh Kumar, Mr. Brojesh Kumar, Mr. Sukhbinder Singh, Mr. Narendra Singh, Mr. Upendra Singh and Mr. Prem Chand Kahar came to him and started assaulting him with sticks and chains. Surider further stated that on October 23, the commanding officer of D-company, Mr. TN Tripati, ordered him to go for an operation without weapons at Ratabari area, which was reportedly a disturbed area. When Surinder urged the commanding officer to give him weapons it was denied.

I am informed that the official records were manipulated to show in the duty register that Surindar was engaged at the signal centre under the command of Mr. Manoj Singh. The duty register reportedly shows that Surinder was on duty at the signal centre from 7am to 1pm on October 23 and again from 7pm the same day till 7am the next day morning. Surinder alleges that the commanding officer sent him in the operation only to harass him by putting his life at risk. Surinder performed his duties along with the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Karimganj district in a search operation for nearly 24 hours at Ratabari area without any food and water. While returning from the operation one of Surinder’s colleagues felt very sick and therefore Surinder carried the Light Machine Gun (LMG) for his colleague.

Surinder alleged that on October 27 once again some persons assaulted him without any reason. They assaulted Surinder so badly that he fell down. They assaulted Surinder on his face, chest, stomach and other sensitive parts of his body including his penis. Surinder further alleges that they forced a broken stick into his anus. Surinder then somehow managed to escape from the clutchs of his tormentors and filed a complaint against the alleged perpetrators at the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate CJM) at Silchar. However, on the other hand, the CRPF also has filed a complaint at the Silchar Sadar police station alleging that Surinder has gone missing from his unit. Surinder was treated at the Silchar Medical College Hospital.

I am informed that a complaint was sent to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on November 22 by the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), Assam regarding the case of Surinder. I am informed that the NHRC has registered a case and issued an order on December 7 transmitting the complaint to the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, for appropriate actions. It is also reported that the NHRC also has asked the Union Home Ministry on December 15 to submit an action taken report within four weeks.

I am informed that in the meanwhile Surinder has been nabbed by the police at Guwahati and sent back to the HQ of his battalion at Kashipur, Silchar. Later, Surinder was released from the HQ and granted him leave. I am informed that the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of CRPF against Surinder initiated a departmental enquiry.

At this juncture, an independent inquiry in the case is required rather than initiating a departmental inquiry against Surinder.

I therefore request you to ensure an independent inquiry into the incident is ordered, not by the CRPF, but by a judicial officer, like the Judicial Magistrate in Asaam. The victim must be offered all possible protection during the period of investigation. The statement of the victim must be recorded and if the statement corroborates the allegations of torture along with the medical reports on the incident, a prosecution must be initiated in a civilian court against the perpetrators and they punished as prescribed in the penal law of India.

Yours sincerely,


—————-
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. A. K. Anthony
Defence Minister
Government of India, 104 South Block
New Delhi
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 23015403
Email: cvo@nic.in

2. Dr. P. Chidambaram
Home Minister
Griha Mantralaya
Room No. 104, North Block
Central Secretariat, New Delhi 110001
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 2301 5750, 2309 3750, 2309 2763
E-mail: hm@nic.in

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

4. DIG (ADM), NES (Ops) Sector
NES (OPS) Headquarters
Jorhat, Assam
INDIA

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

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

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

8. Mr. Justice S. Barman Roy
Chairperson
Assam Human Rights Commission
STATFED H.O. Building, GMC Road
Bhangagarh, Guwahati
Pin – 781005, Assam
INDIA
Fax: +91 361 2529450, 2527076
Email: hrca@sancharnet.in

To send letters please click here


Thank you.

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

AHRC URL: http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-047-2011

CRPF assaulted a senior citizen at his home in Assam

February 24, 2011
Wounded Mr. Fariz Uddin Barbhuiya at the Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Silchar

Wounded Mr. Fariz Uddin Barbhuiya at the Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Silchar

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) received a communication giving details of the case of 66-year-old Mr. Fariz Uddin Barbhuiya of village Kashipur under Silchar Sadar police station in Cachar district in the North East Indian state of Assam. The communication stated that on 27 July 2010 a team of more than 10 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel entered his house, assaulted him, his son and wife causing serious injury to the old man allegedly for protesting against breach of contract by CRPF. A case has been filed at the police station but the police have not taken any visible actions yet. Another complaint has been filed at the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) but there is no response as yet from the commission.

According to the communication and information received from other reliable sources, Fariz Uddin, a retired CRPF personnel lives in his house in front of the camp of 147 battalion of CRPF, a paramilitary force of the central government of India, at Kashipur, Cachar. He now supports his family with his pension and a little earnings from a small shop of betel nut (pan-shop) and a phone booth.

The victim stated that one Mr. Radhashyam Sahu, owner of High Tech Communication, was given the right to cut green grass from the campus of the 147 battalion at a public auction as the highest bidder. Subsequently on 22 April 2010 Mr. Sahu entered in a contract with Mr. Fariz Uddin that allows the latter to cut the grass and sell them for six months in consideration of advance payment of rupees 7500.00 (seven thousand and five hundred). After a few days Mr. Fariz Uddin came to know that another person was allowed to collect the grass and sell them. He was even not informed of the fact. Aggrieved by the breach of contract, Fariz Uddin went to Mr. Sahu and demanded an explanation. It is reported that Mr. Sahu ignored the question and misbehaved with Fariz Uddin. Then Fariz Uddin brought the matter to the notice of the commander of the battalion Mr. TK Hati with a request for redress on 26 July 2010.  Mr. Hati told that he himself engaged the other person who was collecting grass. When Fariz Uddin reminded Mr. Hati about the contract and requested him to return his money the later reportedly got furious and started hurling verbal abuse at him. He also threatened Farzi Uddin with dire consequences and warned him that the commander will teach him a lesson, as alleged in the communication. He went home disappointed and fearful.

The victim further stated that without further ado a team of 10/12 CRPF personnel accompanied by Mr. Radhashyam Sahu went to his house at about 4.30pm on 27 July. The team included constables Mr. Abani Nath, Mr. Shashi Bhushan, havildar Mr. Amir Uddin Laskar and was led by Mr. TK Hati. The victim claimed that the CRPF team forcibly entered into his house and started beating him without rhymes or reasons. They administered blows on him with their gun butts. They kicked him with their boots and punched him on the head and other sensitive parts of the body. Fariz Uddin’s wife Aftarun Nessa Barbhuiya and their son Asif Akhtar Barbhuiya tried to come in-between to save him. They also urged the para-military forces to spare the old man’s life. However, it is alleged that the CRPF team assaulted the mother and son too.

It is further alleged that the CRPF team damaged furniture, utensils and other valuable things in the house. The victims claimed that the raiding team also snatched away the cash box of their shop that contained approximately rupees 2500.00 (two thousand and five hundred).They left the house leaving the old man on the ground soaked in blood. When they were leaving, it is alleged, they warned the victims against complaining to the authorities and the police. They threatened the family that they would be charged with false allegations of keeping illegal firearms and ammunitions if they sought help from human rights organisations and inform the media.

Signboard of the PCO owned by Fariz Uddin Barbhuiya that was vandalised by the CRPF

Signboard of the PCO owned by Fariz Uddin Barbhuiya that was vandalised by the CRPF

After the CRPF team left, the family called an ambulance and took Mr. Fariz Uddin to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital. He was admitted at the SMCH and when his health improved after a few days’ treatment he was released.

Fariz Uddin also filed a complaint at the Silchar Sadar police station on 28 July 2010. An FIR was registered at the police station based on the complaint as Silchar PS Case No. 1445/10 under sections 147 (rioting or violence by an unlawful assembly), 448 (house trespass), 325 (causing grievous hurt), 323 (causing hurt), 427 (mischief causing damage), 307 (attempt to murder) and 149 (punishment of member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Sub Inspector Mr. Jitu Mani Goswami was made the investigating officer (IO) of the case.

Fariz Uddin, however, alleged that the IO was not investigating the case properly. Instead, the officer-in-charge (OC) of the police station Mr. SK Chouhan was putting pressure on him to come to an amicable settlement with the accused CRPF personnel.

It is suspected that the OC has been influenced by the accused.

After receiving the communication BHRPC gathered other relevant information from its sources. BHRPC then filed a complaint at the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) on 5 February 2011. BHRPC is yet to receive any response from the NHRC.

Date: 24 Feb. 11

Place: Silchar, Assam, India

CRPF personnel tortured and ill-treated by his superiors in Assam

February 24, 2011

CRPF personnel tortured and ill-treated by his superiors in Assam

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) received a communication from a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel alleging that he has been tortured and subjected to other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by his superior officers. The victim is a wireless operator with 147 battalion of CRPF. But the higher officials allegedly often have sent him in risky operations without arms even at times when he is ill. He has been kept in confinement in inhuman conditions and has also been assaulted and beaten up brutally. Stick has been entered into his anus. The victim is still kept imprisoned in a makeshift tent and reportedly he is still being subjected to inhuman treatment.

According to information received by BHRPC, Mr. Surindar Singh Chouhan, S/o late Anand Bahadur Singh Chouhan, aged about 39 years, has been working with 147 battalion since 1 September, 2008. He was posted at the head quarters (HQ) of the battalion at Kashipur, Silchar, Assam. However, he was also sent in operations with many companies of the battalion including C company at Gharmura, D company at Karimganj, E company at Hailakandi and F company at Fulertal etc.

Surider alleged that some of his superiors became spiteful towards him when he wanted to study MBA, for which he duly fulfilled all requirements. On 4 October 2010 Surindar took admission to MBA course under the Sikkim Manipal University with due permission from the commander Mr. TK Hati and drew a bank draft of Rs. 12500/- in the name of the university to pay his fees. On 5 October he requested for permission to meet the commandant at the head quarters for necessary talks in connection with his admission, study and duty. But his request was denied. When he insisted that his meeting with the commander is very important, the officer got furious and sent him to the head quarter imputing some false allegations on him. He was then sent to the DC OPS Mr. Nabeen Chandra by Sub-Inspector Mr. TN Tripati and Mr. Roy forcibly and very rudely while they also continued to hurl verbal abuses at him. At 19:00 hours same day he was presented before the commandant. The commander also behaved very roughly and threatened him that he would snatch his job and would put him into jail. He was kept in confinement without any written order and subjected to ill-treatment for three days.

On 7 October he requested to be informed of his faults for which he was given punishment. Nobody cared to answer. On 8 October he was suspended from his duties. From 8 to 11 October he was confined to the guardroom with his hands cuffed. Surinder alleged that he was severely tortured both mentally and physically while he was kept there. CRPF constables at the behest of superiors would tell him that this was his last moment and he is going to die while they pointed gun on his head. They did it innumerable times.

When he was with F company he fell ill and was sent to the head quarters by the Officer-in-Command Mr. Anwar Hussain for treatment on 13 October, 2010. But on the same day Mr. K. P. Singh, the Radio Grid Supervisor ordered him to shift to D company at Karimganj. He told the supervisor about his health condition, but no heed was given. On 13 October, 2010 he reported at D company at Karimganj despite inconvenience due to his physical condition.

Surinder alleged that on 21 October 7/8 soldiers including Rajender Singh, Rakesh Kumar, Brojesh Kumar, Sukhbinder Singh, Narendra Singh, Upendra Singh, Prem Chand Kahar came to him and started beating him with sticks and chains without rhymes or reasons. Surinder claimed that the constables tried to make him angry and to provoke him into attacking them. However, he did not fall into the trap. Then they tried to compel him to assault the quarter guard Mr. Jaibuddin Khan. But he did not do that. These tricks were applied by the OC with an intention to find a ground for filing a criminal case against Surinder.

Surider further stated that on 23 October 2010 the OC of D company Mr. TN Tripati ordered him to go in an operation and search duty without arms at Ratabari area, which was reportedly a disturbed area. When Surinder urged the OC to give him arms for his safeguard, he was denied.

Surindar claimed that according to the rules his duties should be assigned by the ASI/ RO Mr. Monoj Singh in place of the OC. So, he objected to such irregular assignment of duties by the OC in violations of rules. However, he was compelled to obey. Surinder further stated that the official record was manipulated and it is shown in the duty register that he was engaged by the ASI/RO Mr. Monoj Singh at signal centre. It register shows that he was on duty there since 07:00 hours to 13:00 hours on 23 October 2010 and again since 19:00 hours on 23 October 2010 to 07:00 hours on 24 October 2010. But in reality he was forcibly sent to the risky operation and search duty. Surinder also stated that he was aware that anybody could be shifted to any duty during emergency and he claimed that there was no such emergency. Moreover, there were many other eligible personnel for the duty. Surinder claimed that the OC sent him in the operation only to harass him by putting his life and limbs at risk. He performed his duties with the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Karimganj district in a search operation looking for some suspects for approximately 24 hours at Ratabari area without food, water etc. While returning from the operation one of his colleagues felt very sick and he carried his LMG.

Surinder further alleged that on 27 October once again some constables assaulted him. They beat up him so furiously that he fell down on the floor. But they did not stop. They beat him on his face, chest, stomach and other sensitive parts of his body including the privates. They entered broken stick into his anus. Surinder stated that some of the constables namely Upendra Singh, Prem Chand Kahar and Dilip Kumar did not want to inflict such brutal torture on him. But they were compelled by threats of similar treatment by Mr. Hati.

Surinder then somehow managed to escape from the clutch of his tormentors as he alleged. He filed a complaint against the alleged perpetrators at the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate at Silchar. He also received treatment at the Silchar Medical College and Hospital.  He tried to keep himself out of the reach of his battalion. However, they filed a missing case at the Silchar Sadar police station.

At this point in time on 4 November Surinder sent a communication to the BHRPC giving details of his situation. BHRPC filed a complaint at the National Human Rights Commission of India on 22 November. The NHRC registered a case and passed an order on 7 December transmitting the complaint to the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, for appropriate actions. The NHRC also asked the Home Ministry on 15 December to submit an action taken report within four weeks. But the BHRPC did not receive any information even after seven weeks.

Meanwhile Surinder has been nabbed by the police at Guwahati and sent back to the head quarters of his battalion at Kashipur, Cachar. He has informed BHRPC through a friend that he is being kept under the sky in a poorly made makeshift tent which is unable to protect him from the cold. Every now and then he was being beaten up and subjected to other inhuman treatment. According to the information, food and other necessities were also not being properly provided.

On 11 February the victim was released and granted leave. He went home that day. BHRPC received information that the Home Ministry also reportedly asked for a report from the CRPF at the direction of the NHRC. But the inquiry is being conducted by a DIG of CRPF. It is suspected that the inquiry by another officer of the force against his colleagues would not be objective. On the other hand, the CRPF also initiated a departmental inquiry against him.  A thorough, prompt and independent inquiry in the case is a must.

11 February, 2011

Silchar, Assam

HRW Report: Impunity in Manipur

January 30, 2011

Human Rights Watch Report:

“These Fellows Must Be Eliminated”

Relentless Violence and Impunity in Manipur

September 29, 2008

This 79-page report documents the failure of justice in the state, where for 50 years the army, empowered and protected by the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), has committed numerous serious human rights violations. The report details the failure of justice in the killing and possible rape of alleged militant Thangjam Manorama Devi by the paramilitary Assam Rifles in 2004. Repeated attempts to identify and punish those responsible for her death have been stalled by the army, which has received protection under the immunity provisions of the AFSPA.

Download full report