Posts Tagged ‘Police station’

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

July 19, 2012

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

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

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

The report:

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

The victim:

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

 

Place:

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

Incident:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Background:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Controversy over ‘conversion and marriage’:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

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

Recommendations:

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

To the Government of Assam:

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

To the Central Government of India:

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

For any clarification and more information please contact:

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

Director, Legal Affairs

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC)

Cell: +919401942234

Email: wali.laskar@gmail.com


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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

April 22, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrath of police: Photo courtesy merinews.com

Wrath of police: Photo courtesy merinews.com

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

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

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


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


Editor and publisher of a little magazine intimidated and harassed by police in Silchar, Assam

November 20, 2011


A young editor and a publisher were harassed and intimidated for publishing a little magazine for allegedly containing materials that were thought to be immoral and insulting to a section of the society inSilchar,Assam. The magazine titled ‘Via Trunk Road’ contained write-ups, poems and pencil sketches on the rights of the homosexuals and the homosexuality. Additionally, a sketch of the language martyrs memorial altar with the names of eleven martyrs, eleven vodka bottles in a big glass and a burning cigarette was also published in the magazine. Police from Silchar Sdar police station in Cachar district registered a case against the editor and the publisher, raided their houses at mid-night and arrested and kept in detention illegally after a group of some influential people lodged a complaint against them. Subsequently they were released after they apologized publicly under social pressure. But the case against them still continues.

 Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) received written communications from the victims describing the incident in detail.  According o the information, ‘Via Trunk Road’ is a little magazine edited by Sahidul Haque Talukdar (aged 18), son of Nazrul Haque Talukdar and a resident of Munshi Safar Ali Lane, Ghaniala, Malugram, Silchar – 2 (Assam) and published by Shamim Ahmed Laskar (aged 23), son of  Abdul Wahid Laskar and a resident of Ghaniala Road, (near Masjid) Silchar – 2 (Assam). The June 2011 issue  contained some nude and seminude pencil sketches, some poems and articles about homosexuality, social, religious and scientific viewpoints on it. On the back cover page an altar with the names of eleven language martyrs (Bhasha Shaheed) of Barak Valley and a big glass containing eleven vodka bottles and a burning cigarette was sketched and titled as ‘Unish 2050’. The martyrs represent the sentiment of the Bengali speaking people living in the valley. They were killed by the state police for protesting against the policy of the state government to impose Assamese language in place of Bengali, the mother tongue of the majority inhabitants, during a demonstration at Silchar Railway Station on 19th May, 1961. The editor and publisher stated that a photograph published few days earlier in a local newspaper showing the accumulated wine bottles near the altar inspired them to publish the innocuous sketch in an attempt to depict the language martyrs day of 19 May celebration in 2050.

 According to the information received, ‘Bhasha Shahid Station Shahid Smaran Samiti’, a committee associated with the martyrs memorial and some other people were apparently got angry and lodged a complaint against the editor and the publisher of ‘Via Trunk Road’ on 16th July, 2011 at the Silchar Sadar Police Station and demanded their arrest. The Officer in Charge (OC) registered a First Information Report under sections 290/294/500/502/504 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 vide Case No. 1136/11dated 16/07/2011. Section 290 provides punishment for public nuisance, 294 punishes obscene acts and songs, 500 gives punishment for defamation, 502 prohibits sale of printed substance containing defamatory matters and 504 provides punishment for intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace.

 According to the victims, On 25 July, 2011 at 12.15 midnight 8-9 police personnel arrived at Shamim’s house; some of them were in civil dresses. Mr. Mukut Kakati, an officer, asked Shamim about his involvement with the magazine. Then he asked about Sahidul and wanted to visit his house. He also informed that an FIR had been lodged against their magazine and hence a meeting would be held at Shamim’s Residence. They reached Sahidul’s house at 12.45 am and woke him up by calling him and knocking on his door. Sahidul at first followed them and after a while he rushed to his mother’s room to inform his mother who at that time was in sound sleep. Mr. Kakati entered the room forcibly and said that it would take hardly 30 minutes. Both were astonished when they came to know that they were taken to Malugram Police Outpost instead of arranging any meeting at Shamim’s place. Mr. Kakati asked Shamim to bring all the unsold copies of their magazine, which he did. Then they reached Silchar Sadar Police Station instead of Maligram outpost. The victims alleged that most of the police personnel were visibly drunk.

 There for the first time, Shamim and Sahidul came to know that they had been arrested. At that time two other detained persons were badly beaten by Mr. Kakati in front of the Shamim and Sahidul and were let free; this was a frightening experience to Shamim and Sahidul. Both of them were taken toS.M.DebCivilHospitalfor medical test. They replied that they have no injury when asked by the Medical Officer. They returned to the Police Station at around 1:30 am. After checking their clothes they were detained in the lock up. Shamim’s spectacles were snatched though it was inevitable for a myopic person like him. They were kept in the police lock-up, which according to hem, was not in a condition to be in for a human being. It was filled with cockroaches, rats, mosquitoes, smell of urine and stool, dirty water etc. There was no water facility in the lavatory and it was so dirty that they started vomiting. They were provided with a blanket as mattress, which was perhaps not washed since years and smelt bad.

 The Investigating Police officer (I/O) wrote to the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) objecting to the grant of bail to the detainees showing various absurd reasons. He described, ‘.. a news was published in the Samayeek News Paper where deliberate and malicious photographs against the Bhasa Shahid Station…..’ He also described that the accused persons have intentionally caused breach of peace by writing against the feeling of a particular religious community. He further added that the situation was not suitable and might turn to worst leading towards bloodshed. These statements were utterly false and made with malicious intentions. However, the objection was not considered and the accused were released on bail of Rs. 20,000 at 2:30 pm.

But on the contrary to the description of the police, some renowned cultural activists and intellectuals of the valley condemned the arrest and demanded withdrawal of the case. As the editor and the publisher both were Bengali and as there was no religious sentiment attached with the martyrs but only linguistic concern, the question of communal violence raised by police was absurd and intentional. They also raised question about the inaction of the administration and the complainants regarding heaps of garbage of used bottles of wine, gutka packets and other similar things on and around the actual altars of Bhasa Shahid even after reports and photographs had been published in the local newspapers. They also said that the question of obscenity in art and literature is still controversial and there is no exact definition of the same. So there is no ground to demand arrest and to execute it. Moreover, Mr. Mukut Kakati was misusing his power at the instance of the influential persons. His letter to the CJM shows that he has no idea about the martyrs and the related phenomena. He only tried to extend the detention of the accused persons without any proper reason and with ill intention. Mr Kakati arrested the accused and kept them in detention in inhuman condition without maintaining proper legal process.

 BHRPC thinks that the sections of law that were invoked against the accused were not warranted by any thing published in the said magazine and as such the actions of police in registering the FIR, conducting raids, arresting the accused, keeping them in detention and attempt to mislead the courts with false statements amount to violations of fundamental rights under the Constitution of India and basic human rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966.

 BHRPC urges the authorities to provide adequate compensation to the victims for the physical and mental harassment and violations of their rights; initiation of disciplinary actions against the erring police personnel and guarantee of the safe exercise of right to freedom of expression and thought in Barak valley.

Assault on human rights defenders in Hailakandi, Assam

April 3, 2011

Human Rights Defenders Mr Choudhury Charan Gorh and Mr Shyama Prasad Kurmi were subjected to physical assault on 30 June 2009 in Hailakandi, Assam. Mr Choudhury Charan Gorh is the secretary of NGO HELP, a grass-roots organisation which monitors corruption in the local self-government (the Panchayati Raj) and works for the practical realisation of rural development. Mr Shyama Prasad Kurmi is also a member of NGO HELP.

On 30 June 2009, NGO HELP convened a public meeting to discuss the scale of corruption in the implementation of rural development schemes by the local government in Assam, in conjunction with the Mazuri Shramik Union, a local labour organisation which raises awareness concerning the development schemes of the Union government of India and the State Government of Assam. At approximately 3.00 pm, a group of armed men, carrying daggers, sticks and swords, broke up the meeting and assaulted the attendees indiscriminately. Choudhury Charan Gorh and Shyama Prasad Kurmi sustained severe injuries and were admitted to hospital. The identity of the armed men who assaulted them is known to the human rights defenders; they are believed to be connected to the president of Aenakhal Gaon Panchayat, the village level unit of the institution of Pachayati Raj.

The organisers of the public meeting had previously informed the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police of Hailakandi and Officer-in-Charge of Lala police station of the forthcoming meeting. They had also requested a police security presence for the meeting, fearing a potential disruption from those involved in corruption in local development schemes. No response to this security request was received. Following the attack, the organisers of the meeting filed a complaint with the Lala Police Station. As yet, no visible action has been taken by the police to investigate the case or bring the perpetrators to justice.

BHRPC informed Front Line regarding the incident with in turn issued an Urgent Appeal on 13 July 2009. BHRPC also wrote to the Prime Minsiter of India and Prime Ministers’s Office forwarded the complaint to the Chief Secretary of Assam for taking actions. But no actions were taken despite several reminders.

BHRPC wrote to the Uinted Nations Special Rapporteur on the situations of human rights defenders on 14 January 20011.

False cases filed against HRDs

April 3, 2011

Sadique Mohammed Laskar, member of BHRPC, Shahidul Hoque Laskar, Secretary of Kishan Bikash Samity (KBS), a voluntary community organisation based at Banskandi in Cachar district and its other members were implicated in a false case, their houses were raided and local people of Banskandi were harassed in June 2008.

Kishan Bikash Samity works to expose corrupt officials using the Right to Information Act, 2005. On 4 June 2008 members of the public and students demonstrated front of the office of the Block Development Officer (BDO) of Banskandi to protest against corrupt practices of the officials regarding implementation of the Government welfare schemes exposed by the KBS. Police registered a false case against the demonstrators under section 143, 447, 341, 353, 383, 379 and 487 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 vide Lakhipur Police Station Case No. 148/08 including 5 members of KBS and 30 other unidentified persons of the locality. Police started wholesale raiding and harassing of the local people. When Sadique Mohhamed Laskar on behalf BHRPC started documenting the rights violations of people during the raids, police threaten him and even raided his house, despite absence of his name in the First Information Report (FIR).

There was preparation to arrest Shahidul Hoque Laskar in order to prevent him to appear as a petitioner before the State Information Commission, Assam (SIC) in an appeal case against the BDO, Banskandi. Sahidul Haque Laskar applied for pre-arrest bail in the Gauhati High Court apprehending arrest though he was not named in the FIR. High Court granted him pre-arrest bail vide B A No. 2447 of 2008. The High Court accepted that the ground for apprehension of arrest is the date of hearing on 17 July 2008 before the SIC and mentioned in the bail order that bail should be granted so as he can appear before the SIC on that day.

The false case is still pending with the police. No report was submitted to the court. No investigation was conducted to unearth the conspiracy to harass and intimidate the HRDs and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

BHRPC wrote to the Uinted Nations Special Rapporteur on the situations of human rights defenders on 14 January 20011.

Harassment and intimidation of BHRPC member by police

April 3, 2011

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar, member of the legal team of BHRPC was detained by Assam police on 4 December 2008 with a view to intimidate him. In the evening at approximately 8:00 pm, he was in an internet cafe in Guwahati when a group of armed police officers from Dispur Police Station, led by the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), entered the café and approached him. The DSP demanded that Waliullah Ahmed Laskar show him what he was downloading, which he did. Waliullah Ahmed Laskar was then held in a police Jeep for 30 minutes while the DSP examined his computer. The DSP and police officers then searched Waliullah Ahmed Laskar´s room and confiscated all of his belongings pertaining to the BHRPC which included documents, his brief cases, laptop, USB flash drive and mobile phone.

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar was subsequently taken to Dispur Police Station where he was questioned by a team from the Subsidiary Investigating Bureau and the Intelligence Bureau until approximately 2:00am on 5 December 2008. Waliullah Ahmed Laskar was subsequently kept in detention while the police informed him that “experts” from outside of Assam were checking the items which had been confiscated. At 9:00 pm of the 5 December 2008 his items were returned to him and he was released without charge.

Prior to his arrest and interrogation Waliullah Ahmed Laskar had been assigned by the BHRPC to prepare a draft Project Proposal on ” The Right to Freedom from Torture and Violence: Compatibility of Indian Law and Practice with International Human Rights Standards (focusing on the North East Indian situation)”. As a member of BHRPC, he also participates in the ongoing policy making deliberations of the organization. For these reasons Waliullah Ahmed Laskar had been using the internet as his primary source of information concerning violence, torture, terrorism, counter terrorism, policing, human rights etc. The Dispur police allegedly informed Waliullah Ahmed Laskar that the basis of his interrogation was his research of information on these topics by internet.

BHRPC informed Front Line– the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders based Dublin about the incident. Front Line accordingly issued an Urgent Appeal on 10 December, 2008.

BHRPC also submitted a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) on 26 December, 2008 along with an Affidavit by Waliullah Ahmed Laskar. The NHRC registered a case as Case No.158/3/24/08-09/OC and transmitted the complaint to the Director General of Police, Assam on 15 January, 2009 asking him to dispose of the case.

The complaint was against the Assam Police and the NHRC transmitted it to the same Assam Police for disposal. Naturally they did not take any substantial actions. They submitted a report to the government and the NHRC absolving both Waliullah Ahmed Laskar and themselves without any proper enquiry trying to justify their actions on the ground of public welfare. No further actions were taken by either the government or the NHRC despite several reminder from the BHRPC. The case is still pending.

BHRPC wrote to the Uinted Nations Special Rapporteur on the situations of human rights defenders on 14 January 20011.

Urgent Appeal: Assam police harass and threaten a rape victim

February 10, 2011

BARAK HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION COMMITTEE

Urgent Appeal No. BHRPC Case No 60/2011/UA/23/210 Dated: 10 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 assault of a 24 year-old-girl and her mother by the police 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

INDIA: Assam police harass and threatened a rape victim

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-024-2011

To take actions please click here

8 February 2011
——————————————————
INDIA: Assam police harass and threatened a rape victim

ISSUES: Violence against woman; rape; assault; police corruption
——————————————————

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), Assam concerning the case of rape of a 20 year-old-woman by her father-in-law. The victim was raped because she belongs to a poor family and was unable to provide the dowry during the time of her marriage. A complaint was then lodged to the local police station but to-date no action has been taken. Instead, the victim was threatened by the investigating officer to withdraw the complaint.

CASE NARRATIVE:

On December 2009, Mrs. Sonia (name changed) aged about twenty years was married to Mr. Pabitra Das. Sonia’s husband Pabitra does not have any proper source of income for their livelihood. He sells low quality ornaments in remote villages. Sonia’s father-in-law, Mr. Haricharan Das is a widower and works as a teacher in a government school.

Sonia belongs to a poor family and her father Mr. Dondodhar Das could not provide a sufficient dowry during the time of her marriage. Sonia alleged that after four/five months after her marriage, hers husband’s family demanded Rs. 50,000/= and a bicycle as dowry. When Sonia expressed her father’s inability to provide the demanded dowry, the entire husband family gradually started subjecting Sonia to mental and physical harassment. This was perpetrated mainly by Sonia’s father-in-law.

Sonia’s husband, and his unemployed younger brother Mr. Jayanta Das, used to leave home early in the morning everyday in search of work and return around 10pm. Sonia alleged that her father-in-law Haricharan beat her one day in his son’s absence and forced Sonia to have sex with him. This incident left Sonia traumatised. Sonia was at her wit’s end and could not tell anyone out of shame, disgust and fear. She has since been compelled to have sex with her father-in-law on several occasions.

The conditions became unbearable for Sonia that finally she told everything to her husband. Pabitra, instead of trusting his wife, hurled verbal abuse at her and accused Sonia of trying to malign his father and his relatives with the intension of breaking up the family. Sonia could no longer endure the agony and anguish and returned to her maternal home on July 2010. Sonia told her father and mother about the demand of dowry, ill-treatment and cruelty towards her but did not tell them of rape and molestation by her father-in-law.

Sonia’s father Dondodhar thought it was a normal wear and tear of conjugal life or at most a little ill-treatment for dowry. Dondodhar insisted that his daughter reconcile with her husband and their family so that She could start a new life, forgetting the past incidents. Dondodhar along with other village elders went to Haricharan’s house to discuss all matters other than the sexual harassment of his daughter Sonia. Sonia was then told by her father to stay with her husband and their family after the discussion.

It is reported that on September 2010 Haricharan with his whole family moved to Dhoomkar village from Salimabad. The place was new for Sonia and she did not know anyone. At this juncture, Haricharan once again started sexually assaulting his daughter-in-law. When Sonia could no longer bear to keep quiet and suffer in silence she told her husband on 29 November 2010. Pabitra became furious as he was already convinced of his father’s innocence and started beating Sonia. Sonia’s father-in-law and brother-in-law, Jayanta, joined him in assaulting Sonia.

Sonia alleged that the three men were trying to kill her and later that night at around 10 pm managed to escape the house. The father and sons tried to follow Sonia but could not trace her in the darkness. Mr. Somorendra Deb, resident of Dhoomkar and other passers-by including Ms. Ratna Das, President of Korkori Gaon Panchayat and Mr. Narat Lal Das, Vice-president of Korkori Gaon Panchayat found Sonia, gave her shelter, and informed the local police.

It is reported that on 30 November 2010 Sonia lodged a complaint to the Kalain police outpost but it was not registered in the police station. Therefore, Sonia filed two other complaints in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Silchar on 6 December 2010. The CJM clubbed both the complaints together and directed the Katigorah Police Station (PS) to register a First Information Report (FIR) and investigate the case.

Thereafter, an FIR was registered at Katigorah PS as Case no. 666/10 under Sections 376 (punishment for rape) and 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) against Sonia’s husband Pabitra, brother-in-law Jayanta and Haricharan, father-in-law. Mr. Prabhat Saikia, a Sub-Inspector of Police and In-Charge of Kalain police outpost was made the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case.

However, the police did not take any actions to investigate the case based on the FIR. Instead, the IO met the victim, Sonia, and pressured her to withdraw the complaint and to settle the matter amicably. Sonia alleged that the IO threatened to render her family beggars and homeless if she continued to pursue the case in courts or any other legal forums.

On 30 December 2010, Sonia wrote a written complaint to the district Superintendent of Police (SP) about the misconduct of the IO and requested the SP to intervene in investigating her case. There has been no response or action from the SP as yet on Sonia’s complaint.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the authorities mentioned below expressing your concern in this case and urge them to ensure legal redress to the victim.

The AHRC is writing separate letter of concern to the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, calling for an intervention in this case.

To take actions please click here

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

INDIA: The rape of a 20-year-old woman must be investigated and prosecuted

Name of victim: Mrs. Sonia (name changed) aged about 20 years, resident of village Korkori Part-III, Kalain under Katigorah Police Station, Cachar district, Assam state
Names of alleged perpetrators:
1. Mr. Pabitra Das, Sonia’s husband
2. Mr. Haricharan Das, Sonia’s father-in-law
3. Mr. Jayanta Das, Sonia’s brother-in-law
All residents of Dhoomkar village under the jurisdiction of Katigorah Police Station, Cachar district
Date of incident: Between July – November 2010
Place of incident: Dhoomkar village, Kalain under Katigorah Police Station, Cachar district

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the rape case of Sonia (name changed), a 20 year old woman by her father-in-law. I am informed that Sonia was raped because she belongs to a poor family and her family could not provide the dowry during the time of her marriage. Sonia was married on December 2009 to Mr. Pabitra Das. Sonia alleged that after four to five months after her marriage her husband’s family demanded Rs.50,000 and a bicycle as dowry. When Sonia expressed her father’s inability to provide the demanded dowry, the entire husband family gradually started subjecting Sonia to mental and physical harassment. This was being perpetrated mainly by Sonia’s father-in-law.

I am informed that Sonia’s husband Pabitra sells low quality ornaments in remote villages to earn money. Pabitra and his younger brother Mr. Jayanta Das used to leave home early in the morning and return around 10pm everyday in search of a job. Sonia’s father-in-law Mr. Haricharan Das is a widower and works as a teacher in a government school. Sonia alleged that her father-in-law beat her one day on his son’s absence and force her in sexual submission. This incident left Sonia shattered at the core and traumatised. Since then Sonia was at her wit’s end and could not tell anyone out of shame, disgust and fear and was compelled to have sex with her father-in-law several times.

I am informed that the conditions became unbearable for Sonia that she told everything to her husband. Pabitra, instead of trusting his wife, he verbally abused her and accused Sonia of trying to malign his father and relatives with the intension of breaking up the family. Sonia could no longer endure the agony and anguish and returned to her maternal home on July 2010. Sonia told her father and mother about the demand of dowry, ill-treatment and cruelty towards her but did not tell them of rape and molestation by her father-in-law. Sonia’s father Dondodhar thought it was a normal wear and tear of conjugal life or at most a little ill-treatment for dowry.

I am informed that Dondodhar insisted on his daughter Sonia to reconcile with her husband and their family so that Sonia can start a new life forgetting the past incidents. Dondodhar along with other village elders went to Haricharan’s house and discuss all matters other than the sexual harassment of his daughter Sonia. Sonia was then told by her father to stay with her husband and their family after the discussion.

I am informed that on September 2010 Haricharan with his whole family has moved to Dhoomkar village from Salimabad. The place was new for Sonia and the neighbours were unacquainted. At this juncture, Haricharan once again started sexually assaulting his daughter-in-law Sonia. When Sonia could no longer bear to keep quiet and suffer, she told her husband on 29 November 2010. Pabitra, Sonia’s husband, got furious as he was already convinced by his father and started beating Sonia. Pabitra’s father Haricharan and his younger brother Jayanta joined him in assaulting Sonia.

Sonia alleged that she was trying to kill by father-sons trio during an assault. Sonia managed to escape her husband’s house the same night around 10pm. The father-sons trio followed Sonia but could not trace her in the darkness. Mr. Somorendra Deb, resident of Dhoomkar and other passers-by including Ms. Ratna Das, President of Korkori Gaon Panchayat and Mr. Narat Lal Das, Vice-president of Korkori Gaon Panchayat found Sonia, gave her shelter, and informed the local police.

I am informed that on 30 November 2010 Sonia lodged a complaint to the Kalain police outpost but it was not registered in the police station. Therefore, Sonia filed two other complaints in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Silchar on 6 December 2010. The CJM clubbed both the complaints together and directed the Katigorah Police Station (PS) to register a First Information Report (FIR) and investigate the case.

I am informed that thereafter an FIR was registered at Katigorah PS as Case no. 666/10 under Sections 376 (punishment for rape) and 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) against Sonia’s husband Pabitra, brother-in-law Jayanta and Haricharan, father-in-law. Mr. Prabhat Saikia, a Sub-Inspector of Police and In-Charge of Kalain police outpost was made the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case.

However, the police did not take any action to investigate the case based on the FIR. Instead, the IO met the victim, Sonia, and pressured her to withdraw the complaint and to settle the matter amicably. Sonia alleged that the IO threatened to render her family beggars and homeless if she continued to pursue the case in courts or any other legal forums.

I am informed that again on 30 December 2010, Sonia wrote a written complaint to the district Superintendent of Police (SP) about the misconduct of the IO and to seek his intervention in investigating her case. There has been no response or action from the SP as yet on Sonia’s complaint.

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

1. The police must immediately record the statement of the victim;
2. Should there be any request from the victim for protection against further threat, the police must provide the same to the victim;
3. The statements of other witnesses in the incident are to be recorded by the police without any further delay;
4. The suspicious conduct of the police officer who is in charge of the investigation of the case must be investigated by a superior officer and if the inquiry finds that the officer is at fault, he must be punished;
5. A female officer must investigate the case

Yours sincerely,

—————-
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. 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

2. Mrs. Krishna Tirath
Minister of State
Ministry of Women and Child Development
Shastri Bhavan, Jeevandeep Building
New Delhi
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 23074052, 23074053, 23074054

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

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

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

Thank you.

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

To take actions please click here

Posted on 2011-02-08

AHRC URL: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2011/3649/

URGENT APPEAL: Police assaulted mother and daughter during mid-night at home

February 1, 2011

BARAK HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION COMMITTEE

Urgent Appeal No. BHRPC Case No 59/2010/UA/23/210 Dated: 01 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 assault of a 24 year-old-girl and her mother by the police 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 the Urgent Appeal

INDIA: Assam police assaulted mother and daughter during mid-night at home

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-019-2011

Click here to support the appeal

1 February 2011
——————————————————
INDIA: Assam police assaulted mother and daughter during mid-night at home

ISSUES: Assault; Threats; Witness protection; Police inaction and negligence
——————————————————
Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), Assam concerning the case of assault of a 24 year-old-girl and her mother by the police in Cachar district, Assam. This incident occurred at midnight when the police were searching for a fugitive, Mr. Hussain Ahmed Laskar. Police then threatened the victims when a written complaint was filed with the local police station. Insofar, the local police have taken no actions on the victim’s complaint.

CASE NARRATIVE:

At midnight on 15 December 2010, a team of police officers knocked on the door of Ms. Hasina Begum Laskar’s house while they were sleeping. Hasina, aged about 24 years, lives with her 60-year-old mother, Mrs. Alfatun Nessa Laskar. Her father has passed away and the family lives at Barjatrapur Village under the jurisdiction of Borkhola Police Station in Cachar district of Assam.

Hasina asked the persons to identify themselves and the reason for the visit. The officers told her that they were from the police and wanted to enquire about a fugitive name Mr. Hussain Ahmed Laskar. Hasina replied that she did not know the person. The police officers then demanded that Hasina open the door and when she refused they entered the house forcefully after breaking open the door.

It is reported that Sub-Inspector Mr. Ibrahim Khalilullah Kabir of Borkhola Police Station in Cachar district of Assam state led the police officers. Ibrahim is also the Officer-in-Charge of Bhangarpar Police Out-Post of Borkhola Police Station. Hasina alleges that the police officer was accompanied by his fellow constables and not any woman police officer, as is required by the law.

Officer, Ibrahim, asked Hasina a few questions about the fugitive Hussain before suddenly grabbing Hasina’s hand. Hasina claims that the officer pulled her closer as if he had intentions to sexually harass her. Hasina resisted the officer’s advances and that resulted in a scuffle. Hasina then started screaming for help. Upon hearing Hasina, her mother woke up. When the mother came into the room where Hasina and the officer were struggling she tried to stand in between the officer and her daughter, in order to protect her daughter and free her from the officer. The officers infuriated by the resistance of the two women, started assaulting them. Hasina’s mother vomited at the time, after suffering injuries from the assault and undoubtedly from shock due to fear. Then she fainted and fell to the ground.

It is reported that Hasina’s neighbours started gathering near the house after hearing the cries of Hasina and her mother. The police left the house after seeing the people. Hasina’s neighbours dialed an emergency helpline number 108 (free medical services provided by the government) and explained the incidents briefly. An ambulance came and picked-up Hasina’s mother and took her to the Silchar Medical College Hospital. Hasina’s mother was later discharged from the hospital but is still under medication.

On 18 December 2010, Hasina lodged a written complaint with the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Borkhola Police Station, Cachar district, Assam. However, following this, Hasina alleged that an unknown person called her mobile and threatened that if she proceeded against the police officer, she would suffer grave consequences. Again on the following day, the day Hasina lodged a complaint to the SP, she received another called from unknown person at 11.03am on her mobile and the same threat was repeated. Hasina received both incoming call on her mobile from the same number +91 9859628761. To-date, the SP has taken no action on Hasina’s complaint.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the authorities mentioned below, in particular to the Home Minister of Assam, expressing your concern in the case. The statements of the victims and witnesses must be recorded without any delay. The AHRC is writing separate letter of concern to the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women calling for an intervention in the case.

To support this appeal, please click here

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

INDIA: Assault of a 24 years old girl and her mother must be investigated

Name of victim: Ms. Hasina Begum Laskar, resident of Village Barjatrapur under the jurisdiction of Borkhola Police Station in Cachar district of Assam state
Names of alleged perpetrators: Mr. Ibrahim Khalilullah Kabir, Sub-Inspector of Borkhola Police Station and his fellow constables
Date of incident: 15 December 2010
Place of incident: Barjatrapur Village, Cachar district, Assam state

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the assault of a 24-year-old girl and her mother. I am informed that on 15 December 2010, at midnight, a team of police officers knocked on the door of Ms. Hasina Begum Laskar’s house while they were sleeping. Hasina lives with her 60-year-old mother, Mrs. Alfatun Nessa Laskar. Her father has passed away and the family lives at Barjatrapur Village under the jurisdiction of Borkhola Police Station in Cachar district of Assam.

I am informed that Hasina woke up hearing the knocking at the door asked the persons to identify and for why they are at their home. The officers told her that they were from the police and wanted to enquire about a fugitive name Mr. Hussain Ahmed Laskar. Hasina replied that she did not know the person. The police officers then demanded that Hasina open the door and when she refused they entered the house forcefully after breaking open the door.

It is reported that Sub-Inspector Mr. Ibrahim Khalilullah Kabir of Borkhola Police Station in Cachar district of Assam state led the police officers. Ibrahim is also the Officer-in-Charge of Bhangarpar Police Out-Post of Borkhola Police Station. Hasina alleges that the police officer was accompanied by his fellow constables and not any woman police officer, as is required by the law.

I am informed that officer, Ibrahim, asked Hasina a few questions about the fugitive Hussain before suddenly grabbing Hasina’s hand. Hasina claims that the officer pulled her closer as if he had intentions to sexually harass her. Hasina resisted the officer’s advances and that resulted in a scuffle. Hasina then started screaming for help. Upon hearing Hasina, her mother woke up. When the mother came into the room where Hasina and the officer were struggling she tried to stand in between the officer and her daughter, in order to protect her daughter and free her from the officer. The officers infuriated by the resistance of the two women, started assaulting them. Hasina’s mother vomited at the time, after suffering injuries from the assault and undoubtedly from shock due to fear. Then she fainted and fell to the ground.

It is reported that Hasina’s neighbours started gathering near the house after hearing the cry from Hasina and her mother. The police left the house after seeing the people. Hasina’s neighbours dialed an emergency helpline number 108 (free medical services provided by the government) and explained the incidents briefly. An ambulance came and picked-up Hasina’s mother and took her to the Silchar Medical College Hospital. Hasina’s mother was later discharged from the hospital but is still under medication.

On 18 December 2010, Hasina lodged a written complaint with the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Borkhola Police Station, Cachar district, Assam. However, following this, Hasina alleged that an unknown person called her mobile and threatened that if she proceeded against the police officer, she would suffer grave consequences. Again on the following day, the day Hasina lodged a complaint to the SP, she received another called from unknown person at 11.03am on her mobile and the same threat was repeated. Hasina received both incoming call on her mobile from the same number +91 9859628761. To-date, the SP has taken no action on Hasina’s complaint.

I ask for your immediate intervention in order to ensure that an investigation is carried out into this incident.

Yours sincerely,

—————-
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. 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

2. Mr. P.K. Bhuyan, APS
District Superintendent of Police
Borkhola Police Station
Cachar district, Assam
INDIA

3. Mrs. Krishna Tirath
Minister of State
Ministry of Women and Child Development
Shastri Bhavan, Jeevandeep Building
New Delhi
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 23074052, 23074053, 23074054

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

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

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

Thank you.

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

Click here to take actions

Posted on 2011-02-01

See the appeal at its original location

Urgent Appeal: Woman forced to quit job and denied justice after sexual harassment in Assam

January 25, 2011

BARAK HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION COMMITTEE

Urgent Appeal No. BHRPC Case No 58/2010/UA/23/210 Dated: 25 January 2010

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. Please take the suggested actions.

Yours

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

Urgent Appeal Desk

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee

Rongpur, Silchar-9, Assam, India

Click here to send an appeal to the authorities

 

INDIA: Woman forced to quit job and denied justice after sexual harassment

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-011-2011

25 January 2011
——————————————————
INDIA: Woman forced to quit job and denied justice after sexual harassment

ISSUES: Violence against women; Sexual harassment; Police corruption
——————————————————

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) concerning the case of Ms. Lara (name changed) a victim of sexual harassment from Assam state. It is reported that the victim had to resign from her job since her superior colleagues tried to sexually molest her. On the day of her resignation, the suspected officers tried to rape the victim at their office. The police, despite having registered a case against the suspects are now demanding the victim to forgive the suspects and settle the case.

CASE DETAILS:

It is reported that on 2 December 2010 at about 2.30pm, Lara’s two senior colleagues, Mr. Sandip Sarkar and Mr. Rajeeb Nath, assaulted, molested and attempted to rape Lara at the office of her company. Lara worked as an office assistant and a computer operator at Rose Valley Chain Marketing System Ltd., at Bhaga Branch in Assam state. The incident happened at the regional office of the company, where she was asked to report by her seniors. The company where Lara was employed is a subsidiary of Rose Valley Group with Registered Head Office at RGM-25/3010, Raghunathpur, VIP Road, Kolkata – 700059, West Bengal.

Sarkar is the Assistant Regional Manager at the regional office at Silchar, Assam state. Sarkar called Lara on 18 November 2009 at about 9pm on her mobile telephone and demanded sexual favours from Lara. Lara refused and requested Sarkar not to use such language with her in the future. Due to this, Lara alleges that Sarkar deliberately transferred her from Aizawl branch, Mizoram state to an office in Bhaga which is nearer to the regional office (about 45 Kilometres from Silchar).

Lara alleges that Sarkar then repeatedly called Lara and continued using unsolicited and sexually implicit language in the conversations, despite Lara’s request to stop it. Lara claims that Sarkar also tried requesting Lara’s colleague, Ms. Dolly (name changed), to convince Lara to pay heed to Sarkar’s unsolicited demands. Both Lara and Dolly being subordinate staff were helpless and worse, it was impossible for them to avoid Sarkar’s calls.

On one occasion Sarkar asked Lara and Dolly to come at Silchar Branch at 4pm. Lara and Dolly informed Sarkar that the last bus from Silchar to Bhaga stops at 4pm. Sarkar then offered Lara and Dolly to stay at a hotel at Silchar. However, they refused to travel to Silchar on that occasion.

Both Lara and Dolly complained to the Senior Marketing Officer Mr. Mrinal Kanti Dutta about the harassment to which Sarkar subjected them to. Dutta enquired into the matter. Instead of taking action against Sarkar, Dutta and the vigilance officer of the company requested Lara and Dolly to forgive Sarkar for the sake of the company’s name and goodwill.

Lara alleges that due to the complaint, Sarkar withheld her salary increment by misusing his senior position in the company. It is alleged that soon another senior colleague, Mr. Rajeeb Nath, became Sarkar’s accomplice in his misadventures against Lara. Nath contacted Lara and informed her that her pending salary increment would be released only if Lara agreed to Sarkar’s unsolicited requests for sexual gratification. Nath also informed Lara that she would be posted to her hometown Aizawl branch should she comply. Lara once again refused to the demands. Sarkar and Nath continued harassing Lara regularly over the mobile telephone continuously then on.

The situation gradually became so unbearable to Lara that she decided to resign. Lara submitted her resignation letter on 2 November 2010 to Mr. Jyoti Prasad Mohan, the Regional Manager, requesting the company to relieve her from the job on 30 November 2010. The same day, Lara went to the regional office at Silchar for the final settlement of her salary and other dues including the amount due to her from the Employees’ Provident Fund. Lara reached the regional office at Silchar by noon and found the Regional Manager not at the office.

Sarkar was in-charge of the regional office in the absence of the Regional Manager. It is alleged that Sarkar intentionally kept Lara waiting outside his cabin until 2.30pm. When Lara entered the cabin and took a seat, Sarkar called Nath over his extension to visit him. Nath came to the room immediately. Thereafter, both Sarkar and Nath asked Lara to stay in a hotel and have sex with them. They also told Lara that all her problems would be resolved if she obliged.

Lara sternly rejected the proposal and stood up from the chair. Suddenly, both Sarkar and Nath jumped over Lara and assaulted her physically. Both tried to overpower Lara and rape her then and there. Lara gathered strength and started shouting for help. Other colleagues in the office assembled near the room after hearing Lara shouting for help. However, Sarkar and Nath managed to escape from the office. Lara alleges that Sarkar was vigorously trying to remove her shirt. While they escaped, Sarkar snatched Lara’s gold chain that she was wearing. In the attempt to snatch the chain, Sarkar tore off Lara’s shirt. Lara alleges that the chain is worth Rs. 15,000.00.

Immediately after the incident, Lara filed a complaint at the Vairangte Police Station in Kolasib district, Mizoram state. The officer-in-charge (OC) forwarded the complaint to the Silchar Sadar Police Station on 3 December 2010. It was reported that on 4 December 2010 the OC of Silchar Sadar Police Station registered a case, number 2254 under Sections 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman) and 427 (mischief causing damage) read with Section 34 (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) against Sarkar and Nath.

It is also reported that Mr. Puia, Sub-Inspector of police is the Investigating Officer (IO) in the case. Lara alleges that the IO did not show any interest in investigating the case. Instead, the IO made several calls to Lara from various telephones asking her whether she wanted to rejoin the company or would join any other work. The IO expressed his readiness to help Lara in either way. According to Lara, the IO made his last call from the mobile number +91-94352 95037 at 6.27pm on 18 January 2011.

Lara suspects that the police is under the influence of Sarkar and Nath, for which they are using their position in the company. Lara alleges that the case would never be investigated and even today the police have failed to properly record her statement or to question other witnesses to the incident. Lara also fears that she will receive no further protection from her assailants, should they try to hurt her further or threaten her.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please send letters to the authorities named below expressing your concern in this case and urge them to ensure legal redress to the victim.

The AHRC is also sending a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, calling for an intervention in this case.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

INDIA: The molestation and attempted to rape of a working woman must be investigated

Name of victim: Ms. Lara (name changed), former employee of Rose Valley Chain Marketing System Ltd., Bhaga Branch in Assam state
Name of alleged perpetrators:
1. Mr. Sandip Sarkar, Assistant Regional Manager, Rose Valley Chain Marketing System Ltd., Silchar, Assam state
2. Mr. Rajeeb Nath, Officer, Rose Valley Chain Marketing System Ltd., Silchar, Assam state
Date of incident: 02 December 2010
Place of incident: Regional office of Rose Valley Chain Marketing System Ltd. at Silchar, Assam

I am writing to express my concern about the case of sexual molestation and attempted rape reported to me, wherein it is alleged that the investigating officer is not showing any interest to investigate the case properly. I am informed that the accused in the case sexually molested and assaulted the victim in the case, Lara, on 2 November 2010 at the regional office of the company where she once worked.

The victim in the case, Lara, worked as an office assistant and a computer operator at Rose Valley Chain Marketing System Ltd. at Bhaga Branch of Assam state. The company is a subsidiary of Rose Valley Group of Companies with Registered Head Office at RGM-25/3010, Raghunathpur, VIP Road, Kolkata – 700059, West Bengal.

I am informed that the main suspect in the case is Mr. Sandip Sarkar, an Assistant Regional Manager of the company stationed at the regional office in Silchar, Assam state. I am informed that Lara is accusing Sarkar that he had made several unsuccessful attempts to lure Lara into an illegal sexual relationship with him. For this, it is alleged that Sarkar misused his position at the office as an officer superior to Lara. I am informed that Sarkar transferred Lara to an office closer to the regional office where Sarkar is working. Lara also alleged that Sarkar had an accomplice in the crime, which is Mr. Rajeeb Nath, who is also a senior staff member of the same company. Lara alleges that on 18 November 2009 at about 9pm Sarkar contacted Lara over her mobile telephone and demanded sexual favours. I am informed that Lara refused outright and requested Sarkar not to use such language with her in the future.

I am informed that Lara’s transfer from Aizawl branch, Mizoram state to Bhaga was a deleberate action by Sarkar. I am informed that Sarkar then repeatedly called Lara over her telephone and demanded her to sleep with Sarkar. It is alleged that Sarkar even asked another female colleague, Ms. Dolly (name changed), to convince Lara that she should pay heed to Sarkar’s demands for sexual favours. I am informed that later Sarkar started receiving help from Nath to contact Lara and threaten her that should she continue to refuse Sarkar’s request she would have a tough time at the job.

I am informed that both Lara and Dolly complained to the Senior Marketing Officer, Mr. Mrinal Kanti Dutta, about the harassment against which there was an inquiry. However, the officer refused to act against Sarkar and Nath. Instead, the officer after the inquiry requested Lara and Dolly to forgive Sarkar for the sake of the company’s name and goodwill.

I am informed that Sarkar thereafter refused to pay salary increments to Lara. Dejected and abused, Lara resigned from the job on 2 November 2010. On the same day, Lara went to the regional office at Silchar for the final settlement of her salary and other dues including the Employees Provident Fund. It is reported that it is when Lara was summoned to Sarkar’s room on that day that Sarkar and Nath tried to rape Lara inside the office room. I am informed that other staffs members present in the office are witnesses to the event, at least to the extent that they had gathered around the room in which Lara was molested when they heard her cries for help. It is also reported that Sarkar, while he fled from the room snatched Lara’s chain worth Rs. 15,000.00.

I am informed that the complaint filed by Lara immediately after the incident at the Vairangte Police Station in Kolasib district, Mizoram was forwarded to Silchar Sadar Police Station on 3 December 2010. It was reported that on 4 December 2010 the OC of Silchar Sadar Police Station registered a case number 2254 under Sections 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman) and 427 (mischief causing damage) read with section 34 (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) against Sarkar and Nath.

However, instead of investigating the case, the OC is trying to persuade Lara to settle the matter. I am informed that Lara is now certain that her case would not be investigated and that Sarkar and Nath are using their influence and money to prevent the police from taking any action in the case. It is also reported that Lara is afraid that Sarkar or Nath will hurt Lara and that the police will provide no protection to her should something like that happen.

I am also informed that in a case decided by the Supreme Court of India, there are strict laws to be complied by the employers as well as the government to ensure safety of women from sexual harassment in places of work. Quite obviously Lara’s case is a direct contradiction of the Supreme Court’s directives in the Vishaka case.

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

1. The police must immediately record the statement of the victim;
2. Should there be any request from the victim for protection against further threat, the police must provide the same to the victim;
3. The statements of other witnesses in the incident are to be recorded by the police without any further delay;
4. The suspicious conduct of the police officer who is in charge of the investigation of the case must be investigated by a superior officer and if the inquiry finds that the officer is at fault, he must be punished;
5. A female officer must investigate the 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. Chief Secretary
Assam Secretariat, Dispur
Guwahati-6, Assam
INDIA
Fax: +91 361 2260900
Email: psccy_it@assam.nic.in

3. Mr. G M Srivastava
Director General of Police
Assam, Ulubari
Guwahati-7, Assam
INDIA

4. Mr. PU Lalthanhawla
Chief Minister of Mizoram
A/14, Zarkawt, Aizawl, Mizoram
INDIA
Fax: +91 389 2322245

5. Mr. R. Lalzirliana
Home Minister of Mizoram
Armed Veng “N”, Aizawl
Mizoram
INDIA

6. Mrs. Krishna Tirath
Minister of State
Ministry of Women and Child Development
Shastri Bhavan, Jeevandeep Building
New Delhi
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 24654849, 24654667, 24616466

Thank you.

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

Send an appeal

Posted on 2011-01-25

A working woman harassed, molested and forced to quit her job and then denied justice

January 18, 2011


Download the complete report

A working woman was harassed sexually in work place by her senior colleagues in Assam, India. The victim, a computer operator of a private company, was subjected to a prolonged harassment, molestation and attempted rape. No actions were taken on her complaint by the higher officials of the company. The accused used their positions to make sure that she submitted herself to them and never complained against them. The situation became unbearable and she was compelled to quit the job. The company, however, did not pay her dues. A criminal case was registered by the police but no visible actions were taken. There is strong apprehension that justice would be denied and she would be subjected to further harassment by police.

Identification of the alleged victim(s):

Name: Ms. Esther Vanlalruati

Address: Village: Hospital Veng,

Police Station: Darlawn

District: Aizwal

Sate: Mizoram, India

Identification of the alleged perpetrators of the violation;

Name: 1. Mr. Sandip Sarkar

Assistant Regional Manager

2. Mr. Rajeeb Nath

Address: Regional Office

Rose Valley Chain Marketing System Limited

Shyama Prasad Road,

Shillongpatti, Silchar

Assam, India

A Subsidiary of Rose Valley Group of Companies with Registered  and Head Office at RGM-25/3010, Raghunathpur, VIP Road, Kolkata – 700059, West Bengal, India

Name: 3. Mr. Puiya

Designation: Sub Inspector of Police

Address: Silchar Sadar Police Station

Cachar, Assam, India

Date and place of incident:

Date: From 18 November 2009 at 09:00 pm still continuing

Place: Aizwal in Mizoram, Bhaga and Silchar in Assam, India

A detailed description of the circumstances of the incident in which the alleged violation occurred:

According to information received by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), Ms. Esther Vanlalruati of village Hospital Veng under police station Darlawn in the district of Aizwal in Mizoram state, had been working as office assistant and computer operator in a company named Rose Valley Chain Marketing System Ltd, a subsidiary of Rose Valley Group of Companies with Registered and Head Office at RGM-25/3010, Raghunathpur, VIP Road, Kolkata – 700059, West Bengal, since December 2007. At first she was working at Aizwal Branch (which situates in Mizoram state of North East India). At that time, the Assistant Regional Manager Mr. Sandip Sarkar from regional office at Shyama Prasad Road, Shillongpatti, Silchar in Assam used to call Ms. Vanlalruati over the telephone often and would use sexually coloured language. In the like manner, he called her on 18 November 2009 at 09:00 pm and this time he directly demanded her sexual favours. But she refused outright and requested him never to use such language with her in future.

Mr. Sandip Sarkar, however, procured transfer of Ms. Vanlalruati to Bhaga Branch which is nearer to the regional office at Silchar (about 45 kms). Mr. Sarkar increased the frequency of his call to her and continued using unsolicited and sexually coloured languages including direct demand for sexual favours. Moreover, he started calling her friend and colleague Ms. Hellen Lalramnuami and would request her to influence Ms Vanlalruati into sexual submission to him.  It was impossible for them to avoid his call because he was their boss.

Another day Mr. Sarkar asked them to come at Silchar Branch at 4 pm with intention to make them stay for the night. When they told him that they would not be able to return because plying of buses from Silchar to Bhaga would stop after around 4pm, he offered them to stay at a hotel at Silchar. However, they refused.

Both Ms. Vanlalruati and Ms Lalramnuami complained to the Senior Marketing Member Mr. Mrinal Kanti Dutta about the harassment to which they were subjected by Mr. Sarkar. Mr. Dutta enquired into the matter. Instead of taking actions against the accused, Mr. Dutta and vigilance officer of the company requested the victims to forgive Mr. Sarkar for the sake of the company’s name and fame.

In order to teach a lesson to the victims and pressure them into submission, Mr. Sarkar kept Ms. Vanlalruati’s increment of salary pending by misusing his position. Then another official Mr. Rajeeb Nath also became an accomplice of Mr. Sarkar. Mr. Nath contacted Ms. Vanlalruati and told her that all her increment would be released and she would also be posted at her home town Aizwal provided that she submitted herself to the demand of Mr. Sarkar. But she refused. Since then both Mr. Sarkar and Mr. Nath continued harassing the ladies regularly over the telephone.

The situation gradually became unbearable to Ms. Vanlalruati and she decided to quit the job. She submitted her resignation letter on 02 November, 2010 to Mr. Jyoti Prasad Mohan, the regional manager to be effective from on 30 November, 2010. On 2 December, 2010 she went to the regional office at Silchar for final settlement of her salary and other dues including Employees Provident Fund, Human Resource Assistance etc.

When she reached the regional office at Silchar at around 12 noon, she found the Regional Manager out of station. The main accused Mr. Sandip Sarkar was in charge of the office. Mr. Sarkar intentionally kept her waiting outside his cabin until 2:30 pm. When she entered the cabin and took her seat, he called Mr. Rajeeb Nath over the phone and the latter immediately entered the cabin. Both of them then asked her to stay in a hotel and have sex with them. If she obliged all her problems would be resolved, they told her. Ms. Vanlalruati sternly rejected this proposal and got up from the chair. Suddenly both of them jumped on her and assaulted her physically. They tried to overpower her and rape her then and there. She gathered strength and started shouting. Other office bearers assembled at the noise. Nevertheless, both the accused somehow managed to escape. Ms. Vanlalruati claimed that Mr. Sandip Sarkar was pulling her shirt and while he escaped he took her gold chain worth Rupees 15000/- (fifteen thousand) along with the upper part of her shirt.

Ms. Esther Vanlalruati filed a complaint at Vairengte Police Station (PS) in Kolasib district, Mizoram. The officer in charge (OC) forwarded it to the Silchar Sadar Police Station on 3 December, 2010 and the OC of this PS registered it as Case No. 2254 under sections 342, 354, 427 read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 dated 4 December 2010 against Mr. Sandip Sarkar and Mr. Rajib Nath. Sub Inspector of police Mr. Puia was made the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case. The victim claimed that the IO did not show any interest in investigating the case after only recording the statement of the victim. According to her, he also started annoying them. He made several calls to her from various mobile numbers, but did not want to talk about the case or investigation. He continued to ask her whether she wanted to rejoin the company or she would join any other work. He expressed his readiness to help her in either way. He last made a call from mobile number +919435295037 to Ms. Vanlalruati’s mobile number +9197774782396 at 6.27pm on 18 January 2011. This overzealousness of the officer made the victim suspicious of his motive, who is only interested in getting justice.