Posts Tagged ‘Sexual assault’

Rights group asks panel to recommend removal of sanction-requirement for prosecution for sexual offences

December 27, 2012

New Delhi: In its submission to the Justice Verma Committee set up in the wake of the gruesome rape on December 16th in New Delhi, Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) stated that at least 45 custodial rapes took place between 2002 and 2010 as per the complaints registered by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The NHRC registered two cases during 2009-2010, four cases during 2008-2009, 18 cases during 2007-2008, 10 cases during 2006-2007, five cases during 2005-2006, four cases during 2004-05, nil in 2003-04 and two cases during 2002-2003.

“These cases are tip of the iceberg and the law enforcement personnel enjoy virtual immunity as prior sanctioned is required for their prosecution even in cases of rape as per Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Section 6 of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act of 1958.” -stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

“The Justice Verma Committee must recommend removal of the requirement of prior sanction for persecution, suit or other legal proceeding against any offences relating to sexual assault.”-further added Mr Chakma.

Asian Centre for Human Rights also criticised the restrictive Terms of Reference of the Justice Verma Committee which has been asked to suggest possible amendments in the criminal laws to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing “sexual assault of extreme nature against women”.

“The Committee should bear in mind that failure of the law to take its own course against sexual assault, which may not necessarily of extreme nature, ultimately creates the environment where criminals dare to commit sexual assault of extreme nature. Women in India have been facing unprecedented sexual violence and the Committee must broaden the definition to capture all forms of sexual assault.”– also stated Mr Chakma.

Asian Centre for Human Rights recommended to the Justice Verma Committee to amend the Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Penal Code to define sexual assault as a violation of bodily integrity; amend Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (rape) and Section 354 (outraging modesty of women) to include a broad offence of sexual assault graded based on harm and to provide for punishment commensurate with the sexual assault; remove any requirement that sexual assault be committed by force or violence for enhanced punishment; remove any requirement of proof of penetration to establish sexual assault or rape; and to provide for enhanced punishment including “imprisonment until death” in aggravated sexual assault in aggravating circumstances including, but not limited to, the age of the survivor, the relationship of the perpetrator/s and survivor, the use or threat of violence, the presence/participation of multiple perpetrators, and grave physical or mental consequences of the attack on the victim.

[Ends]

(PRESS RELEASE issued on 26 December 2012 in New Delhi)

__________________________________________________________________________
[Should you require any further information or clarifications, please contact Mr Suhas Chakma at 9810893440]

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BHRPC comments on police report on rape of a patient by her doctor

May 12, 2012

 The Cachar district superintendent of police submitted a report to the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on allegations of rape of a patient by her doctor raised by the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC). Below are the comments of the BHRPC on the police report:

       1. The findings of the police investigation that the charge under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 against the accused/alleged violator is established as stated in the report of the district superintendent of police (SP), Cachar is substantially correct.

        2. The medical report can not be relied upon for a number of reasons:

                             i. There was inordinate delay in conducting the test;

                             ii. The report goes against the circumstantial evidences;

                            iii. The report goes against the accounts of the witnesses as recorded by the police;

                      iv. The element of sympathy of the doctors who conducted the test towards the doctor who is the alleged violator creeping in and vitiating the objectivity of the findings can not be ruled out as both of them are colleagues and belong to the same profession.

        3. The findings of the police is correct because there are supports and corroborations among the accounts given by the victim/survivor in her First Information Report (FIR), her statement before the judicial magistrate recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973 and the accounts of witnesses recoded by the police.

         4. As the report of the medical test is not reliable for the reasons stated above the claim in the report about the age of the victim/survivor being between 18 to 20 years can also not be relied upon.

      5. According to the statements of the victim/survivor in both the FIR and that which has been recorded under section 164 of the CrPC and the witness accounts, it appears that the victim was a minor at the time of violations of her rights.

       6. The facts and circumstances described in documents on record including the FIR, victim’s statement under section 164 of the CrPC, and the report of the SP clearly establish commission of offence of rape by the alleged violator upon the victim/survivor. Therefore, it is established that human rights of the survivor/victim have been violated.

     7. The filing of charge-sheet by the police will facilitate the criminal court to conduct trial on the criminal aspect of case in order only to fix criminal liability and proportionate penal measure called for under the law. It is not the domain of the trial court to consider human rights liability of the violator and remedies to the victim/survivor.

    8. Therefore, it comes under the jurisdiction of the Commission to fix human rights liability and more importantly to provide redress to the victim/survivor in terms of adequate compensation.

In view of the above submission, the BHRPC most humbly urges that the Commission may be pleased to:

  1. Recommend to the authorities to provide an adequate amount of compensation to the victim/survivor;
  2. While fixing the quantum of the compensation the Commission may take into consideration the aggravating factors involved in the case such as (a) that the alleged violator is a government servant paid from the state exchequer for acting as savoir for those who are suffering from physical distress; (b) that the victim/survivor went to the alleged violator in full trust as his position demands; (c) that the alleged violator took benefit of position of custodian of the victim/survivors at the moment of commission of the violating acts; (d) that the case has a clear custodial angle; (e) that the age and social and other circumstances of the victim/survivor are such that the minor girl has had an entire life full of colours but which has been destroyed beyond repair for no faults of hers and her life has become an undesirable and unbearable burden on her fragile shoulders; and
  3. Any other recommendations and/or actions as the Commission deems fit and proper for vindication of human rights of the victim/survivor and to meet ends of justice.

The statement of BHRPC on the matter can be viewed here.

Police report on alleged rape of a patient by her doctor in Assam

May 12, 2012

….

On perusal of relevant records of the case, it transpired that on last 27/11/2011 the complainant (name and address withheld by the BHRPC for protecting identity) lodged an FIR at Dholai PS interalia alleging that on the same day @ 4PM the complt. being accompanied by her sister in law (name withheld) had been to the chamber of Dr Dilip Paul at Sadagram (Dholai Bazar) where he refused to check her up. Instead, he asked her to be in his residential chamber for her check up and treatment. On her arrival at his residential chamber the accused doctor asked her to go inside while her sister in law was asked to wait outside. As soon as she entered the house, the accd. doctor closed the door and window from the outside and forcibly raped her.  Hence the case was registered and investigated.

In course of investigation the I/O examined the complt. (victim) and recorded her statement U/S 161 CrPC as well as recorded judicially U/S 164 CrPC. In both statements given to police and to the court, the complt. corroborated the gist of the FIR. The I/O also visited thePO, drew up sketch map. The I/O got the complt. medically examined at SMCH, Silchar and collected medical report where the concerned doctor of the SMCH, Silchar opined that (1) Evidence of recent sexual intercourse not detected (II) evidence of violent mark not detected in her private part and (III) her age is above 18 years and below 20 years. The I/O, also, in course of investigation examined the following witnesses who appeared to be acquainted to the fact or the case. Their statements were recorded U/S 161 CrPC.

WITNESS:

  1. (Name withheld by the BHRPC)
  2. (Name withheld by the BHRPC)
  3. (Name withheld by the BHRPC)
  4. Mrs Manjuma Sangami

The first three of the four witnesses examined above corroborated the gist of the FIR to the extent of their knowledge about the occurrence. The fourth witness Mrs Manjuma Sangmai being the wife of the accd. doctor relayed the story in her statement in the way to defend her accd. husband.

In course of investigation the accd. Dr Dilip Paul was arrested in connection with the case and examined and interrogated thoroughly vis-à-vis the charges leveled against him. Later on, he was released on bail as per the direction of the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court. During the investigation the charge under section 376 IPC found established against the accd. Dr Dilip Paul. Hence charge-sheet was already submitted against him on 13/03/12.

………

Sd/

Superintendent of Police

Cachar, Silchar

Date: 17/03/12

(This report (vide No. G/SR/1281 dated 16/03/12) was submitted to the Deputy Registrar of the Assam Human Rights Commission in response to the notice issued by the AHRC for report on the complaint filed by the BHRPC and has been registered vide AHRC Case No. 302/2/11-12.)

(In response to a letter of the Deputy Registrar, AHRC, the BHRPC submitted its comments on the report which is available here and BHRPC statement can be viewed here.

Assam police charge a government doctor of raping his patient

May 12, 2012

Press briefing

For immediate release

Assam police charge a government doctor of raping his patient

The police inAssam have filed a charge-sheet in the court against a doctor for raping his patient. The charge-sheet under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 has been filed by the officer-in-charge of the Dholai police station (PS) on 13 March 2012 at the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate in the district of Cachar after investigation of a case filed by a minor girl on 27 November, 2011. This is disclosed recently by the district superintendent of police (SP) in Cachar in a report (vide No. G/SR/1281 dated 16/03/12) submitted to the Deputy Registrar of the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in response to a notice of the AHRC.

The report states that the survivor lodged a First Information Report (FIR) at Dholai PS inter alia alleging that on 27 November, 2011 at about 4 PM the complainant being accompanied by her sister in law (name withheld to protect identity) had been to the chamber of Dr Dilip Paul at Sadagram (Dholai Bazar) where he refused to check her up. Instead, he asked her to be in his residential chamber for her check up and treatment. On her arrival at his residential chamber the accused doctor asked her to go inside while her sister in law was asked to wait outside. As soon as she entered the house, the accused doctor closed the door and window from the outside and forcibly raped her.

The AHRC issued a notice to the SP for a detailed report about the case after it registered a case of human rights violations (vide AHRC Case No. 302/2/11-12.) on the complaint filed by the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC).

The report of the SP, however, mentions that the medical test conducted after the investigation of the case started do not corroborate the allegations of the victim as well as those of the BHRPC against the doctor. It says that (1) evidence of recent sexual intercourse not detected, (II) evidence of violent mark not detected in her private parts and (III) her age is above 18 years and below 20 years.

The BHRC claimed that the victim/survivor is a minor girl studying in class IX.

However, on the examination of the witnesses of the complainant, witnesses of the accused and the place of occurrence the investigating police officer found that charge under section 376 of the IPC which provides punishment for rape is established, states the SP.

 When the AHRC asked the BHRPC for its comments on the report of the SP the latter submitted a detailed response pointing out why the medical report can not be relied upon. According to the BHRPC the medical report can not be relied upon because (i) there was inordinate delay in conducting the test; (ii) the report goes against the circumstantial evidences; (iii) the report goes against the accounts of the witnesses as recorded by the police; and (iv) the element of sympathy of the doctors who conducted the test towards the doctor who is the alleged violator creeping in and vitiating the objectivity of the findings can not be ruled out as both of them are colleagues and belong to the same profession.

The BHRPC also said that the filing of charge-sheet by the police will facilitate the criminal court to conduct trial on the criminal aspect of case in order only to fix criminal liability and proportionate penal measure called for under the law. It is not the domain of the trial court to consider human rights liability of the violator and remedies to the victim/survivor. Therefore, it comes under the jurisdiction of the Commission to fix human rights liability and more importantly to provide redress to the victim/survivor in terms of adequate compensation.

The BHRPC in its submission urged the AHRC to recommend to the authorities to provide an adequate amount of compensation to the victim/survivor; and while fixing the quantum of the compensation the AHRC should take into consideration the aggravating factors involved in the case such as (a) that the alleged violator is a government servant paid from the state exchequer for acting as savoir for those who are in physical distress; (b) that the victim/survivor went to the alleged violator in full trust as his position demands; (c) that the alleged violator took benefit of position of custodian of the victim/survivors at the moment of commission of the violating acts; (d) that the case has a clear custodial angle; (e) that the age and social and other circumstances of the victim/survivor are such that the minor girl has had an entire life full of colours but which has been destroyed beyond repair for no faults of hers and her life has become an undesirable and unbearable burden on her fragile shoulders.

Date: 12 April, 2012

Guwahati,Assam

For any clarification and more information please contact

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

Mobile: 09401942234

Email:wali.laskar@gmail.com

The police report can be viewed here and the BHRPC comments can be viewed here.

Reporter assaulted in Assam for exposing corruption in government works

April 10, 2012


Introduction:

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

The case:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The rights:

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

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

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

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

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

The actions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 April 2012

Guwahati,Assam

For any clarification or more information you may contact

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

Mobile: +91 9401942234

Email:wali.laskar@gmail.com

A minor patient allegedly raped by government doctor in Cachar, Assam

December 31, 2011

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) received information about rape of a minor girl by Physician In-Charge of Dholai Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Cachar, Assamat his residence about 4 pm on 27th November 2011. Miss Rajia Begun, (name changed to protect identity) a minor girl, went to a pharmacy at Dholai Bazar, where Dr. Paul privately practices, for medical consultation for her ailment. Dr. Paul asked her to visit him at his residence in the evening. Accordingly she went there, accompanied by her sister-in-law (brother’s wife), where she was allegedly raped by Dr. Paul. Later, on the same day she filed a complaint at the Dholai Police Station and the case has been registered as First Information Report No. 302/11 dated 27/11/11 under Section 367 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The victim has not yet been provided with any compensation and there is also the risk of impunity involved in the case.

BHRPC first received information about the case from a news paper report published on 28 November 2011 in local newspapers. BHRPC then contacted the victim and her relatives, and collected certified copies of the FIR and deposition of the victim under section 164 of Cr. P C, 1973 before a Judicial Magistrate (First Class) at Silchar.

According to the information thus gathered, the victim Miss Rajia Begum is a student of class X, aged about 17, daughter of Khalil Uddin and a resident of villageIslamabadunder Dholai Police Station in the district of Cachar,Assam. The alleged perpetrator is Dr. Dilip Paul of village Sadagram under Dholai Police Station. He is the In-charge physician of Dholai Public Health Centre at Dholai Bazar,Cachar,Assam.

According to Miss Rajia Begum on 27 Nov, 2011at about 4pm she along with her sister-in-law Nur Nahar (name changed to protect identity) went to a pharmacy at Dholai Bazar to consult a physician. There they met Dr. Dilip Paul who asked about her illness and advised her to go to his residence in the evening. The victim also stated that accordingly she went to the residence of Dr. Paul accompanied by Mrs. Nur Nahar (name changed to protect identity) in the evening. Dr. Paul asked her to come inside the room but did not allow her sister-in-law inside. He asked Mrs. Nur Nahar to wait outside.

 According to the deposition of the victim before the magistrate, after she entered the room, Dr. Paul closed the door and asked her to lie on the bed and close her eyes. She also stated that Dr. Paul then suddenly put his hand on her mouth and forcibly raped her against her will. She claimed that she could not cry out for help because of the tight grip of Dr. Paul’s hand on her mouth. According to her, when he finished, his grip fell loose and she pushed him aside and ran out by opening the door.

She also stated that she told her sister-in-law all about the incident. They both went home crest fallen and humiliated. Later, on the same day they went to the Dholai Police Station accompanied by her brother and lodged a complaint which was registered as mentioned above. The case has been assigned to Sub-Inspector of Police Mr. Bimal Shaikia for investigation.

It is reported that even after more than one month of the incident and registration of the FIR the police failed to arrest the accused and the officer in charge of the police station has not forwarded to a Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of the offence on a police report, a report under section 173 of the CrPC.

BHRPC thinks that the information provided in the FIR and in the deposition U/S 164 of the Cr.PC reveals prima facie case of violations of fundamental right to life and personal liberty provided under Art 21 of the Constitution of India along with an offence punishable under section 376 of the IPC.

This is also a prima facie case of violations of the universally recognized human rights as stated in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the UN Declaration on Violence Against Women as well as the provisions of legally binding International human rights treaties, to which India is a state party, including ICCPR, UN Convention Against Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment, The UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Public meeting on the situation of women’s rights in Barak valley

March 7, 2011
Time
Tuesday, March 8 · 2:30pm – 5:30pm

Location
Communication Centre, Barak Human Rights Protection Coommittee, First Floor, Kachari Masjid Complex

Sadarghat Road
Silchar-788001, Assam, India


More Info
Senior members of BHRPC and local women’s rights activists will discuss the situation of women’s right in Barak Valley of Assam on the occasion of Internation Women’s Day.

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
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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,

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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