#Rape by man in uniform (BSF), abandoned, No action taken neither by BSF nor by police #Vaw


28 December 2012

 

To

The Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

Faridkot House

Copernicus Marg

New Delhi

 

Respected Sir

 

This is a sordid tale of a woman, who lost her family, livelihood and neighbourhood due to the river erosion of Padma and her woes further compounded with while her husband a person attached with Border Security Force left her without even informing her. The men attached with Border Security Force, used his position, made false promises of marriage and subjugate the destitute woman and had sex without providing her any financial and other supports in guise of marriage. 

 

Ms. Sundari Bibi, (actual name withheld) daughter of Mr. Aftab Ali Mondal, aged about 30 years of village- Parashpur, Post Office- D/ Parashpur, Police Station- Jalangi under Murshidabad district, started living at Sushil Colony, Char Parashpur with many others who lost their agrarian land and dwellings by the erosion. The entire village; Parashpur is now extinct from the map due to the river erosion of year 2005. From 2006 onward her father started living at the said place with his daughters and minor sons. The woman got crippled when her both palms were severely burnt while cooking.  Her minor brothers became adults by the time gone and left the family, her sisters got married and she developed animosity with her parents and became abandoned. In 2007, she moved towards the banks of river Padma adjoining to Sushil Colony and erected a hutment for her living. She started to fend herself by selling a small quantity of rice which she uses to buy from local market.

 

In the mid 2008, a BSF personal from adjacent Farazipara BSF- BOP Camp of 90th Battalion; Mr. Shamsuddin Barlaskar; son of Late Moinuddin Barlaskar; Identity Card No. 95145059, Rank– C.T (at that time), Identity Serial No. 202008 (Issuing Date- 15.1.98) has started visiting her during days and nights. The said BSF personal made proposals for sexual favours. While she refused those proposals, he made consecutive promises for marriage and the hapless woman was convinced of that and a physical relationship between them had grown from that time. The neighbourhood asked the couples to get marry and pressure from Sundari forced the culprit; Shamsuddin to marry her. On that time, he has to leave the Farazipara BSF camp for more than two months and later transferred to Madhugari BSF camp. From Madhugari camp he often visited the hapless woman and the neighbourhood of Sundari forced the BSF personal to marry her. After being married, Shamsuddin used to come to her house and started living as a married couple. Shamsuddin made several false promises that he would take her to his native place but never. Their marriage got solemnised and registered according to the Muslim Marriage Act, on 5.11.2009 at Domkal; Murshidabad.  But Shamsuddin never provided any money to the hapless woman for her living and forced her to penury. The woman with her challenged situation still living alone. In 2010, she came to know that, Shamsuddin has been transferred at Roshanbagh Head Quarter of 90 Battalion of BSF. Later our investigation revealed that he has been transferred from Roshanbagh to Jammu and Kashmir but details are not available with us.

 

On 5.11.2009 the hapless victim tried to lodge a complaint against Shamsuddin at Jalangi Police Station; Murshidabad but the police of that police station refused to accept her complaint.  On 19.4.2010, she made a similar complaint before the Sub Divisional Officer; Domkal, District- Murshidabad and on 22.4.2010, the SDO sent a notice to the Block Development Officer; Jalngi, District- Murshidabad to cause an enquiry with the Assistant Camp Commandant of concerned BOP of BSF and for submitting an action taken report to him.

 

But till date no appropriate actions have been taken by the authorities. In the meantime, the victim woman has undergone physical and psychological treatments at medical camps organised by us. Our psychological counsellor opined that she is under severe distress and anxiety. The woman is living under utter destitution because her name has not been included under any governmental schemes; BPL, Annapurna or Antodaya. She has not made further persuasion of her case because till recent, she obsessed with a faintest hope for a better conjugal relations which became shattered now.

 

In this given context I demand for:-

 

  • A specific case of committing rape by giving false promises must be initiated against the said BSF personal
  • Alimony and maintenance for throughout the period must be provided to the victim woman from the involved BSF personnel
  • The protection and safety of the woman must be guaranteed
  • The role of erring police personnel of Jalangi police station; who refused to register the complaint of the victim, must be investigated and appropriate actions should be taken

 

 

Sincerely Yours

 

 

(Kirity Roy)

 

 

Kirity Roy
Secretary
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
(MASUM)
&
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor)
Balaji Place
Shibtala
Srirampur
Hooghly
PIN- 712203
Tele-Fax – +91-33-26220843
Phone- +91-33-26220844 / 0845
e. mail : kirityroy@gmail.com
Web: www.masum.org.in

 

 

#India- BSF devastated livelihood of a petty trader – #impunity


11th December 2012

 

To

The Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

Faridkot House

Copernicus Marg

New Delhi-110001

 

Respected Sir,

 

We lodge this present complaint in the matter of the victim Mr. Abed Ali Gazi from district-North 24 Parganas, West Bengal, who is a businessman of selling eggs in different markets under Bithari-Hakimpur Gram Panchayat, a area near Indo-Bangladesh border. But recently all his business papers were forcibly taken from him by the perpetrator BSF man when he was returning home on the date of the incident. He made several attempt to get back his papers but failed. He lodged complaint before the local police station with an affirmation from the Head of the Gram Panchayat regarding the truth of the incident, but police did not take any step till date. He also sent written complaint to the IG, BSF, Kolkata but again there is no action as well as no response till date. Till date the victim did not get his documents relating to his business and at present he is jobless. He has to look after his family members but he is under insecurity considering the fact that he is deprived of his livelihood forcibly by the torturous and whimsical acts of the perpetrators. Our attached fact finding report gives details of the incident.

 

Hence we seek your urgent intervention in this matter in the following manner:-

  • ·         All the concerned authorities including Border Security Force must be directed to take immediate steps so that the victim can get back his papers relating to his busniess and restore his livelihood.
  • ·         The whole matter must be enquired into by one neutral enquiring authority.
  • ·         The perpetrator must be booked under law and punished accordingly for committing attrocity and torturous acts upon the victim.
  • ·         The victim must be provided with adequate compensation computing the days and sufferings on and from 22.9.2012 when his papers relating to his business were forcibly taken by the perpetrator.  

Thanking you

Yours truly

 

 

 

 

Kirity Roy

Secretary, MASUM

&

National Convener, PACTI  

  

 

 

 

 

Particulars of the victim:- Mr. Abed Ali Gazi, son of Safed Ali Gazi, aged about-23 years, by faith-Muslim, by occupation-at present unemployed, residing at village-Swarupdaha, Police Station-Swarupnagar, District-North 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India.

 

Particulars of the perpetrators:- The involved BSF personnel of Hakimpur BSF(Border Security Force) Check Post and Mr. Akbar Khan(BSF man) of the said BSF Check Post under Police Station-Swarupnagar, District-North 24 Parganas.

 

Date & place of incident:- On 22.9.2012 at noon at Hakimpur BSF(Border Security Force) Check Post under Police Station-Swarupnagar, District-North 24 Parganas

 

Case Details:-

 

It is revealed during the fact finding that the victim is a businessman. He sells poultry-eggs in the local markets such as Bithari, Duttapara, Gunrajpur, Balti, Amudia, Nityanandakati, Tarali, Hakimpur and Swarupda markets under Bithari-Hakimpur Gram Panchayat. The victim runs his livelihood for himself and his family members by the income of the said business for last seven years and the said business is the only source of income of the victim.

 

On 22.9.2012 at noon the victim was returning after selling eggs in the local market but when he reached near to Hakimpur BSF Check Post on the way he was restrained by one BSF man namely Mr. Akbar Khan and he forcibly snatched all the papers of business from the victim without saying any reason. The said BSF man did not issue any paper regarding the seizure of the papers from the victim. The victim out of fear could not say anything at that time but two co-villagers of the victim namely Mr. Majibar Sardar and Mr. Kauchar Sardar were the eye-witnesses of the incident. Then after few days the victim went to Hakimpur BSF Check Post with Mr. Majibar Sardar and requested the said BSF man Mr. Akbar Khan to return the documents as the victim could not run his business without the said documents. But he refused to deliver the papers and on the contrary he blamed in threatening voice that those papers are fake and he would put the victim behind the bar for carrying business with fake papers. As a result the victim is yet to get back his papers relating to his business and in the absence of the papers he is not able to continue his business till date.

 

The victim finding no other way to get back his papers lodged written complaint in this matter before the Officer-in-Charge of Swarupnagar Police Station, North 24 Parganas and in the said written complaint the Prodhan (Head) of Bithari-Hakimpur Gram Panchayat and also one member of the said Gram Panchayat in writing affirmed that the complaint of the victim mentioning the incident above stated was true. But the police did not take any action till date though issued one GDE no. 1502 against the complaint of the victim. The victim also sent written complaint in this matter to the IG, BSF, Kolkata through registered post with A/D on 7.11.2012 but till date there is no response against his complaint.  

 

It is revealed during the fact finding that the victim has valid (till 31.3.2013) trade license from Bithari-Hakimpur Gram Panchayat, but due the arbitrary and torturous acts of the perpetrator BSF man, the victim is languishing in mental pain and trauma due to loss of his livelihood. The family of the victim is under complete insecurity and economic crisis.     

 

 

 

Why do India and Pakistan treat their fishermen like fish?



Last updated on: October 01, 2012 , rediff.com

 


*When a security force finds the vessel of another country within its maritime borders — with no “objectionable materials apart from a large cache of fish” — why can’t they simply ask the vessel to return, asks Shivam Vij

The insensitive governments of India and Pakistan are not moved even when one of their citizens dies in the other country, especially if the citizen was a poor fisherman arrested for the crime of inadvertently crossing a maritime boundary.

After 23 days of lying in the morgue of Ahmedabad’s Civil Hospital, the body of 32 year old Nawaz Ali Jat will finally reach Karachi on Monday by a Pakistan International Airlines flight. His family waited 14 years for his return, but they didn’t even get to know when he
died of kidney failure on September 8.

In May 1999, a cyclone hit the Karachi coast, pushing Nawaz’s boat across Indian maritime borders. Along with his relatives, Usman Sachu, Zaman Jat and Usman Jat, Nawaz was arrested. India and Pakistan were fighting a war in the treacherous mountains of Kargil, a war that these fishermen had nothing to do with. But since they were Pakistanis who had committed the crime of being hit by a cyclone, they were charged with more than just trespass. Nawaz was accused and convicted of anti-State activities. Their families thought they had died, until they got a letter from them from inside Sabarmati Jail.

The spying charges meant that even though hundreds of fishermen have been arrested and released by India and Pakistan since then, Nawaz and his relatives were not. When Mumbai-based journalist and peace activist Jatin Desai asked the Indian government about his case in 2007, the government replied that India has no Pakistani fisherman arrested before 2000.

Desai has met Nawaz’s family in Karachi and he says he wouldn’t know how to face them the next time he goes there. Nawaz Ali Jat died after a long illness on September 8. The Gujarat government informed the ministries of home and external affairs on September 10. On receiving no response they wrote to the two ministries again on September 15 and then again on September 21. The MEA finally woke up from its slumber and informed the
Pakistan high commission on September 26. That’s when Nawaz’s family in Karachi got to know.

As if this wasn’t insensitivity enough, it’s been five days since then and there is no news when the body could be sent to Karachi. The Gujarat government is yet to hear from the MHA or MEA.

This indifference cannot be explained merely by Nawaz Ali Jat’s nationality, because India clearly doesn’t care much about Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails either. Rambhai, an Indian fisherman, died in Karachi on May 28 this year, and it took over 40 days for his body to reach Mumbai, India and Pakistan’s reaction, as also of the media in both countries, would have been very different had these people been middle class city folk rather than poor coastal fishermen.

Indian and Pakistani fishermen are regularly arrested in the Arabian Sea between Gujarat and Sind. These are fishermen who have been fishing in these waters for generations. They did not ask for these maritime boundaries. More Indian fishermen than Pakistani ones get arrested, becausesome of the Indian fishermen deliberately take risk and cross the maritime boundary because there’s more fish there. This is partly because industrial
pollution has destroyed the ecology of the Gujarat coast. But often, it is bad weather or dysfunctional GPS that makes them cross that invisible border in the sea.

Another reason for such regular arrests is the Sir Creek dispute, where India and Pakistan disagree on what the maritime boundary is. On September 29, for instance, the Border Security Force arrested 9 Pakistani fishermen near Sir Creek in Bhuj. ‘The intruders were not found in possession of any objectionable materials apart from a large cache of fish stored in their boat,’* noted without irony.

Apart from Sir Creek area and the island of Diu (a Union territory), the affected Gujarat districts are Porbandar, Junagadh and Jamnagar in theSaurashtra region. The fishermen are from the Koli and Kharwa communities, though there are some tribals too. On the Pakistani side the fishermen are Muslim Kolis. These fishermen use not small boats but large trawlers.


They’re at sea for days. One trawler costs as much as Rs 50 lakh and up to
a hundred people are dependent on it for their livelihood. When a trawler
is caught by the Pakistanis, the Gujarat government gives each prisoner’s
family a princely sum of Rs 175 a day.

Jatin Desai, who is also joint secretary of the Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, has been following the issue for years. He tells me that until 1996, Pakistan used to release the fishermen with the trawlers on the same sea. But to discourage them they started retaining the trawlers and sending the fishermen via Wagah. This cripples them financially even after they return. As part of the ongoing India-Pakistan peace process the two countries have released hundreds of imprisoned fishermen in batches this year. But they still have the trawlers. Pakistan has some 600 of them, whereas India has 120.

There are around 45 Indian fishermen in Karachi’s Malir jail, of whom 11 were arrested last month. The number of Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails at present is 60, in various jails in Gujarat. Desai tells me that this is the lowest figure of Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails since 1999. Until last year, the number of Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails was invariably
over 300, and that of Pakistani fishermen in India was never below 100.

When a security force finds the vessel of another country within its maritime borders — with no “objectionable materials apart from a large cache of fish” — why can’t they simply ask the vessel to return? What purpose is served by the arrests, keeping in jail (on tax-payers’ money!) for years and then releasing them like doves as some meaningless
‘confidence building measure’?

Saadat Hasan Manto‘s *Toba Tek Singh*, the no man’s land where his protagonist Bishan Singh dies because he refuses to choose between India and Pakistan, was still a piece of land. What did Manto know that the men who rule India and Pakistan extend their territorial madness even to the high seas, arresting each other’s Bishan Singhs daily, drilling into them that they aren’t simply the fishermen of the Arabian Sea but of India and Pakistan and they better know how to recognise which droplet of the sea belongs to which country

Shivam Vij

 

Maimed by the state, quietly #Torture #Censorship #Kashmir


Amidst a culture of silence and media inattention, torture is easy to find in the security hot zones of India. A new film bares the ugly truth. Freny Manecksha reports. 

“Soldiers got on top of me. One of them chopped my feet with a knife. I could see blood flowing and my feet twitching. … They cut the flesh of my waist. They made me eat all this …”“They pulled my nails out completely and rubbed chilli powder into the wounds.”

“They set the bottom of my legs alight and the fabric stuck to my skin …”

Truly horrific. Macabre descriptions, taken not from some archives of a medieval torture chamber, but from Channel Four’s film – Kashmir: the Torture Trail – that was aired last month. Directed by BAFTA award winner Jezza Neumann and produced by Brian Woods, the film follows Kashmir’s noted human rights lawyer Parvez Imroz, who is documenting torture testimonials of victims at the hands of Indian security forces and police, for the first comprehensive report on use of torture as a repressive weapon in Kashmir.

Recording statements and providing graphic visual images of victims ranging from Firoze, detained under PSA with a head wound, to a girl who was raped by troops, to the shepherd Kalendu Khatana, whose feet were cut off by the Border Security Forces, the film buttresses its point of institutionalised torture, by verification from the government’s own human rights organisation or statements by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International or the United Nations.


India has signed but not yet ratified the UN Convention against Torture. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has been denied permission to visit India. 

The State Human Rights Commission, which has probed Khatana’s claims, found them not only to be true but made the damning observation that it was one of clusters where Indian security forces had hacked away at limbs of suspects so badly that amputation was inevitable. Twenty years after his feet were cut off, Khatana’s wounds fester, as does his claim for compensation.

The film’s promotional video calls it India’s best kept secret, but torture, like the presence of the unmarked graves, has long been an accepted fact in Kashmir – one that has been difficult to document, however.

Parvez Imroz, who has been actively involved with the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, and who worked along with the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir on Buried Evidence – the extensive report on unidentified and mass graves, has been speaking out against torture. In the film he declares, “Some people must stand up and say ‘No this is not acceptable. We will campaign against it.”

It was the publication of the WikiLeaks cable last year that brought to light concerns by the international community over the extensive use of torture in India. The dispatches reveal that US diplomats in Delhi were briefed in 2005 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which said that out of the 1296 detainees it visited in Kashmir, 681 said they were tortured.

The film also looks at the way the draconian Public Safety Act or preventive detention is used to detain hundreds without trial, and the way in which young street protesters and stone pelters continue to be rounded up and tortured.

Mohamad Junaid, currently studying anthropology in New York and specialising on issues of militarisation and violence , grew up in Kashmir in the nineties. He witnessed and has written about the humiliation of crackdowns, arrests and protest marches. He believes the state uses torture not so much to extract information, but to send messages to the “larger oppressed nation through broken and defiled bodies, to break their national will and determination. This psycho-somatic warfare against Kashmiris is an unconscionable blind spot in the discourses about human rights and justice in the international arena.”

Channel Four’s film comes close on the heel of a campaign by Indian rights activists protesting the use of torture against political prisoners and for reforms on issues related to torture.

Two weeks ago Amnesty International launched its petition urging the Indian government to stop the use of torture, noting that disadvantaged, marginalised groups including women, dalits, adivasis and suspected members of armed opposition groups are those most commonly abused. The petition begins with an appeal by Nazir Ahmad Sheikh, a Kashmiri from Handwara who was forced by members of 14th Dogra regiment to walk barefoot in the snow and whose feet were also later burnt with a stove.

India has signed but not yet ratified the UN Convention against Torture. At the UN Human Rights meet in Geneva this year India claimed it had a prevention of torture bill pending in Parliament. Activists say it does not comply with standards laid down by the UN Convention. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has been denied permission to visit India.

Noted documentary film maker Sanjay Kak who made a film on Kashmir, Jashn-e Azadi(How We Celebrate Freedom) believes that the institutionalisation of torture is because of growing militarisation of ever greater swathes of the country and the general public’s ability to stonily accept its terrible consequences. “At its root is a crisis in the sphere of politics where the art of persuading those who disagree has been replaced by the brutal science of torture.”

The media’s compliance in hiding the story has meant “we have managed to block out the use of torture and custodial killings in Nagaland and Manipur, glossed over its use in Punjab and managed to do that in Kashmir for over two decades. But the rot is beginning to come out in the open.”

The film has evoked strong reactions abroad. Mirza Waheed, whose book The Collaborator fictionalised torture and extra-judicial killings, said online, “Devastating, damning evidence of widespread torture by Indian forces. A sad sad night.”

But in India itself it has been met by and large with a deafening silence. Earlier this year too, there was very little public outcry when adivasi teacher Soni Sori, held in Chhatisgarh on grounds of being a Maoist sympathiser, charged the police of torturing her by pushing stones up her vagina. The case is in the Supreme Court even as a gallantry award was conferred on the police officer concerned. It is only “an overworked set of activists who are trying to keep the hard questions on use of torture alive,” adds Kak.

“The business of torture has become like a contagious disease with the state,” says Kak. “You may initially use it against those you call terrorists, and do it with the implicit and unthinking approval of ordinary people. But then you start using it against those you call separatists, then on Maoists, and then on their sympathisers and next on innocents like Soni Sori who happened to be caught in the crossfire. People will wake up only when one works towards uncovering the endemic and casual use of torture in our police stations and lock ups – against dalits for example who neither want to secede or overthrow the state.”

So can documentaries and films make some kind of impact? Kak, whose Jashn-e Azadifaced hostility and threats says that since the Indian state has to present itself to the world as a democracy – the world’s largest at that – shaming it for its widespread use of torture will work. “The state wears a thick skin, but even the thickest folds of skin have a chink where a needle can make its way through and make the beast jump.”
Freny Manecksha 

13 Aug 2012

BSF treating local populace as “second class citizen”


 

Border Security Force

Border Security Force (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

To

The Hon’ble Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

Faridkot House

Copernicus Marg

New Delhi – 1

 Respected Sir

 I want to draw your attention on an incident in which the posted Border Security Force personnel not only harassing a person living in pittance but in this course showed total defiance to the order of Ministry of Homes as well as of their superior officer and infringed the Constitutional rights of a bonafide citizen.  

 Mr. Aizuddin  Biswas, son of Late Munaruddin Biswas, a resident of Char Parashpur village, Post- D/ Parashpur under Jalangi police station of Murshidabad district is a agrarian labourer who lost his land with other immovable property during the incessant erosions caused by the river Padma. He owned agrarian lands at Dayarampur village till 2005, thereafter it was totally eroded and he was forced to migrate at Char Parashpur, he received Patta (land title by the government) at the said village for his living, where he is living with his wife and minor children. His means of sustenance are cattle rearing and part time employment as agrarian labourer. On 15.7.2012 he bought 4 cows and 4 calves from adjoining villages to increase his income. He spent nearly Rs. 40000 for this purpose. Before the said purchase, on 13.7.2012, he duly informed the respective Gram Panchayet, Panchayet Samity and Block Development Officer and obtained approval on his request letter. While Aizuddin was trying to bring the cattle to his home in Char Parashpur village, the posted Border Security Force personnel resisted him to cross the river Padma with the cattle to his village. The cattle were still stranded at the village Raypara, the other side of the river. Aizuddin made a request to the Deputy Inspector General of BSF; Roshanbagh on 20.7.2012 to direct his force for allowing him to bring the cattle. The DIG instructed the ‘A’ Company of Charbhadra Company Headquarter of 91 BSF Battalion. Aizuddin met several times with the Company Commander of the said BSF Company as well the personnel at the Farazipara BSF- BOP of the said Company with his request. He also made complaint to the District Superintendent of Police, Murshidabad. But he was either mocked or jeered for his complaint to DIG- BSF anf SP. He even verbally abused by the said BSF personnel on duty at Raypara.

 In this connection I want to refer my complaint before the National Human Rights Commission (vide NHRC’s Case No. 44/25/13/08-09-PF/OC dated 8.2.11) and inquiry report conducted by Mr. R. R. Jha, Joint Secretary (Human Rights) Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India and duly submitted by Mr. Yashpal Dabas; Director to the Government of India; Ministry of Home Affairs (vide Memo No. 15011/20/2011-HR.II) dated 20th April, 2011 to NHRC. In this report the Ministry informed the Commission about the visit of Joint Secretary (HR) to Char Paraspur village on 9th of March 2011 and submitted his inquiry report with his recommendation. In his recommendation the Joint Secretary categorically opined and recommended for i) BSF as a Border Guarding Force should not be involved in regulating movement of rice and other grocery items purchased by persons in border areas either for their consumption or for local trade. Though, the recommendation was made on a complaint in which the issue was movement of groceries and rice but the recommendation is self explanatory in nature while dealing with movements of any thing without an ulterior motive of smuggling and in this case, the victim made it clear before the civil authorities and BSF authorities  and elected representatives of local self government about his bona fide reasons and purpose for the same, the civil administration, elected local government and BSF higher up made approval for the same.

 In this connection I demand for immediate arrangement of the movement for Aizuddin Biswas’s cattle to Char Paraspur village without any restriction. Mr. Biswas must be compensated for his financial loss due to the whimsical and arrogant acts of the said BSF personnel, who denied the instructions from their superior officer. The said act of the BSF personnel must be enquired by an independent and competent authority. The practice of restricting movements at bordering areas in accordance to whims of BSF personnel must end with appropriate governmental/ departmental instructions.

 Thanking You

 (Kirity Roy)

 Secretary, MASUM   

 –

Kirity Roy
Secretary
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
(MASUM)
&
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor)
Balaji Place
Shibtala
Srirampur
Hooghly
PIN- 712203
Tele-Fax – +91-33-26220843
Phone- +91-33-26220844 / 0845
e. mail : kirityroy@gmail.com
Web: www.masum.org.in

 

Main culprit behind Mangalore homestay attack held #moralpolicing #VAW


 

By PTI – BANGALORE

04th August 2012 08:04 PM

The main culprit behind the Mangalore homestay attack has been arrested and booked under the Goonda act, Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka said today.

Subhash Padeel has been booked under the stringent Act, Ashoka, who holds the Home and Transport portfolio, told reporters on the sidelines of a function.

So far 23 persons, including Padeel (who is the city coordinator of Hindu Jagarana Vedike), have been arrested in connection with the July 28 incident, he said.

Thirteen students, including five girls, celebrating the birthday of one of them at a homestay on the outskirts of Mangalore were targetted by alleged activists of “Hindu Jagarana Vedike” who accused them of indulging in “immoral activities”.

Television footage also showed them misbehaving with and assaulting some girls, with the episode evoking public outrage.

Ashoka also said select police officials and personnel are proposed to be trained by the Border Security Force to deal with threats from naxal and terrorism front.

 

Broken Pledges by India to End Killings, Torture at Bangladeshi Border


Border Security Force

Border Security Force (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 India–  Abuses  by Border force Increases

 Human Rights Watch

(New York) – Authorities in India should investigate fresh allegations of human rights violations by the Border Security Force (BSF) along the Bangladesh border and prosecute those found responsible.

Despite assurances to the Bangladesh government and public orders to exercise restraint and end unlawful killings and attacks on suspected smugglers, evidence documented and published by Indian and Bangladeshi nongovernmental organizations suggest that the BSF is once again committing abuses including extrajudicial killings, torture, and ill-treatment of both Indian and Bangladeshi border residents.

“The Border Security Force has reverted to its previous tactics of unilaterally punishing suspects, defying orders from Delhi issued last year to exercise restraint and protect the right to life,” saidMeenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “But the central government is also responsible, since it has failed to hold perpetrators accountable. Justice is the best deterrent against further violations.”

In December 2010, Human Rights Watch released “Trigger Happy, Excessive Use of Force by Indian Troops at the Bangladesh Border,” which documented nearly 1,000 killings by the BSF over the last decade. In January 2011, the Indian government assured Bangladeshi officials that it would order the BSF to exercise restraint and encourage the use of rubber bullets instead of more lethal ammunition, steps welcomed by Human Rights Watch.

Although BSF attacks decreased significantly over the next year, the new evidence presented suggests that Indian border troops continue to frequently abuse both Bangladeshi citizens and Indian nationals residing in the border area. The recent allegations claim that in order to get around the restrictions on shooting at sight, BSF soldiers have been subjecting suspects to severe beatings and torture, resulting in deaths in custody.

Efforts by local residents and activists to file complaints and secure justice have resulted in threats and intimidation. The National Human Rights Commission has sought responses when allegations are filed, but without adequate witness protection complainants end up risking further abuse.

Large numbers of killings and other abuses have been reported in 2012. Odhikar, a Dhaka-based nongovernmental organization, has documented as many as 13 killings by the BSF since January 2012. Kolkata-based nongovernmental organization Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), has documented five other killings during the same time period, based on statements from witnesses and families of victims.

In one recent example, MASUM reported to the National Human Rights Commission of India that on April 22, 2012, soldiers from the BSF’s 91st battalion chased and shot 21-year-old Babu Seikh in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal. According to MASUM, Seikh, along with three of his companions, was walking toward the marshland in the evening when they were chased by BSF soldiers who fired at them without warning. After a bullet hit Seikh, MASUM says that one of his companions saw the soldiers drag an injured Sheik to their camp nearby, where he later died in custody without access to medical attention. In another case, MASUM reported that on January 1, 2012, four Indian teenagers, accosted while smuggling cattle, jumped into a rivulet to avoid punishment. The BSF soldiers allegedly beat them when they tried to come out of the water. All four boys, severely injured because of the beatings, eventually drowned.

In another case, Odhikar reported that Mohammad Mizanur Rahman, a cattle trader who bought cows from India to Bangladesh and lived in West Khodaipur village of Dinajpur district, died on February 14, 2012, due to alleged torture by BSF soldiers. Rahman was caught by BSF soldiers when smuggling cows from India. According to Odhikar, he was then severely beaten near the border at Aboiter in Hili Thana, Gangarampur district in India. He was later taken by his companions to the Upazila Health Complex in Bangladesh for medical help, where he died at around 5:30 a.m. on February 14. The post-mortem report says Rahman died due to injuries to his head. At the time of death his right eye was missing; his right jaw, ear, and gums were crushed; and some brain matter had come out through a deep wound in his upper jaw.

Last year, MASUM released a video showing BSF soldiers brutally beating a Bangladeshi national caught smuggling cattle in West Bengal state. Eight soldiers were suspended but no further information is available regarding their prosecution or punishment.

Human Rights Watch knows of no cases in which BSF soldiers have been prosecuted for violations committed along the India-Bangladesh border. This includes a highly publicized case in which a 15-year-old Bangladeshi girl trapped in the wire fencing at the border was shot by the BSF in January 2011.

“While the Indian government claims that it holds its forces accountable, it produces no information to show that this is actually happening,” said Ganguly. “There appears to be complete impunity for BSF soldiers – even in the most egregious cases. Unless the government orders an independent investigation and ensures the prosecutions of those against whom credible evidence is found, such acts of brutality will continue.”

The India-Bangladesh border is heavily populated and very poor, with large numbers of people moving back and forth to visit relatives, buy supplies, and look for jobs. Others engage in petty and serious cross-border crime. The border force is mandated to address illegal activities, especially narcotics smuggling, human trafficking for sex work, and transporting fake currency and explosives. However, instead of arresting suspects and handing them over to the police for trial, BSF soldiers have taken it upon themselves to punish suspects.

Human Rights Watch called on the Indian government to do more to ensure compliance with the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. Given the failure of the BSF’s internal justice system to prosecute its members for human rights abuses, personnel of all ranks implicated in serious rights abuses should be investigated by civilian authorities and tried in civilian courts. This is particularly important because the BSF is now being deployed in security operations against Maoists in central and eastern India. Considering the widespread tendency to subject local residents at the Bangladesh border to verbal and physical abuse including severe beatings, the government should ensure a transparent system of accountability that will prevent violations in these areas.

The Bangladesh government, after initially failing to address this issue, finally began to call for the protection of its citizens. In March 2011, at a joint border coordination conference, Maj. Gen. Rafiqul Islam, head of the Bangladesh border guards, called on the BSF to respect the right to life and said that individuals “must be treated innocent unless and until he or she is proved to be a criminal or offender.” BSF director-general Raman Srivastava promised “to maintain utmost restraint on the border” and also provide troops “with non-lethal weaponry.”

“It is time for the Indian government to keep its promises to end abuses and hold its forces accountable,” said Ganguly. “At the same time, Bangladeshi government should publicly demand that the Indian government end this scourge of violence along their border.”

Soni Sori’s “Crime” in the Land of the Robber Barons


Member of Odisha state legislature Jhina Hikaka (2nd R), accompanied by his wife Kaushalya Majhi (3rd R), walks towards Balipeta village in Koraput district after being released by Maoist rebels on 26 April 2012. (Photo: AFP – STR)

By: Amrit Wilson

Published Sunday, April 29, 2012

Describing Maoists as the “most formidable threat” to the country’s security, India’s Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram has recently been emphasizing the need for more “men, weapons, and vehicles” to fight terrorism and establish a new National Counter-Terrorism Center. While the chief ministers of some regional state governments (particularly those ruled by opposition parties) have opposed Chidambaram, there can be no doubt that like him, they too feel that more must be spent on repression. Simply, they want to keep the control of “security” in their states in their own hands.

But why, with billions of rupees already being spent on counter-terrorism activities, is more now needed? Is the government really facing a “formidable threat?” And what is it like to be at the receiving end of the government’s security forces? Soni Sori’s experiences provide some answers to these questions.

Sori, an Adivasi (indigenous) school teacher from a small town in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, is in prison charged with aiding Maoists.

Her story highlights not only the horrific human rights abuses at the hands of Indian security forces but, in a variety of ways, illuminates the collective experience of the majority of the population of Chhattisgarh, and indeed of a wide swathe of central India. Until recently, this region of deep forests and beautiful mountains, which includes not only Chhattisgarh but also the states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh had been ignored by India’s engines of “development.” Similarly to colonial times, still today there are few schools or hospitals and malnutrition levels in these states are some of the highest in the world.

However, in the last decade and a half the riches under the ground, particularly coal, iron, and aluminum, have drawn the attention of global capital and the region is now buzzing with mining companies, security forces to clear the way for them, and international NGOs. Multinationals such as Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, South Korea’s POSCO, the Indian-owned Essar, and many more are all there seeking their share of the spoils.

These companies are taking over fertile agricultural land and sacred sites and uprooting whole villages. They are displacing thousands of indigenous people – robbing them of their homes, destroying their livelihoods and culture, and reducing them to refugees in their own country. With little concern for India’s environmental laws, many of these companies are also destroying the land itself, not only for now but for generations to come, as they rip off the topsoil and pollute rivers and streams for miles with toxic effluents and poisonous mud.

 

If in the colonial era guns accompanied foreign appropriation, today independent India’s neoliberal state has gathered the full force of its repressive machinery and military power to ensure that global capital can plunder the country. On roads built specially for the purpose the paramilitary, police commandos and recently the army have invaded the region targeting all resistance – be this in the form of people’s movements, guerrilla groups, or even individual dissenters such as human rights activists and journalists. 

India’s central belt is also the scene of what has been described as a veritable zoo of paramilitary forces: “Black Cats” (Indian Special Response Unit specializing in counter-terrorism) who provide VIP security, “Cobras” (Command Battalion for Resolute Action), Grey Hounds, Scorpions, and others. In addition, there is the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Border Security Force (BSF) well-known for their brutality in Kashmir and India’s north eastern states. As if this were not enough, there have also been armed vigilante groups – among them the notorious “Salwa Judum” which was set up with initial funding from steel companies Tata and Essar. Supposedly, it has now disbanded in response to popular protests.

The multinationals also have their own private armies. Female members of Tata’s militia were photographed attacking and disrobing indigenous women protesters in Odisha. There are also the untrained Special Police Officers, notorious for their cruelty and arbitrary violence.

Meanwhile, like the missionaries of the last century, international NGOs are active, often seeming to divert the energies of those who oppose the mining companies and attempting to literally buy up many of the activists who resist the corporates with offers of jobs, perks, and free Tata Sumo four-wheel drives.

The multinationals, the Indian government, and international NGOs work in cosy collaboration, supported by agencies like Britain’s Department of International Development for whom both Odisha and Chhattisgarh are “focus states.” The aluminium company Vedanta is an example. It has been engaged in an epic battle with the indigenous Dongria Kondh communities in the Niyamgiri hills of Odisha over the destruction of thousands of acres of fertile agricultural land in a region which has seen famines every year since 2007. Drinking water sources have been contaminated by its dumping of fly ash and toxic red mud into river streams, and thousands of indigenous people have been displaced.

 

Vedanta has the support of various arms of the British government which helped float it on the London Stock Exchange. It also has an interesting relationship with the international NGO Action Aidwhich on the one hand, appears to oppose it vociferously, and on the other has praised it for its “good work” in the Niyamgiri area and has received funds from the company’s subsidiary Sterlite. 

Vedanta has been consistently confronted by the indigenous communities. Armed with little more than their anger, courage, and strength of spirit, the Dongria Kondh people have fought back over the last seven years with massive blockades and protests. Their powerful people’s movement has won some victories, most notably in August 2010, when the Indian government, under enormous pressure, prevented Vedanta from mining bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills.

While people’s movements are taking on the mining giants, Maoist guerrillas are also active in this region. Though some villagers have been drawn to them, many are alienated by their acts of indiscriminate violence – attacking and derailing trains carrying ordinary, not particularly well-off, citizens, for example, or sporadically killing not only police and paramilitary officers but also Adivasi villagers and taking hostages to try to negotiate freedom for Maoist prisoners. Their approach to the multinational companies is contradictory, while they have attacked an Essar pipeline, for example, they have also been exposed (by WikiLeaks) for taking protection money from the same company. While both Essar and Maoists spokespersons have denied this, some local people say the news is merely a confirmation of what they had long suspected.

Whatever the truth is, it is clear that the presence of Maoists has allowed for protesters to be killed and their bodies dumped in the forest, eventually to be identified as “Maoists” who have been killed in “armed encounters.” The Maoist presence is also a pretext for the military occupation of the whole region.

Behind the propaganda about the state’s war against Maoists, and obscured by it at times, lies the reality of India’s central belt where the robber barons of global capital dictate the terms.

On a day-to-day level no one knows who may turn up on their doorstep or accost them in the market place, a police officer ordering them to become an informer, a Maoist recruiter, or a Special Police Officer who may kill them to make up their quota of dead Maoists. Yet this scene has been set by those apparently benign men in suits who run the corporations.

For Soni Sori and her family, the terrifying shadow of this war has deepened since the summer of 2009 when her 25-year-old nephew Lingaram turned down recruitment by the Maoists. Soon afterwards he was arrested, tortured, and pressurized to become a Special Police Officer. He was released after his family filed a Habeas Corpus petition and he then fled to Delhi. In July 2010, her husband was imprisoned as an alleged Maoist. In April 2011, 300 homes were razed to rubble in a three-day police operation. Lingaram, who had been speaking out about these atrocities and had by this time finished a short course in journalism, returned to Chhattisgarh to film and write about the lives of the people. Police harassment of the family intensified.

 

Then on 14 June 2011 armed Maoists attacked Sori’s 70-year-old father’s house, shot him in the leg, and ransacked his home. On September 9, Lingaram and Sori were both charged with couriering money from Essar to the Maoists and Lingaram was arrested. 

At this point, managing to somehow leave her three young children at different relatives’ houses, Sori fled to Delhi to seek legal help. While there, she spoke out about the human rights abuses in the state. Within days she was arrested and remanded to the custody of the Chhattisgarh Police who were directed to “ensure her safety.” How they did this has now been exposed by human rights activists and confirmed by the doctors who examined her following an order issued by India’s Supreme Court.

Under the direct orders of the Chhattisgarh Superintendent of Police, Ankit Garg, she had been verbally abused, stripped naked, given electric shocks, beaten, and sexually assaulted with stones and batons. The medical examination revealed annular tears to her spine and stones lodged inside her vagina and rectum.

Such is the Kafkaesque nature of India’s system of justice, that on India’s Republic Day, the Prime Minister bestowed one of India’s top police medals on Garg – for gallantry.

Sori is still being held in jail in Chhattisgarh and is being denied access to medical care while she continues to fight for her survival.

As she begins her seventh month in prison, those campaigning for Sori have published her letters from prison on the Internet. In them she exposes the details of what has happened to her in custody and writes, “I am willing to die but I did not commit any crime.” As civil liberties groups and women’s organizations remind us, she criticized the human rights abuses of the state and this can be considered a “crime” in the “world’s largest democracy.”

Amrit Wilson is a writer, feminist activist and political commentator.

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar’s editorial policy.

Endless wait for return of a ‘martyr’ from Pakistan


Gautam Dheer, Apr 28, 2012 : Deccan Herald —For over three decades, 61-year old and ailing Angrez Kaur lived a life in tremulous dilemma unsure if her husband was alive or if she was a widow. 

Angrez Kaur with her son Amrik Singh (left) and grandson Ramandeep Singh.Her son Amrik Singh has only seen his father Surjit Kumar, a Border Security Force constable, in pictures hung on the walls in the house.

He was barely a month-old when Surjit went ‘missing’ in the 1971 war with Pakistan from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

He was a Prisoner of War (Pow) in Pakistan. Three years after the war, the BSF declared Singh dead, a martyr in records.

But then the unexpected happened.

Indian prisoners repatriated from Pakistan jails in 2004 revealed that Surjit Singh was still alive and languishing in a Pakistan jail. Seven years later, the family’s endless wait for Surjit to return continues.

Kaur and his son Amrik have little choice but to cling on to hope of being one with Singh in this lifetime. BSF records still read him as a martyr and the Indian authorities haven’t been able to make tangible headway to secure the release of a martyr”.

“It has been over 40 years of pain. It’s not entirely impossible to reconcile with the loss of a loved one if you are sure of it. But it’s the prolonged uncertainty over your husband’s life that haunts me everyday,’’ Kaur said.

Ferozepur resident Satish Kumar Marwaha vouches for the fact that Surijit is alive. Surjit and Satish were in the same barrack for several years until Satish was released from a Pakistan jail.

But Surjit’s family hasn’t given up. And hope comes from Pakistan’s former
Federal Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney.

Amrik and his uncle Dr Ajay Mehra, a medical practitioner in Faridkot, met Burney a few days ago. Hope rekindled after Burney assured them of all possible help to secure Surjit’s release.

Talking to Deccan Herald, Amrik said:

“ My mother at times gets up past midnight and wants me to talk to her about my father. She feels happy when I tell her that her prayers will be heard soon. She tells me to visit every Baba (godman) who comes to the village.’’

Kaur’s marriage was just two years old when her world fell apart after Surjit Singh went missing.

All she was then told by the BSF that her husband could have been captured as a PoW by Pakistan, or perhaps, may have even died in gunfire. His fate was sealed in 1974 when the BSF officially declared him dead, a martyr in their records.

Burney has been pursuing the matter in Pakistan since last year. In fact, it was Burney who called up Surjit’s family last year to reconfirm that the Indian soldier was alive and in a jail. Singh was awarded death penalty as a PoW in Pakistan. But, his sentence was eventually converted into life imprisonment.

All these decades he was kept at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore. His jail term ended in December last year, said sources. The family has repeatedly taken up the matter with the BSF. The organisation says it has held meetings with the Pakistani Rangers to facilitate Singh’s deportation.

After Surjit did not return from the border and news of Surjit going missing poured in, Kaur returned to her parents in Faridkot town in Punjab. Kaur chose not to remarry. Amrik said, he has appro­ached all agencies for help, but his father still languishes in Pakistan jail.

The Ministry of External Affairs had told Kaur in August 2005 that the BSF had taken up the matter with the Pakistan Rangers in October 2004. But nothing worked out.
Burney said he would meet Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani for the early release of Surjit.

Angrez Kaur recalls the ordeal when her husband went missing in 1971. The government told her that Surjit went missing on December 3, 1971 night from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

“Amrik was in my lap when my world crashed. Nobody was sure where my husband was. Something kept my belief that my husband was alive, despite the BSF formally declaring him dead in 1974. His photographs are the only memories. My son Amrik has picked up photography to make a living,” Kaur said.

Ashes of Indians in Pakistan

Ashes of at least 53 Indians, who died languishing in Pakistan jails, are still kept in Pakistan prisons.

The revelation was made by Ansar Burney during his recent visit to India last week.

Burney said he will take up the matter with the Pakistan government so that the ashes are brought to India and last rites can be performed by families here.

For Immediate Release India: Prosecute Security Forces for Torture



Recent Abuse Cases Reinforce Need to Enact Prevention of Torture Bill

(New York, January 31, 2012) – The Indian government should prosecute members of the security forces for recent high-profile cases of torture, to send a message that such practices will no longer be tolerated, Human Rights Watch said today.

Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers, long implicated in torture and extrajudicial killings near the border with Bangladesh, were captured in a video posted on YouTube brutally beating a Bangladeshi national caught smuggling cattle in West Bengal state. And the Indian government has awarded a medal to a police superintendant alleged to have ordered the torture and sexual assault of a female schoolteacher in Chhattisgarh state, instead of investigating him.

“These horrific images of torture on video show what rights groups have long documented: that India’s Border Security Force is out of control,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Indian government is well aware of killings and torture at the border, but has never prosecuted the troops responsible. This video provides a clear test case of whether the security forces are above the law in India.”

In December 2010, Human Rights Watch, together with Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), a Kolkatta-based nongovernmental organization that posted the video, and Dhaka-based Odhikar, published “‘Trigger Happy’: Excessive Use of Force by Indian Troops at the Bangladesh Border.” This report documented numerous cases of indiscriminate use of force, arbitrary detention, torture, and killings by the BSF, and highlighted the failure of the Indian government to conduct adequate investigations or prosecute troops responsible for abuses. It showed that the BSF routinely abuses both Bangladeshi and Indian nationals residing in the border area. After the report’s release, the Indian government ordered an end to the use of lethal force cease except in cases of self-defense. While the number of killings decreased, allegations of killings and torture have continued.

The video, reportedly filmed by a BSF soldier, shows members of the BSF’s 105th Battalion stripping a man, a Bangladeshi national later identified as Habibur Rahman Sheikh, tying him up and beating him, while laughing and engaging in verbal abuse. BSF personnel apparently caught Sheikh when he was engaged in smuggling cattle from India into Bangladesh. Instead of handing him over to the police as required by Indian law, they illegally detained and tortured him and then left him to make his way back home.

After MASUM released the video to local news channels, the BSF suspended eight soldiers – Sandip Kumar, Dhananjay Roy, Sunil Kumar Yadav, Suresh Chandra, Anand Kumar, Victor, Amarjyoti, and VirendraTiwari – and ordered an inquiry. However, despite clear evidence of abuse, to date no criminal charges have been filed against any soldiers.

“Whenever offenses attributed to the BSF occur, its leadership insists that there will be an internal inquiry and action taken,” said Ganguly. “But secret proceedings and suspensions or transfers won’t end the abuses. Torture is a serious crime that should be prosecuted in the courts.”

Many people routinely move back and forth across the Indian-Bangladeshi border to visit relatives, buy supplies, and look for jobs. Some engage in criminal activities, such as smuggling. The BSF is charged with intercepting illegal activities, especially narcotics smuggling, human trafficking for sex work, and transporting fake currency and explosives. It is also charged with protecting against violent attacks by militant groups.

The failure of the Indian government to prosecute authorities responsible for torture extends to all of the security forces, Human Rights Watch said. In another recent disturbing incident, Soni Sori, a schoolteacher in Chhattisgarh state, alleged that she was tortured and sexually assaulted by Chhattisgarh state police while in custody in October 2011. After her arrest as a suspected Maoist supporter, a criminal court in Chhattisgarh state handed her over to police custody for interrogation despite her pleas that she feared for her safety and life. Sori alleges that Ankit Garg, then-superintendent of police for Dantewada district, ordered the torture and sexual assault. The Indian Supreme Court ordered Sori’s transfer to the Kolkata medical college hospital for an independent medical examination. In November 2011, the examination report corroborated Sori’s allegations of physical abuse.

To date, the Indian authorities have not initiated any inquiry or criminal action against the police officers implicated. Instead of investigating the case, on Republic Day, January 26, 2012, the president of India, Pratibha Patil, presented Ankit Garg with a police medal for gallantry. The medal drew widespread condemnation.

The Indian government announced, in March 2011, a rape compensation package for all sexual assault victims, but even basic follow-up reproductive and sexual health services have yet to be made available to survivors like Soni Sori. One of her lawyers told Human Rights Watch that Sori, who is detained in Raipur central jail in Chhattisgarh, has not received any follow-up reproductive and sexual health care. Her hemoglobin count has dropped considerably and she has complained of reproductive health problems but her lawyer is concerned that she will not receive adequate medical care without obstruction by the Chhattisgarh police. During her stay at the Raipur medical college hospital for medical examination and treatment in October, the Chhattisgarh police forced the doctors to remove her intravenous drip, refusing to let her stay in the hospital.

“Soni Sori’s case epitomizes the callousness with which victims of torture are treated in India,” Ganguly said. “The Indian government shamefully presents a trophy to someone implicated in torture, while doctors cannot even treat a torture survivor without police obstruction.”

Human Rights Watch called upon the Indian government to ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and to enact the Prevention of Torture bill, which is currently awaiting cabinet approval and before it is voted on by the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament. The law should override all provisions of Indian law that allow government officials immunity from prosecution for human rights violations. It should also ensure that adequate time is given for victims to be able to file complaints, and that all forms of inhuman and degrading treatment are brought under the purview of the law.

“The BSF, the police, and other members of the security forces operate with impunity throughout India,” said Ganguly. “When will the government in Delhi wake up and act to end torture and other human rights abuses?”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on India, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/asia/india

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