Monday, 24 November 2008

Statement of BHRPC on the Death of Mr. Jagjit Saikia

Statement of BHRPC on the Death of Mr. Jagjit Saikia

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), a human rights organisation based in Silchar, Assam expresses agony and grave concern at yet another cruel and untimely death of a young journalist caused by unidentified gunmen. Mr. Jagjit Saikia, a Kokrajhar (Assam) based reporter, who worked with “Amar Asom”, a local daily in the Assamese language, was reportedly shot at by miscreants on November 22 afternoon in Kokrajhar town which caused his death. BHRPC categorically condemns this cowardly act and sends condolences to the family members of the deceased journalist and extends solidarity with the media fraternity.

BHRPC sees it not only as another blow to the media, which is regarded as a pillar of democracy, but also as the naked manifestation of the brutality to which the continuous assault on the right to freedom of thought and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India has reached. The State and Union Governments are under obligations in International Human Rights Law as well as duty bound under the Law of the Land to ensure the exercise of this inalienable human right by its citizens. It is evident from this and other such incidence of attack on the media and the people’s right to freedom of expression including the incidence of death of Konsam Rishikanta, a trainee sub-editor of The Imphal Free Press, an English daily of Manipur on 17 November, at the hands of unidentified shooters that the Indian State is miserably failed to protect basic human rights of the citizens.

BHRPC urges the Union and State Governments: 1. To conduct prompt, objective and transparent investigations into both of the incidents. 2. To bring the perpetrators of these ghastly acts to book and punish them as per law. 3. To pay adequate compensation to the dependants relatives of the deceased. 4. To ensure security of the life of journalist. 5. To protect the right to freedom of expression and thought of the people by going hard on those elements who pose threat to it.BHRPC also wrote Urgent Appeal to the Prime Minister of India sending copies to the Home Minster of the Union Government of India, Chief Minister of Assam and others conveying these demands.

Issued by
Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

Liaison Officer,

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee

Rongpur Par-IV (Near Uco Bank), Silchar-9

Cachar, Assam, India


Cell: +919401134314

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Statement of BHRPC on the Attack in Delhi University by ABVP Members

Statement of BHRPC on the Attack in Delhi University by ABVP Members

8th November 2008

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), a human rights organization working in Assam) strongly condemns the latest incident of vandalism by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP, student wing of the Bharatia Janata Party) in Delhi University, in which members of the press community were also made victims.

The University Community, an independent group of students and teachers of Delhi University, had organised a meeting on "Communalism, Fascism and Democracy: Rhetoric and Reality" on 6th November 2008 at Room No. 22 Arts Faculty. It did not come as a surprise that right-wing forces would be opposed to any meaningful discussion on these issues.

As soon as SAR Geelani, lecturer at Zakir Husain College of University of Delhi, entered the hall and took his seat on the stage, one of the ABVP activists sitting inside came up and spat on his face twice.

The ABVP activists attacked the women students and participants, broke the microphone and hurled chairs. They also manhandled media persons who were covering the meeting. Two journalists from Tehelka and Mail Today, who were speakers at the meeting, were threatened by ABVP.

This is ominous because during a meeting on communalism and fascism the chair, speakers and other participants have been attacked in a country which is known to be democratic, secular and respectful to the human rights and the rule of law. This act of vandalism is nothing but the manifestation of threat posed by communal and fascist forces to the secular and democratic fabric of our country.

This is a failure on the part of police and administration to perform their legal duty to provide security and ensure the exercise of the right to freedom of thought and expression by the citizens of the country.

BHRPC calls upon the human rights and civil society organisations to protest against this assault on academic freedom and democratic rights. BHRPC also urges the authorities:

1. To initiate a prompt, impartial and time-bound investigation into this act of vandalism.

2. To lodge an FIR against ABVP members, who were responsible for this vandalism.

3. To pay adequate compensation to those who have been victimized.

4. To take adequate measures to prevent repetition of such vandalism and violations of human rights.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Urgent Appeal Regarding Serial Blasts in Assam on 30 October


 The President of India, 

 Rastrapati Bhavan, New Delhi

Subject: Urgent Appeal Regarding Serial Blasts in Assam on 30 October, 2008.

Madam President,

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), a human rights organization working in Assam, categorically condemns the horrendous massacre caused by serial blasts in Assam on 30 October, which took lives of about 80 people, injured nearly 400 and burnt to ashes hundreds of shops, cars and other properties. This act is a blow to the humanity and a challenge to the Indian state to uphold and adhere to the tenets of democracy and human rights. Such acts of terror are committed with intent to establish anarchy by terrorizing the whole society and defeating the rule of law. 

BHRPC has been witnessing with apprehension that a tendency of communalizing the counter-terror effort has developed of late which is ominous for the country. Stereotyping a particular community will divide the people of the country which is exactly what the terrorists want.
The blasts in Assam on 30 October, are another in the series of tragic blasts in which scores of people have been killed. BHRPC demands that the guilty be punished. The guilt should be determined in due process of law which is universally recognised as necessary to protect human rights of the suspects/accused. Human rights of the suspects can not be done away with. In countering terrorism the state often succumbs to the design of the terrorists by failing to respect the human rights of the people including the accused. When this happens the terrorism triumphs, because the state itself does the act of terror. More over, failure to respect human rights creates breeding ground of terrorism. At the same time it seems that our investigating agencies are ignoring some other things very crucial in the matters of investigating the acts of terror.
The acts of terror have been occurring throughout the country and Home Ministry is watching helplessly. While earlier the investigation was focused around SIMI, many an alleged culprits were put behind the bars and later some unknown entity named ‘Indian Mujahideen’ was projected as being responsible for some recent terror strikes such as Bangalore, Ahmadabad and Delhi blasts. Now it seems that another unknown entity dubbing it ‘ISF-IM’ (Islamic Security Force of Indian Mujahideen) is being projected. At the same time another stark truth is being deliberately sidelined and undermined. And that relates to the blasts done by Bajrang Dal, Hindu Jagran Samiti and other such ‘Hindutva’ outfit. We fail to understand as to why the investigation authorities are turning a blind eye to some of the well established facts.
We recall here some of such facts:
  1. In a serious case of blasts in Nanded in April 2006 two Bajarang Dal workers died when making bombs. Similar incidents of bomb blasts were witnessed in many places around that time, Parabhani, Jalna and Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Most of these were in front of the mosques. The Nanded investigation ‘leads’ were not followed. On the contrary the investigation in that direction was not pursued at all.
 The attitude of police in this investigation has been totally lax. Social activists made the complaint about this to Human Rights commission. The commission summoned the Superintendent of police, Nanded, in its hearing held on 17th June.
 The SP failed to turn up for hearing! There seems to be a deliberate cover up of this important finding of Maharashtra Anti terrorist Squad. ATS did investigate the links of the dead with Bajrang Dal, an RSS affiliate. At the same time the injured were visited in the hospital by the top brass of local BJP and associates. Local BJP MP told the police not to harass those related to the culprits in the wake of the Bajrang Dal involvement in the bomb making. In Nanded, ATS also found fake moustache and pajama kurta, the idea being that the culprits will dress like a Muslim while doing these black deeds.
 2. A bomb blast took place at the RSS office at Tenkasi, in the Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu on January 24. After a thorough investigation,the Tamilnadu Police had arrested 7 persons belonging to Sangh Parivar outfits. They had confessed that they indulged in this terror act to instigate the local Hindu population against the Muslims.
 On further investigation, the Tamilnadu Police arrested Siva Alias Sivanandam, who is the General Secretary of Hindu Munnani at Kadayanallur, a neighbouring town of Tenkasi. Formed in 1980, Hindu Munnani is a frontal organisation of Sangh Parivar operating in Tamilnadu.
 Siva, who has earlier worked in quarries in the neighbouring state of Kerala had supplied the ammonium nitrate and other raw materials for preparing the bombs.
 3. The bombs which exploded in Gadkari Rangayatan on 4th June 2008 injured seven people. Again Maharashtra Anti Terrorist Squad succeeded in nabbing the culprits. The culprits were part of Hindu Janjagaran Samiti (HJS), an outfit of Sanatana Ashram in Panvel. These culprits were also involved in other blasts, in Vashi, Panvel and Ratnagiri. We have not heard anything about the further tracing of this very important lead.
 4. On 24th August, in Kanpur two Bajrang Dal workers died while making bombs. Rajiv alias Piyush Mishra and Bhupinder Singh were killed while making crude bombs on Sunday afternoon.
 On 25th August, Monday, police recovered some crude hand grenades, lead oxide, red lead, potassium nitrate, bomb pins, timers and batteries from the spot, inside a hostel in Kalyanpur area of Kanpur, about 80 km from Lucknow. No further investigation, why?
 5. On 25 October, police arrested a former firebrand ABVP leader and so-called ‘sadhvi’, Pragya Singh Thakur, for her role in the Malegaon and Modasa blasts. Even more ominously, two ex-Army officers are implicated in the blasts, and it has come to light that an institution called the ‘Bhonsala Military Academy’ in Nagpur has been imparting arms training to the Bajrang Dal.
Every time there is a bomb blast immediately the agencies and the media declare that it is done by some Muslim organization without any proof. Hundreds of innocent young boys are picked up, what follows are illegal detentions, torture, arrests, harassment of families, forcing the families and victims to sign blank papers. For years these helpless victims are tortured in jails, denied legal aid, even lawyers who try and fight their cases are attacked openly in courts. Their images tarnished for life time. If they are lucky they get let off after years as neither the agencies or the police have any proof against them. The cacophony of stricter laws rises so that a police can extract a confession by third degree torture and present that as evidence.
BHRPC has noticed the Jamia Nagar encounter which raised so many questions and the police is unable to answer them.
In case of Assam the issue of ‘illegal migration’ aggravates the situation more. All Muslims and particularly Bengali speaking Muslims are projected as being illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, though history of Bengali speaking Muslims living in some part of Assam (Barak Valley) is traced to 15th century AD and most of the present day Muslims are descendents of converted indigenous people. Now the whole community is termed as ‘Bangladeshi Jehadi Terrorists’.
Through this systematic vilification campaign the process of demonization of minorities continued unabated.
If one looks at the timing of the terror attacks it is very clear that one and only one political outfit is gaining from it and that is Sangh. With their eyes on the central government their agenda of polarizing the electorate is going ahead successfully.
On the other hand there are constant attacks on Muslims and other minorities on one pretext or another.
In the Udalguri, Darrang and Chirang districts of Bodo Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) of Assam thousands of Muslims have been attacked, killed, rendered homeless, their homes ransacked and looted and burnt down.
In Orissa similar things have happened to the Christian community.
In view of these facts, BHRPC thinks that investigation into these horrendous acts can not go one way if it is to be objective and impartial. To be very clear, possibilities of involvement of all types of terrorist groups of should be probed.
BHRPC hopes you will intervene and question why are such clear cases of involvement of RSS affiliates in terror attacks being ignored. It seems the investigating authorities deliberately want to cover up the role of RSS affiliates in these acts of terror. Can the real truth behind the dastardly acts come out without properly investigating these incidents, where the culprits’ involvement is very clear? BHRPC urges upon you to instruct the investigating authorities to pursue the investigation in an unbiased, honest and professional manner. The life of innocent citizens is at stake and such irresponsible cover will definitely prevent the real truth from coming out. For the sake of fairness, honesty and the values of our constitution, we need to pursue these cases in their logical direction.
Can we look forward to you, Respected President, to make your Government to rise above partisan attitude and unravel the truth behind the blasts which are rocking the country in a painful way?
With regards
Yours Sincere
Manidra Shankar Gupta
1. The Prime Minister of India, New Delhi
2. The Home Minister of India, New Delhi
3. Smti Sonia Gandhi, The Chairperson of the UPA New Delhi
4. Justice S. Rajendra Babu, The Chairperson, NHRC,New Delhi
5. The Media

Friday, 31 October 2008


Silchar: 31 October: Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), a human rights organization working in Assam, categorically condemns the horrendous massacre caused by serial blasts in Assam on 30 October, which took lives of about 80 people, injured nearly 400 and burnt to ashes hundreds of shops, cars and other properties. Mr. Manindra Shankar Gupta, the chairperson of BHRPC, offered condolences to the family members of the deceased and wishes speedy recovery of the injured. Speaking in a meeting convened by the organization here today Mr. Gupta termed this act as a blow to the humanity and a challenge to the Indian state to uphold and adhere to the tenets of democracy and human rights. Such acts of terror are committed with intent to establish anarchy by terrorizing the whole society and defeating the rule of law, he adds.

Mr. Gupta also said that in countering terrorism the state often succumbs to the design of the terrorists by failing to respect the human rights of the people including the accused. When this happens the terrorism triumphs because the state itself does the act of terror. More over, failure to respect human rights creates breeding ground of terrorism.

He said that BHRPC has been observing with apprehension that a trend of communalizing the counter-terror effort has developed of late which is ominous for the country. Stereotyping a particular community will divide the people of the country which is exactly what the terrorists want. “BHRPC urges the State and Union Governments”, he adds, “to conduct a prompt, impartial and objective investigation into the blasts, pay ex-gratia of rupees five lakh to the next of kin of the deceased, one lakh to the injured and adequate compensation for the destroyed property immediately.” He also said that the state should ensure at all costs the right to security of life and property of the people. People don’t need a government which can not provide security to its citizens.
Mr. Gupta also urges the people to maintain peace and calm and to be active in fighting this menace of terrorism, because terrorism can not be defeated by the government alone.

Saturday, 27 September 2008



A vegetable vendor named Moyfar Raja, aged about 45 years, son of late Tajamul Ali, of Village Baldabaldi Part-II, P.O. Jamira under the police outpost of Jamira within the jurisdiction of Katlichera Police Stattion in Hailakandi, Assam was arrested at about 11am on 10 June, 2008 by Pijush Kanti Roy, in-charge of Jamira outpost and allegedly was tortured to death at 5 pm the same day. This information was published in local newspapers on 11 June, 2008.

Having learnt from the newspapers about the incidence, Barak Human Rights Protection Committee formed a fact-finding team. The facts stated herein are based on the preliminary report of that team.

Moyfar Raja, the deceased belonged to the poorest stratum of the society. He worked as a daily wage labourer and sometimes as a vegetable vendor. He was supporting his wife, 3 sons and 3 daughters with livelihood. According to his relatives and neighbours, he was generally a peace loving and law abiding citizen, though there was a police case pending against him.

Family members of the deceased state that he, as usual, he went to Jamira Bazar in the morning on 10 June, 2008 to sell his vegetables. They were later informed that a police team comprising of constable Bashir Uddin and Home Guard Nijam Uddin Laskar led by Sub-Inspector Pijush Kanti Roy, in-charge of Jamira Outpost picked him up. According to them, the police team was going somewhere else but when they saw the deceased they nabbed him. Legal procedure of arrest was not observed properly. Requirements of arrest issued by the Supreme Court of India in D K Basu Vs. State of West Bengal (AIR 1997 SC 610) were not fulfilled. The guidelines regarding arrest issued by the National Human Rights Commission also were not complied with. Even no 'arrest memo' was prepared, it was revealed during the said fact-finding efforts of BHRPC.

Family members of the deceased and his other companion vegetable vendors alleged that the police team started to beat him with cane sticks in front of them. They continued to do so along the way to the police outpost and even in the lock-up. At about 2 pm when his condition became critical due to a serious head injury sustained during the beatings by police, he was taken to Jamira Primary Health Centre. Doctors at the health centre referred him to Hailakandi Sontosh Kumar Roy Civil Hospital due to the seriousness of his condition. Dr. Rehana Begum, a doctor at the H S K R Civil Hospital states that the deceased was received at the hospital at about 5 pm and he was found in coma and it was also observed that he had a serious injury in the head. He died on the stretcher while he was being taken to the ward.

On the other hand, the police alleged that the deceased was wanted in connection with Katlichera police station case No. 70/03 which was registered under sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 427 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. There was also a non-bailable warrant against the deceased issued by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Hailakandi in connection with G R Case No. 545/03, which was registered as a result of the said FIR. Constable Bashir Uddin and home guard Niajm Uddin laskar alleged that soon after the arrest the deceased complained of his ill-health. But there is no answer to the question as to why the deceased was not sent for medical examination and treatment as law also mandates it.

It appears that there were serious charges against the deceased. But allegations of offences, howsoever serious they may be, do not render a person bereft of his basic human rights. Crimes on the person of an accused or suspect are equally prohibited as in the case of any other persons. Facts alleged before the BHRPC team prima facie establish a case of torture and murder attracting punishment under section 302 and 34 of the IPC. Such cases fall under sections 154 and 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Section 154 mandates the officer-in-charge of a police station to register an FIR on receiving information about commission of a cognizable offence and section 174 enjoins upon such officer a duty to report the case to the nearest magistrate if he receives information that "a person has committed suicide, or has been killed by another or by an animal or by machinery or by an accident, or has died under circumstances raising a reasonable suspicion that some person has committed an offence" relating to the death. This procedure is prescribed by law to ensure impartial and prompt investigation into the incidence and thus to facilitate the prosecution and conviction of the offender.

This incidence of custodial death amounts to extra judicial killing, which flagrantly violates rule of law, basic features of the Indian Constitution and Articles 21 and 22 of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court of India.

This incidence is also a gross violation of the international obligation of the state of India, which has bound itself under various human rights treaties and other instruments, such as Articles 3 and 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. India is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 and it is the obligation of the state of India under Article 2 of the covenant "to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present covenant". Article 6 of the Covenant recognizes right to life stating, "Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life." The present case clearly shows the failure of Indian state to respect its obligation under this Article. Moyfar Raja was deprived of his life arbitrarily by its agents. The case also attracts Article 7 of the covenant, which reads, "No one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". The United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which India is a signatory, defines torture in its Article 1 as " any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity". No further analysis is needed to show that this case falls under the definition. In spite of the fact that torture is universally prohibited, the Supreme Court of India held that the right to freedom from torture is also inherent in Article 21 of the Constitution.

The phenomenon of custodial death was brought before the Supreme Court in many cases. The Court issued 11 requirements to be fulfilled in cases of arrest in order to mitigate this evil in D K Basu Vs. State of West Bengal (AIR 1997 SC 610). While issuing he requirements the Supreme Court observed, "the custodial death is perhaps one of the worst crime in a civilized society governed by the rule of law. The rights inherent in Articles 21 and 22 (1) of the Constitution require to be zealously and scrupulously protected. Court cannot wish away the problem. Any form of torture or cruel inhuman degrading treatment would fall within the inhibition of Article 21 of the Constitution. Whether it occurs during the interrogation or otherwise. If the government becomes law-breakers it is bound to breed contempt for law and would encourage lawlessness to become law unto himself thereby leading to anarchism. No civilized nation can permit that to happen". As stated above the requirements pronounced in this landmark judgment was not observed in the present case. No arrest memo was prepared as it is prescribed in requirement No 2.

The National Human Rights Commission has also dealt with the cases of custodial death and issued guidelines regarding arrest and also prescribed procedure in cases of custodial deaths/rapes. It is obvious that NHRC guidelines regarding arrest were not followed in this case.

Justice M N Venkatachalia, Chairperson (as he was then), NHRC sent letters to all chief ministers vide letter No. No. NHRC/ID/PM/96/57 dated March 27, 1997 reminding them of a circular of the commission issued on the 14th December, 1993 requiring all the District Magistrates and the Superintendents of Police to report to the Commission, incidents relating to custodial deaths and rapes within 24 hours of their occurrence. He also stated that "if post-mortem examination is not thoroughly done or manipulated to suit vested interests, then the offender cannot be brought to book and this would result in travesty of justice and serious violation of human rights in custody would go on with impunity." He continued, "with a view to preventing such frauds, the Commission recommended to all the States to video-film the post-mortem examination and send the cassettes to the Commission." The Commission also prescribed a model autopsy form and additional procedure for inquest, which were annexed to the said letter.

Justice Ranganath Misra, Cairperson of NHRC (as he was then), also sent "letters to Chief Ministers of States on the video filming of post-mortem examinations in cases of custodial deaths" dated August 10,1995. These recommendations require (i) informing NHRC regarding custodial deaths or rape within 24 hours of occurrence, (ii) Vedio-filming of post mortem and (iii) prompt and impartial magisterial enquiry. Usually these requirements are not followed in Assam. If a magisterial enquiry was ordered, the report never sees daylight in most of the cases. Where the report is made public, it happens in rare cases, it is too late to have any effect. Such magisterial inquiry is no longer seen by the people as having trustworthiness. As the saying goes, 'justice should not only be done but it should also seemed to be done', this incidence requires a prompt judicial probe.

Friday, 26 September 2008




This a humble effort to present briefly the state of the Right to Information in Assam with particular reference to the situation in Barak valley, southern part of Assam comprising of the districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi. Although the law regarding Right to Information is fairly unequivocal in India providing the right to a broad range of information to the citizens and a mechanism for expeditious enforcement of this right it is still a rare phenomenon that a citizen gets information as he seeks within the timeframe stipulated under the Right to Information Act, 2005. It is feared that the law is strangulated slowly in its implementation by applying various tactics ranging from feigning ignorance, insensitivity, apathy, misinterpretation of law to temptation, intimidation, hooliganism, implication in false charges etc.

According to a sample survey conducted recently by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee, 93% of those applicants interviewed told that they did not get any response from the Public Information Officer within 30 days of the receipt of the application as laid down in section 7 (1) of the Act. 86 % of such applicants do not pursue the matter any further. Remaining applicants (14%) either file complaints with the Assam State Information Commission or prefer appeal to an officer higher in rank to the PIO in the same public authority. In the former case, the SIC transfers the applications under section 6 (3) in almost all cases to either the PIO or the Appellate Authority of the concerned public authority. In case where an appeal is preferred to the Appellate Authority the appellants get responses, according to the said survey report, in just 45% of the cases. 73 % of those who do not get response from the Appellate Authority do not make the Second Appeal. In most of the cases where the second appeal are made the SIC without hearing the case itself forwards the petition to the Appellate Authority asking to hear the case giving a timeframe of usually 30 days.

In cases where the First Appeal is preferred, the SIC transfers the Applications to either the PIO or the Appellate Authority and whether in the complaint stage or in the second appeal stage, the redtapism starts invariably. The Appellate Authority or the PIO writes letters to other officers requesting them to supply the information within a specific time limit, in most cases it is 30 days, as he is to furnish them to the applicant with intimation to the applicant. The time limit gets passed and another set of such letters is issued providing another time limit. In the process a period of six months to one year is elapsed.

Meanwhile another unofficial process starts vigorously which involves both temptation and intimidation. 96% of those applicants, who went through this stage and interviewed in the said survey, stated that they faced both temptation and intimidation in one or the other form.

In this regard, communication of Dr. K M Baharul Islam, Chairman and CEO of South Asian Regional
Development Gateway in Guwahati and a public spirited person hailing from Karimganj, Assam, deserves to be quoted in some length: “Read your email. I had the chance to represent a case in SIC Assam from my area. Though the SIC was very categorically given the verdict in front of all the parties imposing the highest penalty on the earring officer, it was an utter shock when I saw the decision on the website that inserts a 'penalty confirmation' hearing at a later date on 3/6/08 !!

“And, on 3/6/08 he has become too apologetic and as expected got the penalty waived!! Look what signal it will give to the other officers that you may do anything but later by giving apology you may get away.

“This officer says he was ignorant, whereas time and again for almost 2 years he made the applicant a mental torture, thought shown various provisions of the RTI Act...public protests, news paper reports all these but he was still 'ignorant' of the provision.

“Even regarding compliance he did not give the documents "authenticated' by him but called the applicant at night on a Sunday to his quarter and with force got the 'sign' of receipts of the documents. An FIR was filed against him after this incident. But as he was present alone at the time of rehearing he just showed the receipts to the SIC Assam and gave an impression that like a good guy who has supplied all the information.

“On the side line, I contacted friend of mine who is an MLA and a member of the Public Accounts Committee where all the reports of this particular Hariyali project were submitted. You will not believe how much money has been embezzled off from this project with fictitious names of works, beneficiaries etc. No wonder that the Officer did not want to give details information to the public...

“This is a very sorry state of affairs. Within moments of taking this case in hand to represent the applicant in
SIC hearing I got threatening calls from "SULFA" ...look at the nexus. Police is now investigating the case and my usual security cover (As Head of a Foreign Mission) has now been increased...So much so for a RTI case.

On the introspective side, I found many times the RTI applicants are also very ignorant of the basic provisions, unnecessarily complicate things without 'asserting' their rights...jump to sign on dotted lines...fears any petty officials sitting in a govt. office ...."Sir" them all the time...and make it very difficult to support their cases as they accept / sign many things under pressure and then start
crying 'foul'.” (Emphasis his)

In another case, of which I have first hand knowledge, members of a local community organization named Kishan Bikash Samity is facing grave criminal charges falsely. Sahidul Haque Laskar, secretary of Kishan Bikash Samity, submitted an application to the PIO of the office of the Block Development Officer, Banskandi Development Block on 9 May 2007 seeking information regarding the implementation of the 11th Finance Commission Award, 12th Finance Commission Award, Indira Avash Yojna and Tara Pump and Ring Well schemes undertaken in the different Gaon Panchayats of the block. But he did not receive any information. Again on 22 June 2007 he filed first Appeal petition to the BDO of the Block, as he is designated as the first appellate authority under the RTI Act, 2005 asking him to furnish the information as he had not received the same. But when he did not receive any information he submitted a petition before the Assam SIC on 31 July 2007 and the SIC transferred the same on 27 August 20007 to the Chief Executive Officer, Cachar Zila Parishad for furnishing the information. Mr. Laskar sent another petition to the SIC on 18 September 2007 as a reminder to his letter dated 31 July 2007. Then he sent another petition to the SIC vide his letter dated 18 January 2008 informing the SIC that on receipt of the transferred petition from the SIC the
CEO, Zila Parisahd, Cachar vide her letter dated 10 October 2007 directed the BDO, Banskandi Development Block to attend her office on 15 November 2007. On the other hand, that the PIO of the Block transferred his petition to each of the Gaon Panchayat Secretaries under the Block on 1 August 2007. Then the BDO issued another letter to each of the Secretaries of the Gaon Panchayat asking them to furnish the information to him on or before 30 November 2007. The CEO once again issued another letter dated 29 October 2007 to the BDO asking him to attend her office with all the relevant documents on 15 November 2007. The BDO issued a letter dated 26 November 2007 to each of the GP Secretaries to furnish information within 7 days of the receipt of the letter.

Eventually almost after seven months of tribulation some information were furnished to the applicant. But most of these were incorrect, incomplete and misleading. Hence he appealed to the SIC vide his letter dated 18 January 2008 for directing the BDO to furnish complete and correct information. It was also stated that the applicant did not receive any information regarding the Tara Pumps and the Ring Wells from the BDO. Moreover, in the list of beneficiaries under the IAY scheme, the father’s name of any of the beneficiaries was not mentioned making it difficult for him to ascertain whether the lists furnished to him were correct or not. Further it was prayed that penalties as per the provisions of the Act may be imposed on the erring officers.

Mr. Laskar confided in me that before submission of appeal to the SIC on 31 July 2007 many persons allegedly on behalf of the said Block Development Officer approached him with offer of handsome rewards in the form of cash or kind. After submission of the said appeal the attitude of these persons turned upside down. They started to intimidate the applicant. The threat meted out to him included that of prosecution, arrest, harassment of relatives and physical assault, injury and even death.

The SIC fixed 3 May 2008 for hearing first but did not take hearing on view of the absence of the respondents. The next date was fixed on 17 June 2008. A false FIR was registered under section 143, 447, 341, 353, 383, 379 and 487 of the Indian penal Code, 1860 vide Lakhipur Police Station Case No. 148/08 against 5 members of Kishan Bikash Samity and 30 other unidentified persons of the locality.

With the excuse of arresting those unidentified persons, police raided houses of the members of Kishan Bikash Samity and their sympathisers and harassed the inmates. Mr. Sahidul Haque Laskar applied for pre-arrest bail in the Gauhati High Court apprehending arrest though he was not named in the FIR. High Court granted him pre-arrest bail vide B A No. 2447 of 2008. The High Court accepted that the ground for apprehension of arrest is the date of hearing on 17 July 2008 before the SIC and mentioned in the bail order that bail should be granted so as he can appear before the SIC on that day

Hearing was held in the absence of the respondents. As requested I accompanied the applicant and presented the case before the SIC on his behalf. During my oral submission the State Information Commissioner Mr. B K Gohain asked for the reasons for seeking such voluminous information. When I replied that the organization of the applicant wants to hold a Public Hearing or Social Audit of the works of Panchayati Raj System in his Development Block Area he repeatedly told me that this is “unauthorized”!!

The SIC ignored the provisions of section 6 (3) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 regarding information relating to Tara Pumps and Ring Wells sought for by the applicant. The said section of law provides that “where an application is made to a public authority requesting for an information,—(i) which is held by another public authority; or (ii) the subject matter of which is more closely connected with the functions of another public authority, the public authority, to which such application is made, shall transfer the application or such part of it as may be appropriate to that other public authority and inform the applicant immediately about such transfer: Provided that the transfer of an application pursuant to this sub-section shall be made as soon as practicable but in no case later than five days from the date of receipt of the application”. The SIC directed after more than seven month of filing the application “the CEO, Zila Parishad and the BDO of Banskandi Development Block to furnish information relating to Tara Pumps and Ring wells to the complainant within 30 days of the date of this order if the information was available with them. In case it is not available, they should inform the complainant as to the public authority which implements the schemes”.

The SIC admitted that the information furnished were incomplete and misleading and “direct(ed) the
BDO, Banskandi Development Block to instruct the Secretaries of the Gaon Panchayats under his jurisdiction to allow the complainant to inspect the records containing the names of the beneficiaries under the IAY scheme and to take notes of the fathers’ names of the beneficiaries under the IAY scheme which should be certified by the Secretaries of the Panchayats. This should be completed within 30 days from today”. But SIC also praised the public authorities for furnishing such information stating that “it was seen by the Commission that the Secretaries of the GPs had taken pains to get the lists of the beneficiaries under these schemes copied electronically inspite of their limited resources which is commendable.” The Act in section 4 (1) (a) lays down that ‘every public authority shall maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner and the form which facilitates the right to information under this Act and ensure that all records that are appropriate to be computerised are, within a reasonable time and subject to availability of resources, computerised and connected through a network all over the country on different systems so that access to such records is facilitated”. It is now nearly three years after the Act came into force and still copying names electronically after seven months of filing application is a commendable work!!

There is a perception that the Right to Information Act, 2005 is stronger and more effective than the earlier versions of the law because it has teeth in the form of penalty clause [section 20 (1)] which lays down that “where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees: Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him: Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be.” But contrary to the law, it seems that where the PIO is not present in the hearing of an appeal against him despite service of notice it is the duty of the SIC to take his burden on its own shoulder and let off the delinquent!! So, it is seen that the teeth of this Act also can not bite. It is an undisputed universally recognized fact that without sanction a law is not effective and cannot serve its purpose.

The survey referred to above cites that only 8% of the applicants who seek information under the RTI Act, 2005 eventually get information and other 92% have to give up and incur financial and other types of loss. Is the RTI is slowly strangulated in Assam before it can even cross its infancy?

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Assam minister Ripun Bora arrested

Assam minister Ripun Bora arrested

by CBI

Assam education minister Ripun Bora has been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in New Delhi while he was there in the national capital. According to information, the education minister was arrested in connection with a Rs 10 lakh bribery case. Mr Bora was picked up at his residence from Mothura Road. Sources say he was arrested while he was trying to bribe the CBI officer which was probing a murder case of Danial Toppo. Interrogation is on.

Amar Asom journalist Mukul Pathak as also been arrested with Mr Bora. Mukul tried to bribe the CBI men on behalf of the minister.

Source: Assam Times

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Appeal regarding Extra-Judicial Killing of Four Persons in Imphal East District of Manipur

Name of victims:
1. Mr. Mohammad Qudur Ali, aged 22 years, son of Mr. Mohammad Hayat Ali, residing at Urup Makha Leikai, Imphal East district, Manipur
2. Mr. Naorem Boinao, aged 23 years, residing at Kakwa Naorem Leikai, Imphal East district, Manipur
3. Mr. Santhosh Pradhan, aged 26 years, residing at Manthripukhri, Imphal East district, Manipur
4. Mr. Khaidem Boker, aged 27 years, residing at Kakwa Huidrom Leikai, Imphal East district, Manipur

Name of alleged perpetrators: Police officers attached to Manipur State Police Commando Unit

Date of incident: 7 February 2008

Place of incident: Imphal East district, Manipur

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) voices its concern regarding the case of the murder of the four persons named above. BHRPC has been informed that all of them were taken into custody by the state police commando unit in two different incidents and were later found dead on the same day evening.

In the case of Mr. Mohammad Ali, Ali was arrested from a queue while he was waiting for his turn to obtain an election identity card in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office. Whereas in the case of the other three victims they were taken into custody from various places within Imphal East district, without reason attributed for their arrest. Hours after arrest the bodies of the victims were found abandoned in suspicious circumstances within the district, of which Ali's body was found near the place where he was taken into custody. All the four victims have gunshot injuries on their body. The police has accused that the victims were related to anti-national forces active in the region and that they were all murdered while they tried to escape.

The manner of arrest and the circumstances in which their dead bodies were found suggests that the state police commando unit has in fact murdered persons on mere suspicion, which is an offense in law in India.

BHRPC has been informed that a Joint Action Committee (JAC) has been formed to protest against the murders and that the state Chief Minister has agreed to order an enquiry into the incident. It is highly suspicious that four persons arrested from different places in the state under diverse circumstances were all found dead hours after their arrest. It is equally unbelievable that they all tried to escape from the custody soon after arrest.

I therefore request you to ensure that:

1. the enquiry ordered into the cases are conducted impartially;

2. the witnesses in all the four cases are given adequate protection;

3. the police officers responsible for the incidents and their immediate commanding officers are kept under suspension until a civilian court decides the matter;

4. the state government pays an ex-gratia payment to the relatives of the victims, and;

5. the progress of the enquiry and investigation in this case is periodically released in the form of press releases by the state government.

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Thursday, 3 April 2008

Police Atrocity and Impunity

An Assam Police personnel posted at Tarapur Police Outpost under Silchar Sadar Police Station in Cachar, Assam on 2 March, 2008 rode a motor bike into the house of Mr. Manik Paul of Rabindra Sarani, Shivbari Road, Tarapur Part-VI, Silchar and grabbed Miss Mamon Paul, a 13 years old girl, by her hand and took her forcibly with him.

The said police personnel was Assistant Sub Inspector Mr. Kshitish Chandra Das who started his mission soon after Mr. Manik Paul, Mr. Pradip Paul and Mr. Sukumar Das of the same address had been sent to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Silcharby by the In-Charge of Tarapur Outpost for treatment. They sustained serious head injuries caused by iron rods with which they were severely beaten by Mr. Bhajan Mazumder, Mr.Bokul Mazumder and Mr. Nitu Mazumder, residents of the same locality. It is alleged by Mrs. Shilpi Paul, wife of Mr. Manik Paul, that Mr Bhajan Mazumder and other are rich and powerful persons of the locality due to their affiliation with ruling party of the sate. They had been trying to exclude some people of the area who are supposedly supporters of other political parties from the use of water from a public tape installed and maintained by the Public Health and Engineering Department of the state government. Mr. Bhajan Mazumder and others were threatening women of the families of Mr. Manik Paul and others with dire consequences including grievous hurt and prosecution in case that they would not abstain themselves from fetching water from the tape. The persons threatened complained of the same to the Legal Aid Cell, a local legal aid organization. Rina Paul, a woman from a Paul family, stated that at about 8am on 2 March, 2008 when she and other women were filling their jars with water from the said tape Mr. Bhajan Mazumder and Mr. Bokul Mazumder, both are sons of Mr. Sudhir Mazumder and some other people started to assault the women. At that time some people came to rescue the women who were too beaten by iron rods by the said persons. Mr. Pradip Paul, son of late Pranesh Paul and Mr. Sukumar Das, son of late Naresh Chnadra Das sustained severe head injuries due to the beatings. Ms Rina Paul and others brought the injured to the Tarapur Outpost. Ms Paul further stated that the accused persons were also present there and a police man had conversation with them following which that police man filed a conspiratorial complaint against the injured persons and others who accompanied them.

Mrs. Shilpi Paul, the mother of Mamon Paul, stated that after her husband and other injured persons had been sent to Tarapur Outpost a police man in uniform but without wearing his name plate and cap came to their house with motor bike and forcibly entered in. He asked her daughter Mamon Paul to accompany him and upon her denial he grabbed her by the hands and forcibly making her to sit on the back seat of his bike started away not giving a little heed to her crying. Mrs. Shilpi Paul ran after them crying and screaming. She contacted Mr. Ranjit Bhattacharya and Mrs. Shobha Bhattacharya, President of Cachar Din Mazdur Union and President of All India Democratic Women Association (Tarapur Brach) respectively and informed them of the incident. Then all of them and other persons who came to know about it started to scream and cry. In the hue and cry people of the locality came out and were able to stop the fleeing police man at Sukanta Road, about one kilometer away from the house of Miss Mamon Paul. At the demand of people to disclose his identity the police personnel showed his name plate and told that he was an Assistant Sub Inspector of Police. Nonetheless, the ASI of police tried to go away with the girl. He hurled abuses at the protesting people, bullied them and threatened them that he would arrest all of them if they tried to prevent him. At that time another police constable in civil dress named Mr. Himangsu Das arrived in a motor car and joined the ASI at his attempt to take away the girl. But they failed in the face of resistance put forth by the people.

Mrs. Shilpi Paul filed a complaint regarding the matter with the Superintendent of Police, Cachar and at the advice of N S Gogoi, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Headquarter), Cachar submitted a formal complaint with Mr. Ashok Shaha, officer in charge of Silchar Sadar police station on 3 March 2008. A delegate of the people of Tarapur area led by Ranjit Bhtacharya, President, Cachar Din Mazdur Union and Sumita Bhattacharya, Secretary, AIDWA (Tarapur Branch) met the DSP who assured them of appropriate actions regarding their complaints. But till date no First Information Report was registered against either Mr. Bhajan Mazumder and other accused persons or the two delinquent police personnel.

On the other hand, the same DSP did not admit any delinquency on the part of the two accused police personnel. "When asked about the incident the DSP (Headquarter) laughed it away saying that the two police personnel had just asked eye-witness Mamon to come to the Outpost to interrogate her about the case, nothing more happened", reported Samayik Prasanga, a local daily news paper, on 4 March, 2008. In fact, it is nothing but an effort at covering up the alleged offences of his colleagues. It is a practice of the higher officials of Assam Police to save those who work at the behest of leaders and cadres of the political party in power in contravention of law and in breach of mandatory legal duties violating human rights of the citizens.

Even if the assertion of the DSP that the two accused police personnel just asked Mamon to come to the Outpost is to be supposed to be true for a moment for the sake of argument then this itself violates the Guidelines regarding Arrest. The Guidelines tells that if a woman or a child does not want to go to the police station his or her statement must be recorded at any place other than the police station.

Moreover, there is no purpose to ask her to come to the Outpost without registering an FIR and designating anybody as Investigation Officer. If necessary they could record her statement at her residence. A police officer must wear his name plate clearly showing his name and designation when he is conducting an arrest, investigation or other such procedure as per requirement issued by the Supreme court of India in DK Basu Vr. The sate of West Bengal and Guidelines regarding Arrest issued by National Human Rights Commission. Dispensing with this requirement and the requirement to be accompanied by a respectable local person which are mandatory in law, timing of the visit and other circumstantial evidences clearly establish his criminal intention.

In the course of its fact finding effort Barak Human Rights Protection Committee came across 43 persons all of whom witnessed the desperate efforts made by the said two police personnel to take away the victim girl with them. Their statements in a single voice accuse the police personnel of offences falling under section 34, 448 and 365 read with 511 of the Indian Panel Code, 1860. Both the police personnel made the attempt to kidnap the victim girl in furtherance of their common intention. So, as per section 34 of the IPC each of them is liable for the act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone. There does not arise any question on the entrance of the ASI into the house of Mamon that it was made with criminal intention because the eye witness accounts corroborated by the circumstantial evidences as stated above prove it beyond any reasonable doubt. Entering a house with criminal intention is an offence of house trespass as defined in section 442 calling for punishment under section 448 of the IPC. This is a cognizable offence. The offence of attempt (511) to kidnap (365) is also cognizable.

The complaint about head injuries caused to Mr. Pradip Paul, Mr. Sukumar Das and Mr Manik Paul by Mr. Bhajan Mazumder, Mr. Bokul Mazumder and Mr. Nitu Mazumder with dangerous weapons like iron rods which, if used to its full potential, is likely to cause death and hence comes under section 34, 324 of the IPC. This offence is also cognizable according to the First Schedule to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973.

There is, therefore, a prima facie case of cognizable offences to be registered by an officer in charge of a police station under section 154(1) of the CrPC which says "Information in cognizable cases. (1) Every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be read Over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf." After the investigation is complete the police have to file charge sheet in the court of the chief judicial magistrate. Then it is up to the judicial authority whether to frame charges against the accused or not. It is not the business of a DSP to pass judgments acquitting the accused without an investigation and hearing the parties. The DSP transgressed his limits of business.

Non-performance of a statutory duty intentionally in disobedience of law by a public servant knowingly to the detriment of any person constitutes an offence under section 166 of the IPC. The complaints suggest that Mr. Satyen Gogoi, the Superintendent of Police, Cachar, Mr. N S Gogoi, the said DSP, and Mr. Ashok Shaha, the officer in charge of Silchar Sadar police station are guilty of this offence.

This offence also constitutes violation of legal rights as well as universally recognized human rights. Where there is a duty there is a correlative right. Duty of the public servants correlates itself with the rights of the public. So breach of duty under section 154 of CrPC amounts to violation of legal rights of the people. It is also evident from the circumstances of the case that some persons, both men and women, who are relatives to the victim girl, were assaulted and subjected to severe injuries with intention to deprive them of the right to use water from a tape installed and maintained for the public at public expenses in collusion with and with abetment o the police. This also amounts to violation of legal rights.

The right to personal liberty guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution of India of which no person can be deprived without the procedure established by law was also jeopardized by the said two police personnel by their attempt to kidnap the victim girl which subjected her to physical and mental trauma. This attempt to kidnap was also made in violation of 'the right to liberty and security of person' enshrined in Article 9(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966. India has bound itself legally by the provisions of this treaty and has the legal obligation to enforce the rights as incorporated therein.

The discriminatory treatment of victim parties by the police apparently on the basis of political opinion also violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India which guarantees equality before law and equal protection of law to all persons. This right to equality before law is also provided in Article 14 of the ICCPR, which was violated in this case.

Every right violated gives birth to a new right to remedies. Where there is a right there is a remedy is a basic principle of law. This right is also provided in the Constitution of India in Articles 32 and 226. The Supreme Court and High Courts in India held in many cases that right to remedies is also implied in Article 21 of the Constitution. Article 2(1) of the ICCPR also provides for this right to remedies and prohibits discrimination on the ground of, inter alia, political opinion explicitly. The right to remedies consists of (i) Access to justice by way of an impartial investigation and prosecution and conviction of the violators in a fair trial, (ii) Reparation of the harms done to the victims, and (iii) right to know the truth behind the al relevant matter relating to the violations. Non-registration of the complaints against the accused kills all these rights in the buds and ensures their impunity against the law of the land as well as international human rights law.

Impunity is the failure of the sate to provide to fully investigate the violations, to bring to justice and punish perpetrators, to provide victims with effective remedies and to take all necessary steps to prevent recurrence of the violations. Impunity multiplies violations and it deserves to be dealt with by the iron hands.

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee wrote a complaint o the Deputy Commissioner, Cachar on 11 March, 2008 demanding him i) to register the complaint of the victims as an FIR, ii) to arrest the accused and entrust the investigation of the case to a high level officer and iii) to pay adequate compensation to the victim girl. But no action has still been taken.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Armed together Against Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Although there is no existence of a single worth-mention indigenous Armed Opposition Group operating in Barak Valley, the southern part of the North Eastern state of Assam in India comprising of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts with a population of about four million, it has been notified as ‘disturbed area’ under the infamous Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958. It May not be denied that some members of the AOGs based in neighbouring states of Manipur, Nagaland or other parts of Assam try to use the area as a rest house, however, in most cases in vain mainly due to the fact that people of the area are peace loving and unsympathetic towards violent way of life. 80% of the people depending basically on agriculture are just struggling to survive the odds of weather and fate. They do not nurture any great expectations or exacting demands against the State or God. Are these the reasons why Indira Gandhi dubbed the valley as ‘Island of Peace’?
This ‘island of peace’ has been disturbed now for quite some time as much by the ‘disturbed area’ of the AFSPA as by activities of members of groups believing in Freedom of Assuming Special Powers with Arms. Many a family gets sandwiched between AFSPA and FASPA. This double victimization happens when some members of an AOG in the dead of night come to a house and ask for food, bed and other luxuries at gun points. There is no way out to escape the bullets even in case of hesitance, leave alone the option of denial. In the morning well after they had gone away the state security forces arrive and in the name of search and interrogation they virtually wreak havoc on the lives of the people present in the house. Severe beatings with gun butts and bayonets, destruction of household goods, sexual assault on women and children, humiliation and every other type of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are meted out. State security forces wear shield of legal impunity by virtue of ASFPA and members of AOG are stripped off any legal garb under the FASPA and no law can touch them. How many of such cases constitute a fit case for application of international humanitarian law?
There is a more terrific development in the situation now. A rapport has been developed, of late, between the members of state security forces and members of certain AOGs. They hatched a conspiracy to cut all tongues and fingers which would move in protest or rise to point the fact respectively and started acting to translate it in reality.
Such a collective effort of Assam Police, Central Reserve Police Force and an AOG come into light with death of Jamir Uddin Laskar, 35 years, of village Boincherra (also known as as Bhaicherra) under the Katlicherra Police Station in the district of Hailakandi in Barak Valley of Assam on 22 October, 2007 at about 10am caused by bullet wound fired upon by five CRPF personnel belonging to E-147 company camping at Gharmura, Hailakandi. According to the eye witness account of the incident the deceased was collecting grass for his cattle from a nearby paddy field when the jawans came accompanied by a villager known as CRPF informer who identified the deceased by pointing his finger and the jawans shot several rounds of bullets at him. The report of Barak Human Rights Protection Committee fact-finding team cites two possible causes of this murder: (i) Jamir Uddin’s elder brother was earlier killed by some members of an AOG and since then he was working actively against the AOG and was vocal against the rapport between the CRPF and that AOG and (ii) there was a family feud between the supposed CRPF informer and the deceased.

This is a case of blatant violation of the inviolable right to life recognized in Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which India is a party and has the obligation under Article 2 of that Covenant “to ensure that any person whose rights and freedoms as herein recognized are violated and shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity”. This right is also guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the right to remedies also flows from this Article. Moreover, in Indian ordinary criminal law this act of murder falls squarely under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC). These sections of law impose a mandatory duty on the police and magistrate to register a First Information Report of the case and hold inquest and other preliminary inquiry. But the CRPF and Assam Police defying the authority of law and slapping on the face of logic registered an FIR against the deceased in Katlicherra police station.

It is a practice followed by the security forces in independent India established by the British police to suppress the freedom movement that if a person is in the hit-list simply go to his home, call him and shoot him to death. Thereafter file an FIR charging the deceased of attempt to murder under section 307 of the IPC and put on record that he was died in an encounter in your exercise of power either conferred by section 100 of the IPC which gives the right to self defence or 46(3) of the CrPC which empowers police to use force necessary to effect an arrest. The question whether the practice has any legality in it came for consideration before National Human Rights Commission in Case No. 234 (6)/93-94. The observation of the Commission deserves to be quoted in extenso: “Section 154 CrPC provides that if information is given orally relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, the officer-in-charge of the Police Station shall reduce it into writing. Section 156 speaks of power of Police officers to investigate cognizable cases. Section 157 provides that if a cognizable offence is suspected from the information received or from other sources, the officer-in-charge of the Police Station shall forthwith send a report of the same to the Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of such offence and he shall proceed to take up investigation of the case. Section 173 requires the investigation to be completed with expedition and as soon as it is completed to forward the investigation report to the concerned Magistrate. The investigation must be directed to find out if and what offence is committed and as to who are the offenders. If, upon completion of the investigation, it appears to the officer-in-charge of the Police Station that there is no sufficient evidence or reasonable ground, he may decide to release the suspected accused, if in custody, on his executing a bond. If, however, it appears to him that there is sufficient evidence or reasonable ground to place the accused on trial, he has to take necessary steps as provided in Section 170 of the Code. In either case, on completion of the investigation, he has to submit a report to the Magistrate. The report of investigation in such cases should be examined thoroughly by the Magistrate so that complete application of the judicial mind is available to ensure just investigation and upright conclusion. The Magistrate, on consideration of the report, may either accept the same or disagree with the conclusions and call for further investigation as provided in Section 173 (8) of the Code. If the Magistrate accepts the report, he can take cognizance of the offence under Section 190 of the Code.

“Section 157 (1) requires the officer-in-charge of the police station to apply his mind to the information received and the surrounding circumstances to find out whether there is reason to suspect the commission of a cognizable offence which he is empowered under Section 156 to investigate. He cannot mechanically accept the information received. When the information received indicates that death was caused in the encounter as a result of the firing by the Police, prima facie the ingredients of Section 299 IPC which defines culpable homicide are satisfied. This is sufficient to suspect that an offence of culpable homicide has been committed. Thus, Section 157 of the Code is attracted calling for investigation. Any plea like causing of the death in the case does not constitute an offence either because it was done in exercise of the right of private defence or in exercise of the powers of arrest conferred by Section 46 of the Code, can be accepted only after investigating into the facts and circumstances. Section 100 of IPC provides that right of private defence of the body extends to the voluntary causing of death if occasion for exercise of the right falls in any one of the six categories enumerated in that Section. Whether the case falls under any one of the six categories, can only be ascertained by proper investigation. Similarly, when Section 46 (3) of the Code is invoked, it has to be ascertained as to whether the death of the deceased occurred when he forcibly resisted the endeavour of the Police to arrest him and whether the deceased was accused of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life. Without proper investigation, the Police officer cannot say that the causing of the death in the encounter was not an offence either because it was done in exercise of the right of private defence or was done in legitimate exercise of the power conferred by Sec. 46 of the Code.

“Section 174 of the Code says that when the Police officer in charge of the Police station receives information that a person has been killed by another, he shall make an investigation about the apparent cause of death and submit a report to the District or Sub-Divisional Magistrate and also to take steps to arrange for the autopsy of the body. These provisions indicate that unnatural death has to be taken note of seriously by the Police and required them to find out by investigation the real cause of death. The responsibility is greater when it is the Police that are the cause of unnatural death. There is also a general feeling that most of the encounters are fake. It is, therefore, in public interest that the conduct of the Police involved is subjected to proper scrutiny by investigation. To avoid the possibility of bias, the investigation in such cases should be entrusted to an independent agency like the State CID by a general order of the Government. We are, therefore, of the opinion that when information is received in the Police Station about the causing of the death by the Police officer in an encounter, the officer-in-charge of the Police Station must, after recording that information, draw the inference that there is reason to suspect the commission of an offence and proceed to investigate the same as required by Section 157 of the Code. If such a procedure is not required to be followed, it would give licence to the Police to kill with impunity any citizen in the name of an encounter by just stating that he acted in ‘the right of private defence’ or under Section 46 of the Code. A procedure which brings about such unjust, unfair and unreasonable consequences cannot be countenanced as being within Article 21 of the Constitution.”

There is another more recent case of blatant disregard of law and human rights which, on the other hand, concretely establishes the theory of rapport between security forces and AOGs. On 19 March, 2008 at about 10.30 pm one Gypsy and two 407 truck-ful of CRPF personnel belonging to 147 battalion camping at Kashipur, Cachar along with Mr. S C Nath, an Assistant Sub Inspector of Police posted at Borkhola police station in Cachar, came at Behara Bazar under the jurisdiction of Katigorah police station, Cachar and picked up Mr. Ranjit Roy, Mr. Birbikram Deb and Mr. Raju Kar at gun point.

These three youth are ordinary residents of Behara Bazar and by occupation businessmen with small shops at the bazaar. As usual they were shutting the shutters of their shops after the day's drudgery to go home when they were accosted by the said security forces. The CRPF personnel started to beat them with gun butt and bayonet inflicting intentionally severe pain causing sufferings and hurts on their persons apparently to intimidate them and rob them of their belongings. When at the scream of the victims people started to come out and gather around the scene the CRPF men took them aboard a vehicle and went away.

They went to an adjacent temple named Loknath Mandir at Nilcherra and woke up Mr. Sandipan Chakrabarti and Subir Guha, drivers of the temple, who were asleep there. Here also the CRPF jawans applied their gun butts and bayonets causing more serious injuries to both the said persons with intention to force them to board a vehicle at which Mr. Swapan Bhattacharya, the priest of the temple, protested. Abuses and intimidation were also hurled at him. But on the possibility of waking up nieghbourhood people by this hullabaloo the CRPF personnel left these two victims.

Now they went with the first mentioned three victims not to the Katigorah police station under which jurisdiction they were in action but to the Borkhola police station and tried to persuade Mr. Ajijur Rahman, the Officer in Charge of the police station, to register an FIR against the victims by producing six fresh bullets and claiming that these had been found with the victims. After interrogation Mr. Ajijur Rahman denied to admit the CRPF theory that the victims belonged to any non-state armed organizations as well as to frame them as such. But Mr. Ajijur Rahman himself detained the victims illegally for the whole night instead of making arrangement for their medical treatment. He acted in contravention of strictures of the law of the land and international human rights law, perhaps, as well-known practice of Assam Police suggests, for a few thousand rupees from the victims.

There was an eerie environment of fear and tension everywhere in Barak Valley when the news reached people the next morning. Despite this, some individuals and organizations including Barak Human Rights Protection Committee came into action and contacted senior police officers and the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar. The five victims were sent to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Silchar for treatment.

ASI S C Nath stated on 20 March, 2008 at the Office of the Superintendent of Police in the presence of media and social and human rights activists that CRPF personnel themselves had kept the bullets in the pockets of the victims forcibly. Senior CRPF officer S S Bohar made himself present at the SP office a little later and apologized to the people for the incident of the day before. He admitted that CRPF acted wrong information and also promised that there would be an inquiry into the matter. SP, Cachar also promised to take necessary actions in this regard.

On the other hand, Mr. Biswajit Sinha, the OC of Katigorah police station denied to register the complaints filed by the Mr. Ranjit Roy and his two companion victims and by the authority of Nilcherra Loknath Mandir as FIRs. Mr. Ranjit Roy and others alleged in their complaints that Mr Tapan Deb, Mr. Sujit Deb of village Dinanathpur and Mr. Sanjay Mahato of village Chayaranbasti were behind the whole incident. Local people alleged that these three persons are known as CRPF informer as well as members of an AOG having a camp in the area. Mr. Kanailal Bhattacharya, joint secretary of Desh Bondhu Club, was called on his cell number 94353 72029 from +9194356 66043 at 6. 57 pm on 21 March, 2008 and threatened with death apparently for his co-operation with BHRPC fact-finding team. The caller was Tapan Deb and the number from which the call was made is usually used by local chief of the AOG, Mr. Bhattacharya alleged. He also claimed that Mr. Tapan Deb, Mr. Sujit Deb and Mr. Sanjay Mahato have been using the AOG camp as their hideout. Local people also alleged that Mr. Haidar Hussain Laskar, an ASI at Behara Outpost works as an informer of the AOG more than as a police officer on the ground that if he was given any information regarding the trafficking of arms and ammunitions and other illegal activities of the AOG he cautions them instead of taking any actions against them.

In the complaint Mr. Ranjit Roy, Mr. Birbikram Deb and Mr. Raju Kar also alleged that the CRPF personnel took away rupees 2,275.00 (two thousand two hundred and seventy five) only, rupees 6,000.00 (six thousand) only and a wrist watch and rupees 2,320.00 (two thousand three hundred and twenty) only from them respectively at gun point.

The victims and local people alleged that this incident is only a spoke in the larger ring of the conspiracy between the men holding arms, legitimately or illegitimately, against the civilians to extort and exploit them and to ensure permanence of this terror regime by setting example of the persons who might dare to protest. Efforts of fabricating evidence by keeping bullets in the pockets of the victims and producing them at the police station and of efforts of framing them at least under section 122 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 intending to procure their conviction under that section attract section 195 of the IPC which is a non-cognizable offence. The CRPF personnel attempted to institute a criminal proceeding on the false charge of collecting arms with intention of waging war against the government of India. This attempt also amounts to a non-cognizable offence as per law laid down in section 211 read with sections 511 and 195 of the IPC. The threatening phone call to Mr. Kanailal Bhattacharya reinforces the conspiracy theory of the local people and sections 120B and 34 of the IPC come into play.

Fist of the many offences committed by CRPF and AP personnel that day is the criminal trespass fitting squarely under section 447 of the IPC. If they were to arrest the victims on a reasonable suspicion they should have procured warrant and informed the concerned police station and made themselves accompanied by a responsible officer of that police station and a respectable local citizen. They did nothing of the sorts. So they entered the property of the victims with criminal intention.

Further, they picked up the victims at gun points committing contempt of law of the arrest as established by international human right treaties and customary laws, the Constitution of India, the CrPC, 1973 and the mandatory requirements issued by the Supreme Court of India and Guidelines regarding arrest issued by the National Human Rights Commission. Their beatings by bayonets and gun butts causing acute pain and serious injuries to the victims not only violate UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials but also come under section 325 of IPC at the least. This act of violence by security forces also fits in the definition of torture given in Article 1 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to which India is a signatory. Such torture is also prohibited by Article 7 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which India is a party. Torture also violates right to life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as held by the Supreme Court in numerous judgments.

The act of dacoity alleged in the complaints of the victims is a serious crime falling under section 395 which is cognizable, non-bailable and punishable with imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for10 years or fine. Illegal detention of the victims at Borkhola police station by the OC also constitutes the offence of wrongful confinement under section 344 of the IPC.

So there appears a prima facie case against ASI S C Nath, CRPF personnel taking part in the 'operation' and supposed CRPF informers under sections 120B, 34, 447, 193, 325, 395, 506, 342 and 211 read with 511,155 of the IPC. Many of the offences are serious and cognizable.

Section 154 of the CrPC imposes a duty on an officer in charge of a police station to register the complaint in a proper form if he gets information regarding commission of a cognizable offence. The OC, Katigorah P.S. failed to perform intentionally this statutory mandate by denying to register the complaints of the victims. This, in turn, attracts section 166 of the IPC which lays down offence of disobeying law by public servant with intent to cause injury to any person.

This is a practice on the part of the security forces to maintain a de fecto regime of impunity for their delinquent colleagues. Impunity encourages repetition of the crimes and violations of human rights. So no violation is to be let to go unattended. Wherever there is a violation of a right there accrues a new right to remedies. Indeed the right to remedies is the most important human right. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides this right in Article 2. The UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment contains it in Article 14. The Constitution of India guaranteed the right to remedies in Articles 226 and 32 under which the Supreme Court and High Courts of India held that this right is also implicit in Article 21. Right to remedies include (a) access to justice consisting of impartial investigation of the complaint and prosecution and conviction of those found guilty in a fair trial, (b) reparation for harm suffered and (c) right to know the truth about the violations.

In which way the people should go for enforcement of their rights and exercise of liberties? The Gandhi way or the Mao way? 6 years of fast unto death of Irom Sharmila is not a very inspiring case in all respect. But it is always good to strive for apparent impossible and unattainable.

Sunday, 23 March 2008


SadarghatRoad, Silchar-788001, Assam, India. Email:
(A Human Rights Organisation registered vide No. RS/CA/3/61 of 2002-03 dated 1st October 2002)


Where there are human beings there are human rights. Human rights came in this world with the coming of the first group of human beings and will exist until the last group of human beings is not eliminated. These rights inhere in every human being by virtue of the only fact that he or she is a human being. Human rights are inalienable, inviolable and indivisible. Though they may not have been recognized technically as such by certain groups, or in certain times of history, or in some places the position of these rights remain all the same. The normative superiority of human rights can not be lowered by non-recognition or non-adherence. On the other hand, history shows that these rights were known to all peoples in all periods but in different names and forms such as natural rights, civil liberties or rights, rights of men etc. The term “human rights” is used for the first time in the Charter of United Nations in 1945. The present day concept of human rights can be described as those absolute rights which inhere equally in every human being by virtue of the fact that he or she is a human being and which are sine qua non for maintaining his or her inherent human dignity and worth and for developing his or her inherent faculty and personality. Human rights are both end unto themselves and means to establish and maintain peace and happiness in the world. As human civilization is ever changing so the concept of human rights is dynamic. Enumeration of human rights varies from time to time keeping pace with civilization.

Appalled by the gruesome devastation of the Second World War (1942-1946) and pressed by the International Human Rights Movement United Nations’ Genral Assembly proclaimed a Universal Declaration of Human Rights setting “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations” based upon which an International Human Rights Structure has evolved.

Members of international community have bound themselves for protection and promotion of human rights and prevention of their violations in a number of treaties and other instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966; the two Optional Protocols to the former; the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discriminations, 1965; the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discriminations Against Women, 1979; the United Nations Convention Against Torture, or Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1984; the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child, 1989 and many other such instruments. India is also the party to a number of such important treaties.

Fundamental human rights are also guaranteed in the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court and High Courts are made the custodians of these rights. There are other laws and mechanisms in India guaranteeing human rights enacted and constituted to fulfill its obligations under international law and treaties. One such legislation is the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, which encourages explicitly under section 12(i) the efforts of Non-Governmental Organisations in the field of human rights. Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) is such a non-profit organization.

The Context:

In Article 3 of the constitution of BHRPC the area of operation is defined as “basically entire Barak Valley and if necessary beyond this area”. Barak Valley is the part of the globe which is located in southern part of the state of Assam in India where about four million people live mainly on agriculture. Almost 80% people of Barak Valley belong to Bengali speaking Hindu and Muslim communities and others are Manipuri Meitei and Bishnupriya, Jharkhandi (Sadani speaking) Hindi speaking people, Dimasa, Khasi-Pnar, Hmar, Riang etc. while Assam, or for that matter the entire North East India is populated by nearly 70 ethnic groups.

The land now known as Barak Valley was in part an independent kingdom known as Cachar before the British annexed it to the empire in 1832 and the rest was a part of Sylhet district of Bengal. The districts of Cachar and Sylhet along with Goalpara were appended to Assam in 1874. At the time of partition in 1947, following the referendum as to the question of joining India or Pakistan held in Sylhet, as per recommendations of the Radcliff Commission the area covering the jurisdiction of three police stations and half area of another police station of Sylhet district joined India and the district of Cachar was formed of four sub-divisions, namely, Cachar, Karimganj, Hailakandi and North Cachar Hills. Later on North Cachar Hills was curved out form Cachar and annexed with Mikir Hills. Subsequently in 1983 Karimganj and in 1993 Hailakandi were declared separate districts of Assam. Now Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts are known as Barak Valley for their relative geographical and cultural unity after the name of the main river of the area.

After a few years of the independence of India the ethnic groups of North East India, a region rich with cultural and geographical diversity, tended to slacken ties with each other and with the main land India. Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh were curved out from Assam and were made separate states. Though the cases of Manipur and Nagaland are slightly different, this politics of assertion and establishment of separate identity gave birth to the violent secessionist movements through the pangs of “Language Movement” of 1961 in Barak Valley, “Assam Movement” of seventies culminating in the Neelie Massacre of 1983 and resulting in formation and operation of various armed opposition groups turning the region into a conflict zone. The war field where the main casualties of the conflicts are security, justice, peace and human rights includes Barak Valley also. The valley being a free play ground of corruption, nepotism, political vested interests as well as illiteracy and poverty the human plight here got further worsened.

Establishment and Status:

It was in this context in 2002 that human rights activists of the valley came together for defending human rights and formed this Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (abbreviated as BHRPC) on 28 th June and was registered under the Societies Registration Act. 1860 vide No. RS/CA/3/61 of 2002-03 dated 1st October 2002.


The main objectives are (i) to promote and protect human rights and prevent their violations, (ii) to improve socio-economic situation and (iii) to work for democracy, secularism and world peace.


1.1 Activities aimed at promoting human rights include: (i) Projects of research and study of human rights law and situations and other related matters, (ii) Awareness generation campaigns through public meetings, lectures, seminars, symposiums, workshops, publications etc. (iii) Awards to, or felicitations of, the activists, journalists, authors and other outstanding contributors in the field and (iv) Cultural activities including drama, documentaries and other arts.

1.2 Activities aimed at protecting human rights include: (i) Monitoring and documentation of cases of violations, (ii) Reporting cases of violations to the appropriate forums for justice by way of legal action or otherwise (iii) Resorting to street actions if and when needed and (iv) Rendering services aimed at relief and rehabilitation of the victims including victims of man-made and natural disasters.

1.3 Activities aimed at preventing violation of human rights include: (i) taking measures for implementation of the existing laws, rules, guidelines etc., (ii) Examining drawbacks, lacuna and loopholes of laws and suggesting repeal, amendments and enactments (iii) Programmes to sensitize law enforcement and defence agencies and (iv) Maintenance of emergency help-lines.

Same activities may serve more than one purpose and as such fall under all three categories mentioned above. Here are some of such activities: (i) Custodial Justice Programme, (ii) National Human Rights Guidelines Awareness and Implementation Programme (iii) Right to Information Programme (iv) Free legal Aid and Services Programme, (v) Gender Justice Programme and (vi) Child Rights Programme.

2. Activities aimed at socio-economic development include: (i) Disaster Risk Management Programme, (ii) HIV / AIDS Awareness Campaign (iii) Environmental Awareness Campaign and (iv) Various development and service porgrammes.

3. All programmes and activities of BHRPC would be directed in such a way as they can contribute as much as possible towards securing justice, democracy, secularism and world peace. Besides, other exclusive programmes would be taken solely aiming at furthering the cause of democracy, secularism and peace.

In all programmes and activities of BHRPC creation and mobilization of public opinion is emphasized.


1. Houses:

The Committee is comprised of six houses:

1.1. Auxiliary Body: Any person agreeing with the ideology, constitution and other rules and regulations of the organization and having interest in human rights can join the organization by joining first the Auxiliary body as Auxiliary Member.

1.2. Auxiliary Group: Whenever in a particular locality, at least five auxiliary members join BHRPC, and demand so, or situation demands so, as felt by the Executive Body, an Auxiliary Group may be formed with a convener. The group will act a de fecto primary unit of BHRPC.

2. Associates Body: Members of Auxiliary Body would be nominated to membership of the Associates Body by the Executive Body if and when the latter is satisfied as to the eligibility of the concerned member.

3. Advisory Body: The persons who are specialists / experts in particular fields if agree with the ideology, constitution and rules and regulations of the organization and have interest in human rights may be nominated by the Executive Body as members of the Advisory Body.

4. Board of Patrons: The persons who agree with the ideology, constitution and other rules and regulations of the organization and having interest in human rights but can not participate actively in the activities of the organization for various reasons may be nominated by the Executive Body as members of the Board of Patrons.

5. General Body: Members of Associates Body, Advisory Body and Board of Patrons would be nominated to the membership of the General Body by the Executive Body if and when the latter is satisfied as to the wish and eligibility of the concerned member.

6. Executive Body: The members of the Executive Body are chosen by the members of the General Body from amongst themselves.

2. Offices:

There are some offices in the organization such as (i) The Chairperson, (ii) Vice-Chairperson, (iii) Secretary General, (iv) Joint Secretaries, (v) Secretaries with particular responsibilities and (vi) the Executive Members. These offices are held by the Executive Members as chosen by the members of the General Body. Other positions include Directors, Coordinators, Advisers, Representatives, Spokespersons, Monitors etc. which can be held by members of the Associates Body and other equivalent bodies as nominated by the Executive Body.

3. Divisions:

All activities and programmes of the organization are run by 8 divisions. The divisions work with close co-ordination with each other. They are:

1. Organisation Division:
This division is responsible for all works related to organizational administration.

2. Education and Training Division: This division is responsible for running education centres and giving training to the members of the organization, members of the public and members of the various Government agencies by itself and/or in collaboration with other organisations, institutions and agencies..

3. Case Monitoring Division: This division monitors cases of violations, receives complaints, or institute suo moto complaints of violations, forwards them to the appropriate forums for redressal and pursues till the final disposition.

4. Fact Finding and Documentation Division:
This division is responsible for fact-finding and documentation of a case of violation forwarded to it by the Case Monitoring Division.

5. Free Legal Aid and Services Division:
This division runs “Workshop cum Counseling and Conciliation Centre” approved by the Assam State Legal Services Authority.

6. Projects and Programmes Division: This division adopts, manages and co-ordinates various projects and programmes of the organization.

7. Research and Study Division: This division is responsible for all works related to research and study of human rights law and situations and other related matters.

8. Information and Publication Division:
This division disseminates information relating to BHRPC and other matters related to human rights through publications and responsible for public relations.


Past achievements of the organization include:

1. The term 'human rights' and its significance became more familiar to the people of the valley following many seminars, symposiums, public meetings, workshops, debates, interactive sessions, demonstrations, publications etc. conducted by the organization since its establishment. A drastic increase in recent days can be seen in the numbers of complaints regarding cases of violations filed by the victims and others with the organization, Assam Human Rights Commission and National Human Rights Commission which is indicative of greater awareness of the people. BHRPC received more than 150 complaints in the last year.

2. The organization has published folders and booklets containing Bengali translation (the local language) of (i) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (ii) Provisions of the Legal Services Authority Act, 1988, (iii) Requirements of Arrest under D K Basu Case, (iv) NHRC Guidelines Regarding Arrest, (v) Dos and Don'ts regarding Solid Waste Management and (vi) The Supreme Court Judgment on Employment of Teachers on non-teaching duties and continues to distribute them free of cost among the public.

3. The organization maintains a 24 hours mobile helpline for the victims. A victim or anyone on his behalf can call at anytime on +919435989997 or +919854441275 or can e-mail at

4. The organization has got the status district nodal NGO in Disaster Risk Management Programme from the district administration.

5. The organization has undertaken a research project titled “Freedom from Torture and Ill-treatment: Compatibility of Indian Law and Practice with International Human Rights Standards (Focusing on The North East)”.

6. The organization publishes a yearly magazine on human rights named ‘The Human Voice’ and a monthly e-news letter named ‘RightsNews’.

In the Days to Come:

BHRPC will expand its activities and networking both horizontally and vertically by continuing formation of Auxiliary Groups and nomination of Block Level Monitors of Human Rights in or out of Barak Valley and entering into networking and partnership with other similar minded organisations and institutions in points of mutual agrrement and interests in and out of the valley.

The organization has undertaken a project of translation (in Bengali) and publication of the International Bill of Human Rights and the organization is going to launch its own website. Besides, the organization is contemplating to start some other important programmes for working more conveniently in the area of i) Labour Rights, ii) Agricultural Awareness, iii) Right to Education, iv) Health Rights and v) Rights of Persons with Disabilitis.

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee will continue to fight for rights, justice, peace and truth with resilience and dynamism.

Published and printed by Bijaya Kor-Som, Director, Information and Publication Division, Barak Human Rights Protection Committee, Sadarghat Road, Silchar-1, Cachar, Assam, India on 03/12/07.