Monday, 21 March 2011

From the People proceeds the power of the State: Bertolt Brecht

Article One Of The Weimar Constitution

From the People proceeds the power of the State.
- But where does it proceed to?
Yes, where is it proceeding to?
There’s some place it’s proceeding to.
The policeman proceeds through the station gate.
- But where does he proceed to?

Look, there’s the whole lot on the march.
- But where are they marching to?
Yes, where are they marching to?
There’s some place they are marching to.
They wheel through the gate and under the arch.
- But where are they wheeling to?

The power of the State turns right about.
Something is in the air.
- What can be in the air?
There’s something in the air.
The power of the State gives a piercing shout
And yells: Get moving there!
- But moving why and where?
It yells: Get moving there!

There’s something standing in a crowd
Something which queries that.
Why should it query that?
What cheek to query that!
The state just shoots - for that’s allowed -
And something falls down flat.

What was it fell down flat?
What made it fall like that?

The power of the State sees something spill.
Something lies in the shit.
What’s lying in the shit?
Something’s lying in the shit.
There’s something lying deadly still
- The People, why, that’s it!
Can that really be it?
Yes, that is really it.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Reporters assaulted at Assam University, Silchar for covering students’ agitation

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

They went there to report about the agitation of students after they received information that students started hunger strike. They were beaten up mercilessly. Their cameras and laptops snatched and destroyed. The assault on the reporters at Assam University, Silchar on 25 February 2011 was allegedly led by the university proctor and dean in charge of students' welfare.


According to information, a group of reporters and cameramen mainly belonging to Guwahati-based private television channels including 1. Mr. Samin Sen Deka (40yrs.), reporter, News Time Assam; 2. Bibhuti Mazumder, Silchar Correspondent, NE TV; 3. Anath Bandhu Nandi (Arup), Cameraman, Dy 365; 4. Anupam Mandal, Reporter, Frontier TV and 5. Paplu Das, Cameraman, Frontier TV, reached the university campus with their laptops, cameras and other equipments at about 12 noon on 25 February to report demonstration of students.

Hostel boarders of the university were observing hunger strike and resorted to blockade at the main gate of the campus demanding immediate uninterrupted water supply. Ratan Das, general secretary of Assam University Students’ Council told that drinking water crisis in the hostel was acute for a long time. Even there was scarcity of toilets. Students had been demanding for permanent solution, but the authority turned a deaf ear to it, he alleged.

According to the information, reporters had taken footage of the students’ agitation before they were attacked. At about 12.30 pm the proctor of the university Mr. Manabendra  Dutta Choudhury and Dean, Students Welfare Mr. Ramendu Bhattacharjee arrived while the scribes were sending the news through their laptops. The proctor started hurling verbal abuse at the journalists and demanded them to stop sending the footages. The journalists tried to talk to him, but the proctor got furious and started beating them. The security guards accompanying him also joined him.

According to Mr. Anath Bandhu Nandi (Arup), one of the injured reporters, Mr. Manabendra Dutta Choudhury first kicked at a laptop and then the guards jumped on them. At the behest of the proctor and the dean, the security guards kicked, punched and beat the journalists mercilessly. They snatched 3 laptops and 2 cameras destroyed them.

A group of agitating students rescued the injured scribes. Mr. Samin Sen Deka of News Time Assam, Mr. Anath Bandhu Nandi (Arup) of DY 365, Mr. Paplu Das and Mr. Anupam Mandal of Frontier TV News, and Mr. Bibhuti Majumdar of NE TV sustained injuries. Mr. Samin Sen Deka was sent to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital due to the serious nature of his injury and others were treated at the primary health centre at the university campus.

The reporters later filed a complaint at Silchar Sadar Police Station, which is registered as Silchar PS Case No. 285/11. The complaint named Mr. Manabendra Dutta Choudhury and Mr. Ramendu Bhattacharjee and security guards as accused.

It is also reported that the university authority did not allow the entry and reading of the Dainik Samayik Prasanga, a local daily newspaper inside the campus. This is an undemocratic and authoritarian attempt at stopping outside information from coming to the hostel boarders of the university coupled with the attempt of stopping flow of information from the university as evident from the assault on the reporters. It seems that the authority of the university are flouting law of the land and behaving as law unto themselves.

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), a human rights organisation working in Assam, filed a complaint at the National Human Rights Commission on 3 March, 2011.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

CRPF jawans assault a senior citizen at his home in Assam

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar, published at on 26 February 2011

Guwahati: The incidents of excessive use of power by our security forces against civilians in troubled areas continue occurring at regular interval. In a similar incident, 66-year-old Fariz Uddin Barbhuiya of village Kashipur under Silchar Sadar police station in Cachar district in Assam was allegedly assaulted by a team of CRPF jawans more than six months ago but no action has been taken against them yet.

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

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

According to the report, Fariz Uddin, a retired CRPF personnel lives in his house in front of the camp of 147 battalion of CRPF, a paramilitary force of the central government of India, at 77Kashipur, Cachar. He now supports his family with his pension and a little earnings from a small shop of betel nut (pan-shop) and a phone booth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BHRPC suspects that the OC has been influenced by the accused. BHRPC also filed a complaint at the NHRC on 5 February 2011. BHRPC is yet to receive any response from the NHRC.