India: Alleged attempted rape and ill-treatment by members of the BSF
Case IND 220710/ IND 220710.VAW
URGENT CAMPAIGNS/ VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Ill-treatment/ Attempted rape/ Lack of an effective investigation/ Risk of impunity
The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in India/ West Bengal.
Brief description of the situation
The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), a member of OMCT SOS-Torture Network, about the alleged attempted rape and ill-treatment suffered by Ms. Julekha Bibi (19 years old) as well as the alleged ill-treatment suffered by her husband, Mr. Hanif Seikh (26 years old), on 8 June 2010, in Puratan Degree Village, in Murshidabad district. OMCT is also gravely concerned by the delays in initiating an effective investigation in the aforementioned allegations and fears that the perpetrators may enjoy impunity.
According to the information received, on 8 June 2010, at around 7 p.m., a Sub Inspector of Mohanganj Camp and two constables of Battalion 123 of the Border Security Force (BSF) forced their way into the house of Ms. Julekha Bibi and Mr. Hanif Seikh without giving any reason. Mr. Hanif Seikh was reportedly dragged out of the room while being punched and beaten with sticks. When Ms. Julekha Bibi tried to stop them, the BSF assaulted her, beating her in the abdomen with a stick. They also reportedly tried to sexually abuse her after tearing up her Sari. Before leaving the house, the BSF demolished the wall boundary in front of the villagers, who had gathered in front of the house.
On 9 June 2010, Ms. Julekha Bibi was reportedly admitted and treated at the Godhan Para Primary Health Center. She was discharged on the same day. Later, on that same day, Ms. Julekha Bibi lodged a complaint at Raninagar police station against the alleged aforementioned perpetrators. The Officer-in-Charge of the Raninagar police station started, on the same day, a criminal case under sections 325 (Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 448 (Punishment for house-trespass) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. She also submitted a written complaint with the Raninagar Block Development Officer. However, to this date, there has been reportedly no effective investigation into the alleged facts.
The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned about the ill-treatment suffered by Ms. Julekha Bibi and Mr. Hanif Seikh. Furthermore, OMCT condemns the failure of the Indian authorities to provide them with adequate protection and medical and psychological assistance.
Also, OMCT expresses its deep concern about the lack of due diligence to promptly investigate into these serious events. OMCT has already reported cases in which local police having jurisdiction along the Indo-Bangladesh border have consistently avoided taking any action against the BSF whenever a crime is reported against a BSF officer at the police station.
OMCT recalls that, according to article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which India is a State party, “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. Moreover, according to article 4(c) of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, States should "exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and, in accordance with national legislation, punish acts of violence against women, whether those acts are perpetrated by the State or by private persons."
Accordingly, OMCT calls on the competent authorities to carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the alleged facts, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law.
Please write to the authorities in India/ West Bengal urging them to:
- Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Julekha Bibi and Mr. Hanif Seikh;
- Guarantee that they are provided with adequate medical care and protection;
- Carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the alleged facts, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
- Ensure that adequate, effective and prompt reparation, including adequate compensation, proper medical care and rehabilitation, is granted to the victims concerned;
- Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards
- Mr. Shri Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister’s Office, Room number 152, South Block, New Delhi, Fax: + 91 11 2301 6857;
- Mr. P. Chidambaram, Union Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, 104-107 North Block, New Delhi 110 001 India, Fax: +91 11 2309 2979;
- Justice K. G. Balkrishnan, Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court, Tilak Marg, New Delhi -1, Fax: +91 11 233 83792, Email: email@example.com;
- Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India, Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110 001, Fax: +91 11 2334 0016, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Jusice N. C. Sil, Acting Chairman, West Bengal Human Rights Commission, Bhabani Bhaban, Alipur, Kolkata -27. Fax +91 33 24799633, Email: email@example.com;
- M. K. Narayanan, Governor, West Bengal, Raj Bhaban, Kolkata – 62, Phone: +91 33-2200 1641, Fax: +91 33 – 2200 2444 / 2200 1649, firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Mr. Sri Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Chief Minister, Government of West Bengal, Writers’ Buildings, BBD Bagh, Kolkata – 1, Fax - +91 33 22145480, Email - email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations (Geneva), Rue du Valais 9, 1202 Geneva, Tel: +41 22 906 86 86, Fax: +41 22 906 86 96, Email: email@example.com
Please also write to the embassies of India in your respective country.
Geneva, 22 July 2010
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Indian administrative system is constituted in several sub-divisions, each of one is divided in several blocks. Each block has a Block Development Officer (BDO), who is the responsible of the correspondent block and has authority over the police that operate within the block.