India
15.05.14
Urgent Interventions

Acts of harassment and ill-treatment against the nephew of Mr. Ajimuddin Sarkar, District Human Rights Monitor of MASUM in Murshidabad district

IND 001 /0514 / OBS 041

Policeharassment /

Torture andill-treatments /

Threats

India

May 15, 2014

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme ofthe World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federationfor Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in India.

Briefdescription of the information:

TheObservatory has been informed by Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)about acts of harassment and ill-treatment against the nephew of Mr. Ajimuddin Sarkar, District Human RightsMonitor of MASUM in Murshidabad district, West Bengal, India, in retaliationagainst his uncle’s human rights activities.

Accordingto the information received, on April 14, 2014, at about 11 pm, Messrs. BiplabKarmakar, Goutam Dutta and Sirajul Sahehin, respectively Officer-in-Charge,Sub-Inspector and Sub-Inspector of Raninagar police station, along with ten ortwelve other police officers, came to the sawmill where Mr. Ripon Seikh, thenephew of Mr. Ajimuddin Sarkar, was on duty at the time. The policemen thenstarted to chase him from their cars, without disclosing any reason andshouting that they were to kill him. Seeing the police personnel, Mr. Seikhpanicked and tried to take shelter in a hut. But the police surrounded the hutand arrested him.

Thepolice then started to beat him black and blue and dragged him near the policevehicles. The police personnel reportedly threatened to break his legs andhands with the intention to permanently disable him physically. They alsoverbally abused him with filthy languages and said that they would teach him alesson as his uncle Mr. Ajimuddin Sarkar denounced the alleged policeatrocities in the district and they would illegally detain him for indefiniteperiod. Accordingly, the police personnel continuously threatened him that theywould teach everybody who would try to raise their voice against the police andthey would now show the power of police to his uncle Mr. Ajimuddin Sarkar. Thepolice personnel later put Mr. Ripon Seikh into their car while continuing tosubject him to acts of ill-treatment and verbal abuses.

WhenMr. Ripon Seikh’s brother and father subsequently went to Raninagar policestation, the Officer-in-Charge did not allow them to meet with him. As theyasked him to disclose reasons for this refusal, the Officer replied that theycould meet him if Mr. Ajimuddin Sarkar would come to the police station andrequest them to release Mr. Ripon Seikh. He also threatened them that he wouldbe implicated falsely with severe criminal charges “to teach a lesson to Mr.Ajimuddin Sarkar”.

On April 14, 2014, at about 11.45pm, MASUM fact-finding team called Mr. Biplab Karmakar and asked him whetherthe police had arrested Mr. Ripon Seikh. The Officer confirmed his arrest,adding that Mr. Ajimuddin Sarkar made a mistake by raising his voice againstthe police and that he would face dire consequences. He also said that thepolice had enough power to eliminate the name of MASUM from Murshidabaddistrict and would torture all those persons who are attached with MASUM. Heallegedly said that they would permanently disable Mr. Ripon Seikh by breakinghis legs and hands and that MASUM could not do anything if they were to killhim.

Onthe same day, the police also arrested Mr. Safikul Islam, a neighbour of Mr.Ripon Seikh, in order to obtain a falsestatement over the incident of a bomb attack upon the house of Mr.Ajimuddin Sarkar's elder brother in October 2012, in which the police wanted Mr. Islam to negate the actual happenings of theattack. After Mr. Safikul Islam refused to deliverthis false statement, the police brutally assaulted him. The next day, Mr.Islam was brought to the court where he was suddenly shown as co accused with Mr. Ripon Sheikh in the same fabricated case(see below).

While in custody, Mr. Ripon Seikhand Mr. Safikul Islam were repeatedly tortured by the police personnel duringthe whole night. They were not provided with any medical assistance while theywere undergoing with severe pain and the police personnel did not provide anywater or food to them while in detention.

OnApril 15, 2014, Mr. Ripon Seikh and Mr. Safikul Islam were charged underSections 3/4/5/6 of the Explosive Substances Act, the police alleging that bothmen were apprehended with two plastic bags containing 1,200 grams of explosivesubstances. They were then produced in handcuffing before the Additional ChiefJudicial Magistrate Court, Lalbagh. Mr. Seikh’s lawyer then filed a writtenapplication in the court denouncing that he was subjected to custodial torturein the police station. The Court observed several hematomas and bruises overthe body of both Mr. Ripon Seikh and Mr. Safikul Islam and passed order uponLalbagh Sub-Correctional Home to provide proper treatment but rejected theirbail application. On May 8, 2014, the Additional Chief Judicial MagistrateCourt of Lalbagh finally granted them bail, and the two men were subsequentlyreleased from Lalbagh Sub-Correctional Home.


On April 15 and 16, 2014, Mr. RiponSeikh’s father and Mr. Ajimuddin Sarkar respectively lodged written complaintsbefore the Superintendent of Police of Murshidabad, informing the wholeincident of police torture, false implication and illegal detention of Mr.Ripon Seikh. Yet as of today no action has been taken in response to the saidcomplaints.

The Observatory isgreatly concerned by the acts of torture and ill-treatments of Mr. RiponSeikh while in police custody and by his ongoing prosecution, which seems tomerely aim at sanctioning the human rights activities of his uncle, Mr. AjimuddinSarkar. Mr. Ajimuddin Sarkar has on several occasions denounced human rightsabuses committed by the police. In addition, he was already subjected tovarious acts of harassment in the past because of his activities.

Actionsrequested:

Please write to the authorities in India, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstancesthe physical and psychological integrity of Mr. RiponSeikh and Mr. Safikul Islam, all relatives of Mr. Ajimuddin Sarkar, as well asof all MASUM members and human rights defendersin India;

ii. Order animmediate, thorough, transparent, effective and impartial investigationinto the above-mentioned events, including the acts of torture andill-treatments against Mr. Ripon Seikh and Mr.Safikul Islam, in order to identify all those responsible, bring thembefore an independent tribunal, and apply them the sanctions provided bythe law;

iii. Provideadequate reparation and compensation to Mr.Ripon Seikh and Mr. Safikul Islam;

iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level -against Mr. Ripon Seikh and Mr. Safikul Islam, all relatives of Mr.Ajimuddin Sarkar, as well as all MASUM members, andmore generally against all human rights defenders in India to ensure that in all circumstances they carry out their activitieswithout any hindrances;

v. Conform with the provisions ofthe UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assemblyof the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially:

- Article 1, which states that“everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, topromote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights andfundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”

- Article 12.2, which provides that“"the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection bythe competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association withothers, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or dejure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as aconsequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in thepresent Declaration”;

vi. Moregenerally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights andfundamental freedoms in accordance with in accordance with the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights and with international human rights instrumentsratified by India.

Addresses:

· Mr. Shri Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, PrimeMinister’s Office, Room number 152, South Block, New Delhi, India. Fax: + 91 112301 6857. E-mail: pmosb@pmo.nic.in / manmo@sansad.in

· Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde, Union Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry ofHome Affairs, 104-107 North Block, New Delhi 110 001 India, Fax: +91 11 23092979

· Justice Rajendra MalLodha, Chief Justice of India,Supreme Court, Tilak Marg, New Delhi -1, India. Fax: +91 11 233 83792,Email: supremecourt@nic.in

· Justice K. G. Balakrishnan,Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India, Manav Adhikar Bhawan Block-C, GPO Complex, INA, New Delhi – 110023,India. Fax +91 11 2465 1329. Email:covdnhrc@nic.in; ionhrc@nic.in

· Mr. Naparajit Mukherjee, ActingChairperson, West Bengal Human RightsCommission, Bhabani Bhaban, Alipur, Kolkata - 27, India. Fax +91 33 2337 7259 /2479 7750, Email: wbhrc8@bsnl.in

· Governor Mayankote Kelath Narayanan,West Bengal, Raj Bhavan, Kolkata - 62,India. Fax: +91 33 2479 9633 / 2479 7750, Email: secy-gov-wb@nic.in

· MissMamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, Government of West Bengal, Writers’ Buildings,BBD Bagh, Kolkata - 1, India. Fax - +91 33 22145480, Email: cm@wb.gov.in,sechome@wb.gov.in,chiefsec@wb.gov.in

· Mr. A. K. Parashar, Focal Pointon Human Rights Defenders, National Human Rights Commission, Faridkot House,Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110 001, India. Email: hrd-nhrc@nic.in

· H.E.Mr. Dilip Sinha, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of India to the UnitedNations (Geneva), Rue du Valais 9, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 906 8696, Email: mission.india@ties.itu.int

· Embassy of India in Brussels, 217 Chaussée de Vleurgat, 1050 Brussels,Belgium, Fax: +32 2 6489638 / +32 2 6451869

Please also write to the diplomaticmission or embassy of India in your respective country.

***

Geneva-Paris,May 15, 2014

Kindlyinform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in yourreply.

Tocontact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail:Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Teland fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 20 11/ +33 1 43 55 18 80

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