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India
04.04.08
Urgent Interventions

Attempted rape and ill-treatment of a woman villager by the Border Security Force (BSF) in West Bengal

Case IND 040408.VAW
Attempted rape/ Ill-treatment/ Lack of investigation

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in India.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by a reliable source and by Antenna International, a member of OMCT SOS-Torture network, of the attempted rape and ill-treatment of a woman villager by the Border Security Force (BSF) in Murshidabad District, West Bengal.

According to the information received, on 10 February 2008, as Ms. Renuka Mondal was labouring on her land at Chor Rajapur colony village, two BSF personnel approached her and made proposals of a sexual nature to her by offering money. Upon her refusal to concede, they started beating her with sticks and insulting her. They were trying to undress her and to rape her when a villager, Ms. Belu Rani, with two other persons interceded and the assailants fled.

On the same day, the victim and her rescuers reportedly went to the Chor Moirosi BSF camp of the 90th Battalion Security Force to lodge a complaint. They met with the officer-in-charge who, after listening to the complaint, called the two accused BSF personnel. As they arrived, they tried to beat Ms. Renuka Mondal and Ms. Belu Rani, who then left the camp without having the case registered by the competent officer.

On 11 February 2008, the victim went to lodge a complaint with the Raninagar Police Station. The police recorded her complaint (General Diary Entry number 469). However, according to the information received, they neither initiated an investigation nor took any action against the said perpetrators till now.

The International Secretariat of OMCT expresses its deep concern about the lack of due diligence to promptly investigate into these serious events, despite attempts by the local NGO MASUM to raise this issue with the National and West Bengal Commissions for Women, the National Commission on Human Rights, the Chief Secretary of the Government of West Bengal, the Director General & Inspector of Police in West Bengal, the Murshidabad District Magistrate, the Superintendent of Police of Murshidabad District, and the Director General of the BSF, New Delhi. It recalls that the same concern was expressed about the impunity in a case of excessive and disproportionnate use of force by the BSF against villagers at Amudia Majher Para, West Bengal (See OMCT Urgent Appeal Case IND 150208).

OMCT recalls that according to article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which India is a 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."

OMCT calls on the authorities to order a thorough and impartial investigation into these events in order to bring those responsible to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law. Further, as an elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, India should particularly guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in India urging them to:

  1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Renuka Mondal, including access to appropriate medical assistance if necessary;
  2. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into these events in order to bring those responsible to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
  3. Guarantee that adequate compensation is awarded to the victim;
  4. Ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standard.

Addresses

  • Shri Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister’s Office, Room number 152, South Block, New Delhi, Fax: + 91 11 2301 6857
  • Shri Shivraj Patil, 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: supremecourt@nic.in
  • Justice Rajendra Babu, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India, Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110 001, Tel: +91 11 230 74448, Fax: +91 11 2334 0016, Email: chairnhrc@nic.in
  • National Commission for Women, 4 Deen Dayal Upadhayaya Marg, New Delhi-110 002. Fax: +91-11-23236154. E-mail: ncw@nic.in
  • Ashish Kumar Mitra, Director General, BSF, Block No. 10, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110003, Tel.: + 91 11 24362181, +91 11 24360016
  • Justice Shyamal Kumar Sen, Chairman, West Bengal Human Rights Commission, Bhabani Bhaban, Alipur, Kolkata - 27. Phone +91-33-24797727, 24791629, Fax - 24799633, Email: wbhrc@cal3.vsnl.net.in
  • West Bengal Commission for Women, 10 Reiny Park, Kolkata - 19. E-mail: chairperson@wbcw.org
  • Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative to the United Nations (Geneva), Rue du Valais 9, 1202 Geneva, Tel: +41 22 906 86 86, Fax: +41 22 906 86 96, Email: mission.india@ties.itu.int
  • Ambassador, Embassy of India in Brussels, 217 Chaussée de Vleurgat, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 (0)2 6489638 or +32 (0)2 6451869

Please also write to the embassies of India in your respective country.

Geneva, 4 April 2008

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply

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