India
30.07.14
Urgent Interventions

Harassment and intimidation of Mr. Mohar Ali Mondal, District Human Rights Monitor for MASUM in the village of Gobindapur

IND 002 /0714 / OBS 067

Harassment/ Intimidation /

Threats

India

July30, 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)[1]about the harassment and intimidation of Mr. Mohar Ali Mondal, District Human Rights Monitor for MASUM in the village of Gobindapur, by officers of the Swarupnagar policestation.

According to the information received, on July 27, 2014, at around 10 pm,Mr. Mohar Ali Mondal accompanied a villager from Gobindapur named Mr. SiddikMondal to the Swarupnagar police station to lodge aformal complaint about an attack against his nephew, Mr. Kabirul Mondal. Atapproximately 8pm, the latter had been attacked and severely beaten by a groupof cross-border cattle smugglers that allegedly receives support and protectionfrom the Swarupnagar police station (District-24, North) and BorderSecurity Forces (BSF).

Upon arrival at the police station, Messrs. MoharAli Mondal and Siddik Mondal were forced to wait one and a half hours for thearrival of the police sub-inspector, Mr. Bajlur Rahman. Upon arrival, Mr.Bajlur Rahman read the complaint to a superior officer over his mobile phone.As Messrs. Mohar Ali Mondal and Siddik Mondal were about to leave the policestation, Mr. Bajlur Rahman ordered them to return to a room with him and twoother officers. Once in the room, Mr. Bajlur Rahman grabbed Mr. Mohar AliMondal’s collar and threatened him, saying “you have to face consequences foryour involvement with human rights” and “you have to pay for your involvementagainst police and BSF”.

Other villagers were forced to leave the policestation while Messrs. Mohar Ali Mondal and Siddik Mondal were detained andforced to stand for 40 minutes before being eventually released. Before being released, the police forced both men to sign adocument (an “arrest cum inspection memo”) stating that they had been arrestedand charged; however, the police have not informed the men of why they werearrested nor informed them of any charges being brought against them.

On July 28, 2014, Mr. Mohar Ali Mondal lodged writtencomplaints to the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police, 24 Parganas(North), requesting legal action against the police officers as well asmeasures for his security.

The Observatory is greatly concerned by this incident,which seems merely aimed at sanctioning the human rights activities of Mr. Mohar Ali Mondal. Moregenerally, this incident appears to be part of a pattern of harassment andintimidation by the police aimed at silencing those who speak up against theuse of torture and ill-treatment by the police and the BSF.

Actions requested:


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


i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrityof Mr. Mohar Ali Mondal as well as of all MASUM members and human rightsdefenders in India;

ii. Carryout an immediate, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the above-mentionedevents in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before anindependent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law;

iii.Put an end to any act of harassment against Mr. Mohar Ali Mondal, and all humanrights defenders in India, and ensure in all circumstances that they are ableto carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance or fear ofreprisals or intimidation;

iv.Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998,especially:

- Article 1, which statesthat “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 2, whichrequires the State to provide the legal guarantees required to ensure that allpersons under its jurisdiction, individually and in association with others,are able to enjoy all those rights and freedoms in practice”;

- Article 9.1, which holdsthat everyone has the right to a remedy for violation of human rights and theright to be protected if human rights are violated;

- Article 11, whichguarantees the right to participate in one’s chosen profession and requiresthose who are capable of affecting human rights, i.e. police and border patrol,to respect those rights and freedoms and to comply with relevant national andinternational standards of occupational and professional conduct or ethics

- Article 12.2, whichprovides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protectionby the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association withothers, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adversediscrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of hisor her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the presentDeclaration”.


v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamentalfreedoms in accordance with international human rights standards andinternational instruments ratified by India.


Addresses:

· Mr. Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi, 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. Raj Nath Singh, 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 Mr. Keshri Nath Tripathi,West Bengal, Raj Bhavan, Kolkata - 62,India. Fax: +91 33 2479 9633 / 2479 7750, Email: secy-gov-wb@nic.in

· Miss Mamata Banerjee, ChiefMinister, Government of West Bengal, NABANNA, 325 Sarat Chatterjee Road, Howrah711102, India. Fax - +91 33 22145480, Email: cm@wb.gov.in, sechome@wb.gov.in, chiefsec@wb.gov.in

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

· H.E. Mr. DilipSinha, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations(Geneva), Rue du Valais 9, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 906 86 96,Email: mission.india@ties.itu.int

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

Pleasealso write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of India in your respectivecountry.


***
Geneva-Paris, July 30, 2014


Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal inyour reply.


The Observatory, a OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection ofhuman rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time ofneed.


To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41(0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] MASUM is a human rights NGO headquartered in Kolkata,West Bengal, working against extrajudicial killings, custodial death, rape,enforced disappearances and police torture.

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