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India
10.11.17
Urgent Interventions

Renewed acts of police harassment and intimidation against Mr. Sanjit Mondal

New information

IND 002 / 0617 / OBS069.1

Harassment

India

November 10, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, apartnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has receivednew information and requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in India.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by BanglarManabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)[1]about renewed acts of police harassment and intimidation against Mr. SanjitMondal, MASUM District Human Rights Monitor in Murshidabad district, WestBengal State.

According to the information received, on November 8, 2017, ataround 9am, Mr. Sanjit Mondal accompanied a youth from Malipara village to see a medicalpractitioner, in order to record evidence of torture to which the youth hadbeen subjected in custody at Raninagar police station. A medical certificatedocumenting the nature of the injuries sustained was required to register acomplaint against the police personnel for torture.

At around 2pm on the same day, Mr. Sanjit Mondal saw a police officernamed Mr. Dipak Mondal, from Raninagar police station, loitering around his family’sshop. Upon seeing Mr. Sanjit Mondal, the police officer walked a few metresaway. When Mr. Sanjit Mondal went to meet him, Mr. Dipak Mondal leftimmediately. A few minutes later, a large number of police personnel fromRaninagar police station drove past Mr. Sanjit Mondal’s shop in a white policevehicle. They parked their vehicle one kilometre away, and walked back near toMr. Sanjit Mondal’s shop. During this time, Mr. Sanjit Mondal escaped from hisshop due to fear of being arrested. Upon arrival outside Mr. Sanjit Mondal’sshop, the police personnel from Raninagar police station gathered at a teastall in front of the shop, from which they monitored it for more than threehours.

Witnessespresent at the tea stall subsequently reported having heard Mr. Dipak Mondalsaying that “Sanjit must be taken intocustody tonight as he is trying to make [a] complaint against police personneland the Officer in Charge [wants] his arrest”. Witnesses also reportedhaving heard Mr. Dipak Mondal expressing his concern that “Sanjit could flee to Kolkata to evade his capture”. The commentsrelated to Mr. Sanjit Mondal’s assistance to the youth from Malipara villageearlier that day.

OnNovember 9, 2017, Mr. Dipak Mondal monitored Mr. Sanjit Mondal’s shop for theentire day. At around 2pm, a white police vehicle passed by his shop.

At the time ofpublication of this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Sanjit Mondal remained in hiding forfear of being arrested.

The Observatory condemns the police harassment and intimidation ofMr. Sanjit Mondal, which seems to be only aimed at punishing him fordocumenting and denouncing allegations of human rights violations committed bypolice forces. The Observatory fears that Mr. Sanjit Mondal may be arrested atany time on fabricated charges.

The Observatory recalls that several members of MASUM and Mr. Sanjit Mondal inparticular (see background information) have already facedreprisals in the past for documenting and denouncing grave human rightsviolations allegedly involving members of the police forces and BSF[2].

The Observatory calls upon the Indian authorities to put an end toall acts of harassment, intimidation, and criminalization of Mr. Sanjit Mondaland all MASUM members, as well as of all human rights defenders in India.

Background information:

On June 15, 2017, around midnight, police personnel fromRaninagar police station arrived at Mr. Sanjit Mondal’s house, where he livedwith his parents, elder brother, spouse, and children. They surrounded his homewith two police cars and two motorcycles. The police entered the bedroom of Mr.Sanjit Mondal and his brother, where the latter was sleeping, and asked for Mr.Sanjit Mondal. However, Mr. Sanjit Mondal had managed to escape the housebefore their arrival. At no point did the police explain the reason for theirintrusion nor provide an arrest warrant[3].

Actions requested:

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

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical andpsychological integrity of Mr. Sanjit Mondal, all MASUM members, and all humanrights defenders in India;

ii. Put an end to any kind of harassment - including at thejudicial level - against Mr. Sanjit Mondal and all the members of MASUM, aswell as against all human rights defenders in India, and ensure that theyare able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance andfear of reprisals;

iii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on HumanRights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations onDecember 9, 1998, especially its Articles 1 and 12.2;

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights andfundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standardsand international instruments ratified by India.

Addresses:

· Mr. Shri NarendraDamodardas Modi, Prime Minister of India, Fax: + 91 11 2301 6857. E-mail: pmosb@pmo.nic.in / manmo@sansad.in

· Mr. Raj Nath Singh,Union Minister of Home Affairs of India, Fax: +91 11 2309 2979. Email: dirfcra-mha@gov.in

· Mr. RajivGauba, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs of India, Email: hshso@nic.in

· Justice DipakMisra, Chief Justice of India,Supreme Court, of India, Fax: +91 11 233 83792, Email: supremecourt@nic.in

· Justice Shri H.L. Dattu, Chairperson of theNational Human Rights Commission of India, Fax +91 11 2465 1329. Email: chairnhrc@nic.in

· Mr. Srinivasa Kammath,Focal Point on Human Rights Defenders, National Human Rights Commission ofIndia, Email: hrd-nhrc@nic.in

· H.E. Mr.Rajiv Kumar Chander, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of India to the UnitedNations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 906 86 96, Email: mission.india@ties.itu.int

· H.E. Mr. Manjeev SinghPuri, Embassy of India to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg inBrussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 6489638 / +32 2 6451869

Please also write to thediplomatic mission or embassy of India located in your country.

***

Geneva-Paris, November 10, 2017

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of thisappeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (theObservatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedysituations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are bothmembers of ProtectDefenders.eu, theEuropean Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by internationalcivil society.

To contact theObservatory, 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 working for the protection of human rights in theeastern Indian state of West Bengal and is especially engaged in documentingcases of torture, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings. MASUM isa member of OMCT SOS-Torture Network.

[2] See Observatory Urgent Appeals, IND 002 / 0815 / OBS 066, issuedon August 14, 2015; IND 002 / 0714 / OBS 067, issued on July 30, 2014; IND004 / 1114 / OBS 091.1, issued on December 24, 2014; IND 004 / 1114 / OBS091.3, issued on January 8, 2016; IND 004 / 0816 / OBS 073, issued onAugust 11, 2016.

[3] MASUM subsequently confirmed that no case was pending againstMr. Mondal at the time of the intrusion by thoroughly searching the policefiles at Lalbagh ACJM Court, which has jurisdictionover Raninagar police station.

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