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India: Threatened With Violence For Reporting Torture

Urgent Appeal Update: AHRC-UAU-026-2012

Click here to send an APPEAL LETTER


7 July 2012

[RE: AHRC-UAC-096-2012: INDIA: Beaten by BSF, but, unlike Babu, still breathing]
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INDIA: Threatened with violence for reporting torture to police

ISSUES: Threat to witnesses; torture; inhuman and degrading treatment; violence; police negligence
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Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received an update from MASUM regarding the case of Krishna Mondal. MASUM and the AHRC had reported earlier (AHRC-UAC-096-2012) that the Border Security Force (BSF), in January 2012 tortured Krishna, against which MASUM helped Krishna to file a complaint at the local police station. MASUM has reported that in July 2012, in an effort to discredit Krishna's petition and force him to withdraw it, the BSF and the local police have repeatedly threatened and intimidated Krishna, his family members, who witnessed his torture, as well as the doctors who treated his injuries. Their threats culminated most recently in the forced detention and interrogation of Krishna as well as his family members and witnesses to the alleged crime. Furthermore, in an attempt to discredit the medical report describing Krishna's injuries, the local police and the BSF have forcibly obtained a false statement from one doctor who treated Krishna's injuries and another from an examining doctor stating that he was not an officially licensed medical practitioner.

UPDATED INFORMATION:

In the Urgent Appeal Case (see AHRC-UAC-096-2012), it was reported that, four BSF officers from the Harudanga BSF camp came upon Krishna Mondal as he was working his farmland and tied his hands behind his back before beating him so brutally that months later, he was still unable to resume work. His previous audiovisual interview can be seen here.

Despite death threats from the BSF, Krishna filed a petition with the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) in Lalbagh, and his wife lodged a written complaint with the Superintendent of Police in Murshibadad requesting an investigation into his case. The new information provided by MASUM reports that subsequent to Krishan's filing of the petition, not only has his family not heard of any formal action being taken on his case, the BSF is joined by the local police in repeatedly threatening Krishna and his family with reprisal.

On 30 June 2012, the Raninagar Police Station sent a home guard (a member of the voluntary auxiliary to the West Bengal State Police) to Krishna's home to notify him and two witnesses to his torture, his neighbour Mr. Bijoy Mondal and Mr. Sirajul Islam, the doctor who treated his injuries, that they were to report to the Raninagar Police Station the following morning. They were served no official notice and, suspicious of the intentions of the police, Krishna and his neighbour determined they would not go. Islam, the doctor, did report to the police station the next morning, whereupon the police reportedly used extreme intimidation to pressure him into giving a false statement about Krishna's case.

On 2 July 2012, the same home guard from Raninagar Police Station visited Krishna and threatened him for failing to show up at the station the previous day. A few hours later another personnel from the Intelligence Bureau (DIB) of the Harudanga BSF Camp visited Krishna and attempted to intimidate Krishna into withdrawing the case he had filed with the magistracy. They gave him three days to withdraw the complaint, threatening reprisals against Krishna and the witnesses to the case if he did not withdraw the complaint. The following day, 3 July 2012, the Sub Inspector of Raninagar Police Station called Krishna via Sirajul Islam's (Krishna's doctor) mobile phone, warning that he would "…fabricate false charges against you and you will be brought to the police station by the police," if Krishan did not report to the police station himself. Rightfully suspicious of the motives of the police, Krishna did not go.

The threats from the police and the BSF culminated most recently in the forced detention and interrogation of Krishna as well as his family members and witnesses to Krishna's torture. Five BSF personnel drove to Krishna's home on 7 July 2012 and ordered Krishna and five of his family members, two of them women, who had borne witness to his torture to accompany them to the Harudanga BSF camp. When the family refused, they were forced into the BSF vehicle and transported to the camp, where they were detained in a cell and, one by one, produced before a BSF official who interrogated them about their motives for filing their complaint. The BSF also made photocopies of the complaint and other related materials, such as the prescription written by the doctor after examining Krishna. Also present at the BSF camp were Mr. Swarup Biswas, the Sub Inspector of Raninagar Police Station who is reported to be the Investigating Officer assigned to the case Krishna filed with the magistracy, as well as three other constables of the Raninagar Police Station.

At the conclusion of the interrogation, the BSF personnel ordered Krishna and the others to sign a document written in Hindi. The BSF agreed to give Krishna and the others copies of this document, but the documents the BSF later gave them were different from the ones signed. When Krishna and his family members were finally released from their ordeal at Harudanga BSF camp, they were made to return home on foot.

In the following days, BSF personnel repeatedly sought out Mr. Tojammel Haq of the nearby village of Dankrakati, a doctor who had provided Krishna with some medical care. On 10 July 2012, two BSF officers from the Roshanbagh District Headquarters came to Haq's residence to take a statement from him. According to MASUM, the BSF and police officers are attempting to discredit the injury report associated with Krishna's torture case by contending that the medical practitioners who treated Krishna were unlicensed. Given that there are no licensed doctors posted in any of the ten health centres serving this rural area of close to 20,000 people, however, Krishna sought the only treatment available to him – indeed, anyone – in the area.

Despite appeals from MASUM and the AHRC to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Chief Secretary of West Bengal, the Director General of the BSF, the Director General and Inspector of Police of West Bengal, the Superintendent of Police in Murshidabad, and various international human rights bodies, no action has been taken by the district, state and central authorities to investigate Krishna's case. It is unconscionable that individuals are being forced to live amidst such fear and insecurity, and that the perpetrators of brutality continue to harm their victims.

We therefore call for the relevant authorities to take punitive action against the BSF personnel who have tortured Krishna and further violated the constitutional and his human rights. The complicity of the local police in covering up these violent acts and intimidation should be thoroughly investigated as well, as the police have a moral and legal obligation to their constituents' safety and certainly should not participate, either actively or passively, in threats against these individuals.

To support this appeal, please click here:

Click here to send an APPEAL LETTER

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear __________,

INDIA: Please investigate the torture of Mr Krishna Mondal by BSF jawans under the Harudanga Camp of the 91st Battalion of the BSF under the jurisdiction of Raninagar Police Station in Murshidabad, West Bengal and the alleged incidents of threats to the victim and the witnesses in the case

Name of victim: Mr Krishna Mondal, 40 years old, son of late Shyamapada Mondal, of the Hindu faith, farmer residing in Char Sahebnagar under the jurisdiction of Raninagar Police Station, Murshidabad, West Bengal
Alleged perpetrators:
1. Four BSF personnel attached to Out-Post No. 9 under Harudanga BSF Camp, 91st Battalion of BSF under Raninagar Police Station, Murshidabad, West Bengal.
2. Officer-in-Charge, Raninagar Police Station, Murshidabad, West Bengal
Date of incident: 1 January 2012 around 7am and 2 July 2012
Place of incident: Inside the victim's farmlands around 3 kilometres from his house, plot no. 1288, khatian no. 319, J. L. No. 87, and at the Harudanga BSF camp, Banshgara Mouza, Raninagar Police Station, Murshidabad.

I am writing once again to bring to your attention the case of Mr. Krishna Mondal, a victim of torture and now facing threats and intimidation from the BSF and the local police for complaining against torture. This case was once reported globally by MASUM and the AHRC.

In the Urgent Appeal Case (AHRC-UAC-096-2012), it was reported that, four BSF officers from the Harudanga BSF camp came upon Krishna Mondal as he was working his farmland and tied his hands behind his back before beating him so brutally that months later, he was still unable to resume work.

Despite death threats from the BSF, Krishna filed a petition with the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) in Lalbagh, and his wife lodged a written complaint with the Superintendent of Police in Murshibadad requesting an investigation into his case. The new information provided by MASUM reports that subsequent to Krishan's filing of the petition, not only has his family not heard of any formal action being taken on his case, the BSF is joined by the local police in repeatedly threatening Krishna and his family with reprisal.

On 30 June 2012, the Raninagar Police Station sent a home guard (a member of the voluntary auxiliary to the West Bengal State Police) to Krishna's home to notify him and two witnesses to his torture, his neighbour Mr. Bijoy Mondal and Mr. Sirajul Islam, the doctor who treated his injuries, that they were to report to the Raninagar Police Station the following morning. They were served no official notice and, suspicious of the intentions of the police, Krishna and his neighbour determined they would not go. Islam, the doctor, did report to the police station the next morning, whereupon the police reportedly used extreme intimidation to pressure him into giving a false statement about Krishna's case.

On 2 July, the same home guard from Raninagar Police Station visited Krishna and threatened him for failing to show up at the station the previous day. A few hours later another personnel from the Intelligence Bureau (DIB) of the Harudanga BSF Camp visited Krishna and attempted to intimidate Krishna into withdrawing the case he had filed with the magistracy. They gave him three days to withdraw the complaint, threatening reprisals against Krishna and the witnesses to the case if he did not withdraw the complaint. The following day, 3 July 2012, the Sub Inspector of Raninagar Police Station called Krishna via Sirajul Islam's (Krishna's doctor) mobile phone, warning that he would "…fabricate false charges against you and you will be brought to the police station by the police," if Krishan did not report to the police station himself. Rightfully suspicious of the motives of the police, Krishna did not go.

The threats from the police and the BSF culminated most recently in the forced detention and interrogation of Krishna as well as his family members and witnesses to Krishna's torture. Five BSF personnel drove to Krishna's home on 7 July 2012 and ordered Krishna and five of his family members, two of them women, who had borne witness to his torture to accompany them to the Harudanga BSF camp. When the family refused, they were forced into the BSF vehicle and transported to the camp, where they were detained in a cell and, one by one, produced before a BSF official who interrogated them about their motives for filing their complaint. The BSF also made photocopies of the complaint and other related materials, such as the prescription written by the doctor after examining Krishna. Also present at the BSF camp were Mr. Swarup Biswas, the Sub Inspector of Raninagar Police Station who is reported to be the Investigating Officer assigned to the case Krishna filed with the magistracy, as well as three other constables of the Raninagar Police Station.

At the conclusion of the interrogation, the BSF personnel ordered Krishna and the others to sign a document written in Hindi. The BSF agreed to give Krishna and the others copies of this document, but the documents the BSF later gave them were different from the ones signed. When Krishna and his family members were finally released from their ordeal at Harudanga BSF camp, they were made to return home on foot.

In the following days, BSF personnel repeatedly sought out Mr. Tojammel Haq of the nearby village of Dankrakati, a doctor who had provided Krishna with some medical care. On 10 July, two BSF officers from the Roshanbagh District Headquarters came to Haq's residence to take a statement from him. According to MASUM, the BSF and police officers are attempting to discredit the injury report associated with Krishna's torture case by contending that the medical practitioners who treated Krishna were unlicensed. Given that there are no licensed doctors posted in any of the ten health centres serving this rural area of close to 20,000 people, however, Krishna sought the only treatment available to him – indeed, anyone – in the area.

Despite appeals from MASUM and the AHRC to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Chief Secretary of West Bengal, the Director General of the BSF, the Director General and Inspector of Police of West Bengal, the Superintendent of Police in Murshidabad, and various international human rights bodies, no action has been taken by the district, state and central authorities to investigate Krishna's case. It is unconscionable that individuals are being forced to live amidst such fear and insecurity, and that the perpetrators of brutality continue to harm their victims.

I therefore call for the relevant authorities to take punitive action against the BSF personnel who have tortured Krishna and further violated the constitutional and his human rights. The complicity of the local police in covering up these violent acts and intimidation should be thoroughly investigated as well, as the police have a moral and legal obligation to their constituents' safety and certainly should not participate, either actively or passively, in threats against these individuals.

Yours sincerely,

---------------------------
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Director General BSF
Block 10, CGO Complex
Lodhi Road, New Delhi -03
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 24360016
E-mail: probsf@yahoo.com, bsfhq@bsf.nic.in, bsf_hq@hub.nic.in, bsf_hq@bsf.delhi.nic.in

2. Director General & Inspector General of Police
Government of West Bengal
Writers Buildings, Kolkata-1
West Bengal
INDIA
Fax: +91 33 2214 4498 / 2214 5486
Email: dgp_westbengal@gmail.com

3. Chief Secretary
Government of West Bengal
Writers' Building, Kolkata, West Bengal
INDIA
Fax: + 91 33 2214 4328
Email: chiefsec@wb.gov.in

4. Additional Chief Secretary (Home)
Government of West Bengal
Writers' Building, Kolkata, West Bengal
INDIA
Email: sechome@wb.gov.in

5. Ms. Mamata Banerjee
Chief Minister
Government of West Bengal
Writers' Building, Kolkata, West Bengal
INDIA
Fax: + 91 33 22144328
Email: cm_wb@nic.in

6. Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
New Delhi 110001
INDIA
Fax: + 91 11 2338 4863
E-mail: chairnhrc@nic.in

7. Superintendent of Police
Murshidabad
BMP Police Office
Berhampore 742101, Murshidabad District
West Bengal State
INDIA


Thank you

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

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