Skip to main content

NHRC chairman Dattu's intervention sought to end "violent repression" of NGO monitoring extra-judicial killings

Henri Tiphagne
By Our Representative
An appeal, floated for signature by Henri Tiphagne of Human Rights Defenders’ Alert (HRDA), India, has sought to ask Justice (retired) HL Dattu, chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), strongly opposed the West Bengal government's “violent repression” of Banglar Manabadhikar Surakksha Mancha (MASUM), a well-known, non-foreign funded human rights organisation.
Tiphagne says, MASUM is a “platform of human rights defenders (HRDs), engaging on the issues of torture and extra-judicial killings through its district human right monitors in different districts in West Bengal, particularly in Murshidabad, North 24 Parganas, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri districts.”
It is also involved in “systematically documenting data and information related to torture and extra-judicial killing based on observation, questionnaires, and interviews with victim family, eyewitnesses, and relevant officials”, he adds.
This, says Tiphagne -- whose appeal has been put for signature to be sent to Dattu -- has led to a situation where “human rights activists associated with MASUM have been facing continuous and systematic harassment, physical intimidation, illegal arrest, detention and persecution due to their human rights work.”
“Such acts by the state police alleged to be motivated by the state administration sends strong warning messages to other human rights organisations in the country”, he says, adding, this has happened because MASUM has “exposed atrocities committed by the West Bengal state police and the Border Security Force (BSF) deployed along the Indo-Bangladesh border.”
Giving instances, Tiphagne says, “Kirity Roy, present secretary of MASUM, was arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Cell of Kolkata Police on April 7, 2010 for coordinating a People’s Tribunal on Torture on June 9-10, 2008. The police started a case against MASUM claiming the tribunal to be illegal.”
“The case”, he says, “is pending in the Supreme Court of India, after the Calcutta High Court rejected to quash it. The NHRC also has let down MASUM when it approached them with a complaint in this case. The Government of India has refused to grant Foreign Contribution and Regulation Certification/ license to MASUM.”
Then, Tiphagne says, “Ajimuddin Sarkar, District Human Rights Monitor, has been implicated in several false and concocted criminal charges by Murshidabad district police. He was behind bars for 70 days. In the month of September 2015, Sarkar was implicated in two criminal cases by Islampur Police Station.”
Criminal cases have also been insituted against other activists of MASUM such as Kirity Roy, Mohor Mondal, Durbadal Majumdar, Ajijul Haque, and Tilak Barman, Tiphagne says.
According to him, MASUM has been “actively engaged in reporting and intervening in human rights cases, particularly concerning the violence committed by the law enforcement agencies in West Bengal.”
He adds, “MASUM so far has conducted more than 3000 fact findings, lodged 3200 complaints before the human rights institutions, government offices, and UN bodies”, even as providing “medical and psychological supports to 8500 victims of torture, their families.”
Asking the NHRC to take urgent and special notice of MASUM’s series of cases and send a special high level team under Special Rapporteurs to look into “all their cases of harassment, ill-treatment, intimidation, illegal detention, police accesses and torture of the HRDs associated with MASUM and present a detailed report to the NHRC”, Tiphagne says, NHRC should also “hold the perpetrators of the recorded violations against MASUM accountable.”
At the same time, Tiphagne says, the West Bengal government and the Boarder Security force (BSF) should be “made to provide remedies to MASUM and its activists such as apology, re assurance of non-repetition and sufficient compensation to make up for all the loss of reputation and other loses suffered over all these past years.”

Comments

TRENDING

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…