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

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

Dalit, Adivasi protest in Jharkhand against 'illegal' transfer of land for development

By Rishit Neogi Displacement and eviction are not new terms. It is surprising that they are still continuing and have become a tool in the hands of state backed corporates to forcibly occupy lands in the name of development.