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

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Kashmir kayoed, bhakts 'jubilant': Much like crowds when Hitler purged Jews, Catholics

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
August 12, 2019 was the great festival of Eid al-Adha (incidentally, for Jews, Christians and Muslims – the sacrifice of Abraham is a very significant one); for the people of Kashmir however, this year Eid was a sad day indeed, what with the lockdown and communications blockade!

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Modi's Kashmir move meant to 'solidify' Hindu majoritarianism, 'demonize' Muslims

By Battini Rao*
The parliament of India on August 6 put its stamp of approval on bills abrogating article 370 and downgrading the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to two union territories. When the representatives of the people of India were deciding the fate of the state, the people of J&K were forced into collective house arrests.

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.