Pages

Friday, 2 March 2012

INDIA: Police threaten complainant, demanding withdrawal of complaint against the BSF

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Update: AHRC-UAU-009-2011

2 March 2012
[RE: AHRC-UAC-007-2012: INDIA: BSF strikes again, this time a farmer]
------------------------------------------------------
INDIA: Police threaten complainant, demanding withdrawal of complaint against the BSF

ISSUES: Torture; impunity; witness protection; corruption; rule of law
------------------------------------------------------
Dear friends,
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information from MASUM, concerning the case of Mr. Tabibar Molla. The Border Security Force (BSF) had tortured Molla on 13 December 2011, against which Molla had filed complaints with the help of MASUM and the AHRC released an Urgent Appeal AHRC-UAC-007-2012 on 26 January 2011. It is reported that the local police who have perhaps received directions to investigate the complaint is now threatening the victim and his family demanding that they withdraw the complaint. With this intention in mind, a police driver arrived at Molla's house on 10 January, 16 days prior to the AHRC releasing the Urgent Appeal, and has threatened Molla's wife that unless Molla withdraw the complaint against the BSF, he would be put into serious trouble.
UPDATED INFORMATION:
Tabibar Molla is a farmer and was assaulted by the BSF officers near Tarali border outpost near Tarali FP school road crossing in North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal state on 13 December 2011. The BSF assaulted Molla for they suspected that Molla had joined a protest against the BSF. Soon after the incident, with assistance from MASUM, Molla had filed a complaint at the office of the Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Basirhat, on 16 December 2011. Mr. Bapi Mondal, Mr. Ainuddin Sardar and Ms Hamida Bibi are witnesses of the incident.
On 10 January 2012, at about 11 am, a person in civilian cloths named Mr. Ali Mostafa arrived at Molla's house. Mostafa came on a motorbike. Mostafa wanted to meet Molla. But his wife, Ms. Jahanara Bibi, who was at home at the time informed Mostafa that Molla is not at home and that Mostafa may return some other time should he need to meet her husband.
At this Mostafa said that he is from Swarupnagar Police Station and wanted Jahanara to sign two documents on behalf of her husband in his absence. Jahanara refused and informed Mostafa that she cannot do so since she did not know what these documents were about. Mostafa refused to agree and started verbally abusing Jahanara and her husband. Then he forced Jahanara to sign the documents and further threatened that her husband complaining against the BSF is not a good idea and that the family should immediately withdraw the complaint against the BSF.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:There is no concept or procedure to protect victims or witnesses in India. The law enforcement officers plentifully exploit this whenever there is a complaint against them so that they find complainants easy prey that could be forced to sign compromise agreements. The BSF operating along the Indo-Bangladesh border often engage in crimes against civilians with absolute impunity, since their criminal deeds get support from the local police. This is also due to the fact that the local police is equally scared of the BSF and instances are not rare where the BSF had assaulted local police officers, just as they treat other civilians.
At the moment, Molla does not know what the police driver has forced his wife to sign. Neither is he confident enough to get to the Swarupnagar Police Station to enquire about it, since the family fears that at the police station, Molla would face further serious threats or may be even tortured at the station to withdraw the complaint. The family is also afraid that the BSF would at anytime harm them in order to withdraw the complaint that Molla has filed against the BSF regarding the incident of torture that happened on 13 December 2011.
SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the authorities mentioned below demanding an investigation into this case. The victim and his family must be provided with immediate protection.
The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment calling for further intervention in this case.

SAMPLE LETTER:
Dear __________,
INDIA: Kindly investigate the case of torture committed by the BSF at Tarali BSF border outpost
Name of victims: 1. Ms Jahanara Bibi, wife of Mr Tabibar Molla, residing at Tarali village, under the jurisdiction of Swarupnagar, North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal state
2. Mr Tabibar Molla
Names of alleged perpetrators:
1. Mr. Ali Mostafa, police driver stationed at Swarupnagar Police Station, North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal
2. BSF officers on duty on 13 December 2011 at about 1pm at the Border Security Force Outpost number three under the jurisdiction of Tarali BSF border outpost situated near Tarali FP school road crossing, including one officer having his name plate reading 'Prem Singh'
Date of incident: 10 January 2012
Place of incident: At the house of the victims
I am writing to express concern regarding threats to the victims named above since they have filed a complaint against the BSF who tortured Tabibar Molla on 13 January 2011. It is appalling to be informed that the local police had sent a driver from the Swarupnagar Police Station to threaten the victims to withdraw the complaint Tabibar has made against the BSF. The incident confirms the allegation that the local police help the BSF to threaten civilians who complain against the BSF. The original complaint in this case must be a subject matter of inquiry at your office. It is shame that the local police is conniving with the BSF to undermine the legitimacy of your enquiry and thus your authority.
Tabibar Molla is a farmer and was assaulted by the BSF officers near Tarali border outpost near Tarali FP school road crossing in North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal state on 13 December 2011. The BSF assaulted Molla for they suspected that Molla had joined a protest against the BSF. Soon after the incident, with assistance from MASUM, Molla had filed a complaint at the office of the Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Basirhat, on 16 December 2011. Mr. Bapi Mondal, Mr. Ainuddin Sardar and Ms Hamida Bibi are witnesses of the incident.
I am informed that on 10 January 2012, at about 11 am, a person in civilian cloths named Mr. Ali Mostafa arrived at Molla's house. Mostafa came on a motorbike. Mostafa wanted to meet Molla. But his wife, Ms. Jahanara Bibi, who was at home at the time informed Mostafa that Molla is not at home and that Mostafa may return some other time should he need to meet her husband.
At this Mostafa said that he is from Swarupnagar Police Station and wanted Jahanara to sign two documents on behalf of her husband in his absence. Jahanara refused and informed Mostafa that she cannot do so since she did not know what these documents were about. Mostafa refused to agree and started verbally abusing Jahanara and her husband. Then he forced Jahanara to sign the documents and further threatened that her husband complaining against the BSF is not a good idea and that the family should immediately withdraw the complaint against the BSF.
There is no concept or procedure to protect victims or witnesses in India. The law enforcement officers plentifully exploit this whenever there is a complaint against them so that they find complainants easy prey that could be forced to sign compromise agreements. The BSF operating along the Indo-Bangladesh border often engage in crimes against civilians with absolute impunity, since their criminal deeds get support from the local police. This is also due to the fact that the local police is equally scared of the BSF and instances are not rare where the BSF had assaulted local police officers, just as they treat other civilians.
At the moment, Molla does not know what the police driver has forced his wife to sign. Neither is he confident enough to get to the Swarupnagar Police Station to enquire about it, since the family fears that at the police station, Molla would face further serious threats or may be even tortured at the station to withdraw the complaint. The family is also afraid that the BSF would at anytime harm them in order to withdraw the complaint that Molla has filed against the BSF regarding the incident of torture that happened on 13 December 2011.
I therefore request you:
1. That the complaints named above is provided immediate security;
2. That the statements of the witnesses to the incident recorded immediately by a judicial officer;
3. The alleged police driver, placed on immediate suspension;
4. The accusation against the driver be investigated immediately;
5. The complainants immediately informed about the contents of the documents that Ms. Jahanara Bibi was forced to sign, NOT by ordering them to be present at the Swarupnagar Police Station, but by sending them the same by registered post from the police station, or delivered to them by the Judicial Officer who is investigating the case
Yours sincerely,
----------------
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. U. K. Bansal (IPS)
Director General - Border Security Force
Government of India
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 22144328
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. Mr. P. Chidambaram
Home Minister
Government of India
Ministry of Home Affairs
North Block, New Delhi 110003
INDIA
Fax: + 91 11 23093750 / 23092763
Email: hm@nic.in
7. Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
New Delhi 110001
INDIA
Fax: + 91 11 2338 4863
E-mail: chairnhrc@nic.in

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