Ruled by Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) Uttarakhand, a total of 7,525 crimes under the Indian penal Code (IPC) were recorded in Uttarakhand in 2007. These included 184 cases of murder, 44 cases of dowry death, 74 cases of rape, among others. This was an increase over 2006 (6,570).
There was no report of Maoists violence in Uttarakhand during 2007. However on 15 December 2007, journalist Prashant Rahi was arrested by the Uttarakhand Police on the charge of having alleged links with the banned Maoist movement.
For three days, he was held at a Provincial Armed Constabulary Camp at Hardwar, where he was allegedly kept blindfolded, confined to a small room and reportedly tortured with daily beatings lasting for three to four hours at a stretch, after which a doctor came to examine him. Similarly, he was allegedly tortured for two more days at another unknown location in Udhamsingh Nagar before being taken to the Khatima magistrate court on 23 December 2007. The police claimed that he was arrested from the forests of Hanspur Khatta only on 21 December 2007 and charged him with being the regional commander of the CPI (Maoist).
The National Crime Records Bureau received a total of 967 complaints against police personnel in Uttarakhand during 2006. Three police personnel were sent for trial but none of the trials were completed by the year’s end.
According to the information received by Asian Centre for Human Rights under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the NHRC received one case of death in police custody and seven cases of deaths in judicial custody, one case of custodial rape and 19 cases of encounter death in Uttrakhand during the period of 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007.
The NHRC also received 25 cases of illegal arrest, 45 cases of illegal detention, one case of disappearance, 64 cases of false implication of innocent persons, 358 other police excesses, among others, during the same period. The National Crime Records Bureau recorded killing of eight civilians in police firing during 2006.
On 15 September 2007, one Roshan Lal was allegedly severely beaten up and forced to chew pebbles by the police at the Lakhibagh police station in Dehradun. He was picked up by the police led by Sub-Inspector GD Bhatt from his home. The victim alleged that he was tortured for three consecutive days and was not charged.
Of all the High Courts in India, only the High Court of Uttaranchal has full working strength (9) as of 1 January 2008. District and Subordinate Courts had 134 vacancies out of the sanctioned strength of 266 judges as of 30 September 2007. There were a total of 22,807 cases pending with the High Court of Uttaranchal and a total of 1,35,063 cases were pending with the District and Subordinate Courts as of 30 September 2007.
The National Crime Records Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs recorded 68 incidents of crime against the Scheduled Castes in Uttarakhand during 2006.
Dalits continued to remain vulnerable.
On 27 March 2007, a 20-year-old scheduled caste girl of the Bhimnagar area of Kashipur town in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand, was allegedly raped by SI R.K. Saklani with two other policemen when the victim had gone to ITI police post at the Chaiti Mela camp to lodge an FIR after she was gang-raped by three youths on 24 March 2007. The police registered a case of looting against the victim and her lawyer Sanjay Rohilla.
On the night of 4 June 2007, a Dalit youth was allegedly beaten and tonsured by a group of drunken youths including an army soldier at the Khatik Mohalla locality of Dehradun.
1. Crime Statistics, Uttarakhand Police
2. Amnesty International, Public Statement, available at: http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGASA200032008&lang=e
3. Information obtained by ACHR from NHRC through filing RTI application
4. DHRC issues notice to SSP in torture case, The Pioneer, 11 December 2007
5. Supreme Court of India, Court News- October – December 2007, available at: http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/CtNewsOct_Dec07.pdf
6. Cops rape gangrape victim, The Tribune, 5 April 2007
7. Dalit youth beaten, tonsured, The Hindustan Times, 6 June 2007