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  • West Bengal

    I. Overview. 1

    II. Human rights violations by the security forces 2

    a. Violations of the right to life. 2

    i. Custodial killings 2

    ii. Extrajudicial killings 4

    b. Arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture. 5

    III. Violations of International Humanitarian Law by the AOGs 7

    a. Killing of political activists 7

    b. Destruction of public properties 8

    IV. Violations of the rights of indigenous peoples 8

    V. Violence against women. 8

    VI. Violations of the rights of the child. 10

    VII. Violations of the prisoners’ rights 11

    VIII. Human Rights Violations at Nandigram. 12


     

    I. Overview

     

    Ruled by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), West Bengal suffered the most serious human rights violations in India.

     

    The security forces were responsible for gross human rights violations. The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) recorded eight deaths in police custody in West Bengal during 2006. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) received seven cases of deaths in police custody and 69 cases of deaths in judicial custody and one encounter death in West Bengal during the period of 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007. The Asian Centre for Human Rights recorded several cases of custodial death in 2007. The Border Security Force personnel and Police were responsible for a number of extrajudicial killings.

     

    The killing of 14 protesters demonstrating for land rights on 14 March 2007 by members of the ruling party and the shocking justification of the West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who said that the poor people attacked and killed by Party cadres had been ‘paid back in the same coin’ underline the attitude of West Bengal towards the rights of its citizens.

     

    The Judiciary continued to be hampered by delay. There were 17 vacancies out of 58 judges in the Calcutta High Court as of 1 January 2008. The District and Subordinate Courts had 150 vacancies as of 30 September 2007. There were a total of 2,79,318 cases pending with the Calcutta High Court and a total of 21,84,058 cases were pending with the District and Subordinate Courts as of  30 September 2007.

    The State Human Rights Commission remained crippled. However, the state government of West Bengal failed to establish human rights courts outside the state capital Kolkata. The State Human Rights Commission had also submitted its annual reports between 2002-2006 but the State government had failed to place the same before the State Assembly.

    Human rights defenders continued to be targeted. On 8 February 2007, Mr. Gopen Chandra Sharma, District Human Rights Officer of People’s Watch’s “National Project on Prevention of Torture in India” (NPPT) in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal and member of Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) was arrested by police officers while visiting the Kaharpara Border Out Post of the Border Security Force (BSF) camp in order to collect information on three human rights violations that were committed by the BSF. On 20 March 2007, Mr. Sharma was released on bail. However, he remains in jail under what appear to be trumped up charges of Sections 420 (“cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property”), 468 (“forgery for purpose of cheating”) and 471 (“using as genuine a forged document”) of the Indian Penal Code filed against him at the Jalangi police station by Mr. Shanti Ranjan Mondal who alleged that Mr. Gopen Sharma cheated him of Rupees 6,000.

     

    II. Human rights violations by the security forces

     

    According to the National Crime Records Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs, a total of only 28 complaints were received against the police personnel in West Bengal during 2006. Of these, a departmental inquiry was ordered into 19 cases and judicial inquiry was ordered into 9 cases. 10 police personnel were sent to trial during the year. Of the 2 police personnel whose trials were completed, both were acquitted.

     

    The NCRB does not report human rights violations committed by the army and the paramilitary forces. The Border Security Forces (BSF) personnel were accused of perpetrating serious human rights violations.  

    a. Violations of the right to life  

    i. Custodial killings

     

    The security forces were responsible for custodial deaths.

     

    The NCRB had recorded eight deaths in police custody in West Bengal during 2006. The police claimed that out of the eight who died in police custody, four died during treatment /hospitalization. According to the information obtained by the Asian Centre for Human Rights under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the NHRC received seven cases of deaths in police custody and 69 cases of deaths in judicial custody and one encounter death in West Bengal during the period of 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007.

     

    Asian Centre for Human Rights recorded several cases of custodial death in 2007.

     

    On 9 February 2007, Krishnapada Das, son of Vanu Das of Purba Dwarikapur village under Pathor Pratima police station in South 24 Parganas district was arrested by some officers of Pathor Pratima Police Station for allegedly torturing his wife. He was allegedly found hanging from the rod of the window of the lock up with a knotted napkin on his neck at midnight on 10 February 2007. Several eyewitnesses from the village stated that they saw several injuries on the deceased. The police did not find any injury during their investigation. After examination of the dead body of Krishnapada Das, Kaliprasad Mukhopadhyay, Block Medical Officer (Health) of Pathorpratima Block Health Center also stated that he found no injury except marks on the throat.

     

    On 29 March 2007, Hayat Seikh, son of Saidul Seikh of village Beldanga Par House, died at a hospital after he was subjected to torture by police including Office-in-Charge Sandip Sen and Sub-Inspector Durgaprasad Mazumdar at the Beldanga police station in Murshidabad district. The deceased was arrested from his house for interrogation in a murder case on 17 March 2007. The deceased was illegally detained in the police lock up from 17 March 2007 to 23 March 2007. He was not produced before any court during this period. He was subjected to torture during his illegal detention. However, the post-mortem report of the deceased suggested that that he had died of jaundice.

     

    On 16 May 2007, Ektar Seikh (42), son of Late Harun Rasid Seikh of Dadpur under Doulatabad police station in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, was arrested by the police of Doulatabad Police Station. He was detained in connection with abduction. On 17 May 2007 he was remanded to police custody for five days by Chief Judicial Magistrate of Baharampur. In police custody, he was allegedly tortured by Sub Inspector Dulal Sarkar, Sub Inspector Abdur Rahaman, Assistant sub Inspector Nitish Mondal and Assistant Sub Inspector Asraf Ali. His health deteriorated and as a result he was produced before court before the expiry of the remand period. The Judge ordered an explanation from the Investigating officer, Mr. Abdur Rahaman and to submit report immediately. Ektar was sent to Berhampore Central Jail where he was denied proper medical treatment. On 11 July 2007, Ektar died in Berhampore Hospital.

     

    On 20 September 2007, Ajoy Bagdi, s/o Pankhi Bagdi, a resident of Bichhur village under Barua police station in Murshidabad district of West Bengal was arrested by the police. He was detained in Nowda Police Station. He was charged under the Arms Act and produced before Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kandi on 21 September 2007. He was sent to police remand for seven days. In police custody he was allegedly tortured. Later, he was sent to Berhampore Central Correctional Home. On 22 November 2007, Ajoy Bagdi allegedly hanged himself from a tree inside the jail.

     

    On 14 November 2007, Goutam Ravidas was allegedly tortured to death in the custody of the police at Gajole Police Station in Malda district. He was arrested on 12 November 2007 on charges of torturing his wife for a dowry. He was illegally detained for two days without being produced in court and allegedly tortured.  

    ii. Extrajudicial killings 

     

    The security forces were responsible for extrajudicial killings.

     

    On 26 February 2007, school teacher and Congress worker, Tuhin Samata was shot dead allegedly by Officer-in-charge Debojyoti Saha of Katwan during a clash between the Congress (l) and the CPM over the election of the governing body of the Chanduli higher secondary school at Katwa in Bardhaman district.

     

    The Border Security Forces (BSF) operating along the India-Bangladesh international border in West Bengal continued to perpetrate serious human rights violations.

     

    On 4 March 2007, 19-year-old Masud Rana Sarkar succumbed to his injuries in a hospital after being severly beaten up by allegedly by personnel of the Border Security Forces (BSF) at Daudpur village in South Dinajpur district. The victim’s parents and sister were also severely beaten up.

     

    On the night of 4 April 2007, Monika Soren, wife of Kushal Hembram, was shot dead by BSF personnel at Kokradaho under Goalpokhar police station on the Indo-Bangla border after she allegedly refused to stop at the border. However, villager claimed that the BSF opened fire without reason.

     

    On 7 April 2007, a 19-year-old youth was shot dead by a BSF jawan while he was allegedly trying to smuggle cattle across the Bangladesh border near Kaharpara border at Banipur in Murshidabad district.

     

    On the night of 9 June 2007, Mizanur Rahman (17) was shod dead by BSF jawans while he was returning from a marriage party at Gopalnagar under Tapan police station.

     

    On 18 December 2007, a porter identified as Bikash Ghosh was shot dead allegedly by a drunk BSF jawan at the Mahadipur international check-post in Malda district.

     

    There were also reports of killing of civilians shot by police. The NCRB recorded the killing of four civilians by the police during 2006.

     

    In October 2007, at least three persons identified as Ayub Sheikh, Dhenupada Das and Subhash Patwari were killed by the police when the opened fire and firing and baton charged a group of protestors who were protesting against corrupt ration dealers in Birbhum, Burdwan and Cooch Behar district.

     

    On 14 March 2007, 14 persons were killed in when police opened fire at Nandigram in Purbo Medinipur district as explained below in the report.  

    b. Arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture

     

    The NHRC received eight cases of unlawful detention, 79 cases of other police excesses and in 95 cases the police failed to take action in West Bengal during the period of 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007.

     

    People were subjected to torture after arrest. On 15 May 2007, Jinnat Ali Molla (34), son of Habi Molla of village Kumarpur under Jalangi Police Station in Murshidabad district, was tortured by Sub Inspector (SI) Rajat Das at Raninagar Police Station in Murshidabad district after he was arrested by the SI from a bus. The police allegedly recovered a country made pistol from the bus.

     

    On 2 August 2007, Giasuddin Mondal (28) was arrested and tortured in police custody at Deganga Police Station in North 24 Parganas district. The victim was detained illegally for two days. The police claimed that he was arrested on 4 August 2007 in connection with dacoity and two other cases and produced to Barasat court on 4 August 2007. He alleged severe torture including by Julfikar Ali Mollaha, the officer in charge of the police station who sprayed acid on his rectum during interrogation.

     

    On 29 August 2007, Kartick Das (22), a Scheduled Caste, son of Gour Das and resident of village Bakpara Doulatabad in South 24 Paraganas, was tortured by police at the Bishnupur police station after he was taken to the police station by three police personnel on a complaint by one Tapan Mondal. Before taking him to the police station, the policemen beat him up with batons. When the victim’s mother try to protect him, the policemen also beat her up.

     

    On 10 September 2007, Chandan, a tailor and son of Ashwini Roy was picked up from their home by the personnel of Eastern Frontier Rifles at Banchukamari in Alipurduar under Jalpaiguri district. Chandan was allegedly beaten up, stripped and then forced to walk out of the army camp naked.

     

    On 21 October 2007, a butcher identified as Baren Roy was beaten up with a stick allegedly by Assitant Sub-Inspector Pankaj Biswas at a police camp at Jateshwar at Falakata in Jalpaiguri district.

     

    On 5 December 2007, Kamal Sarkar, a tea stall owner, was detained and tortured at Kushumandi police station in South Dinajpur district. Following his release he had to be admitted to Kushumandi Hospital for treatment of multiple injuries.

     

    On 28 January 2007, 50-year-old Chanubala Mondal, wife of Ajit Mondal of village Basnabad under Raninagar police station in Murshidabad district in West Bengal, was seriously injured after being  beaten up with sticks by a officer of the Border Security Force (BSF) at 3 Number O.P. Point Camp of BSF Post in Murshidabad district. The victim was returning from her cropland when the officer stopped her for questioning. The victim complained to Raninagar police station but the police failed to take further action.

     

    Court orders were flouted by the police. Between 14 and 15 February 2007, Ajay Kumar Yadav (30), son of Ramrekha Yadav of Debi Mandir Lane under Liluah police station in Howrah district, was allegedly tortured by the Inspector-in-Charge (SI) Asit Saw and Investigation Officer (IO) Sourabh Banerjee at the Bally police station in Howrah after a court remanded him into police custody. The court expressly warned the police not to subject Yadav to any kind of physical and mental torture. The medical report of the victim was consistent with the allegations made by Yadav.

     

    Many innocent civilians were subjected to torture by the Border Security Forces.

     

    On the night of 15 December 2007, eighteen persons including women were injured after they were beaten up by BSF personnel on the suspicion of stealing border fencing wire during a raid at Amudia village in Swarupnagar in North 24 Parganas district.

    On 26 December 2007, three persons including a woman were injured, one seriously, after being allegedly beaten with rifle butts by a BSF jawan at the Veluguchh Border Outpost under Islampur police station in North Dinajpur district after an altercation.

     

    III. Violations of International Humanitarian Law by the AOGs

     

    The Naxalites were responsible for violations of international humanitarian laws. The Naxalites continued to target   activists of the ruling Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M). On 13 August 2007, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal formed a Joint Co-ordination Committee (JCC) to curb the Naxalites in the border areas. The mechanisms of the JCC included launching joint operations against the Naxalites and information sharing.  

    a. Killing of political activists

     

    On 6 December 2007, suspected Maoists shot dead Gopal Singh, former CPM activist, at Shyamnagar under Belpahari police station in West Midnapore district on suspicion of being a police informer.

     

    Some other cases documented by Asian Centre for Human Rights included:

    -          CPI (M) leader Palaram Tudu who was killed at Jamjhulka village under Belpahari police station in West Midnapur district on 9 January 2007;

    -          two CPI (M) leaders identified as Parikshit Singh and Rampada Singh who were killed at Bhelpahari in West Midnapore district on 30 March 2007;

    -          CPM activist Rohit Roy who was killed at Lalgarh in West Midnapore district On 10 July 2007;

    -          CPI (M) leader Bhagirath Karmakar at barabazar in Purulia district on 1 November 2007; and

    -          Sufal Mandi, CPM activist, who was killed at Ghatbera village in Purulia district on the night of 19 November 2007.

    Apart from killing, the Naxalites also abducted CPI (M) activists. On 30 March 2007, suspected Maoists abducted four CPI (M) leaders identified Mr Khitish Singh, Mr Abani Sardar, Mr Sankar Nayak and an unidentified leader from Bhelpahari in West Midnapore district.

    b. Destruction of public properties

     

    The Naxalites continued to attack public property.

     

    On 27 June 2007, Maoists blew up railway tracks and burned down the station master’s office at Biramdih station in Purulia district.

     

    On 19 November 2007, Maoists blew up the railway tracks in Sainthia-Andal in Bhimghar district.

     

     

    IV. Violations of the rights of indigenous peoples

     

    According to the 2001 Census, the total population of the Scheduled Tribes (STs) was 4,406,794 persons constituting 5.5 per cent of the total population of West Bengal. There were a total thirty eight (38) notified STs in the State. However, the Sara Bharat Adivasis Mahapatra, a CPI- affiliated organization, alleged that they were being neglected by the State government. They were denied caste certificates which deprive them of government jobs. Only two-thirds of the population was reportedly given caste certificates.

     

    The NCRB recorded a total of seven incidences of crimes against Scheduled Tribes (STs) including one rape and one case under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 in West Bengal during 2006. The police do not register cases under the Prevention of Atrocities Act as a means to demonstrate that there are no atrocities against the tribals.

     

    Tribal women remained vulnerable to sexual violence. On 24 January 2007, two tribal girls were reportedly gang raped by a group of five persons after holding the victims family at gunpoint at Saoradanga village under Nabagram police station in Murshidabad district.

     

    V. Violence against women

     

    According to the NCRB a total of 12,785 cases of crimes against women were reported in West Bengal during 2006. These included 1,731 cases of rape, 445 cases of dowry deaths, 1,199 cases of kidnapping and abduction, 7,414 cases of cruelty by husband and relatives, 1,837 cases of molestation, 66 cases under Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act of 1956, among others.

     

    The security forces were responsible for violence against women including rape, torture and illegal detention.

     

    On 5 March 2007, Mrs. Kabita Mondal, Mrs. Bithika Mondal, Mr. Abinash Mondal, Asima Mondal and Srikanta Mondal of Murshidabad district were beaten up by four personnel of BSF including the Company Commandant Jirendar Singh of Char Raja Nagar Camp of the district. Mrs. Kabita Mondal, who was eight months pregnant, fell unconscious. The personnel reportedly entered into the house and asked those present to catch a cow for them. When the women declined they were beaten.

     

    On 8 July 2007 at around 10.30 p.m, seven alleged sex workers identified as Mrs. Sima Adhikary, w/o Pradip Adhikary, Mrs. Sandhya Sarkar, w/o Kanchan Pal, Mrs. Rupa Singh, w/o Dipak Singh, Mrs. Sathi Mondal, w/o Mukhtar Mondal, Mrs. Lakshmi Jar, w/o Govinda Jar, Mrs. Swapna Biswas, w/o Manik Biswas and Mrs. Sikha Dey, w/o Lalu Dey were arrested by the police near Bahadurpur railway crossing under Dhubulia Police Station in Nadia district. The victims alleged that they were denied food while detained at the police station. On 9 July 2007, Mr. Biman Mridha, the Officer in Charge of Dhubulia Police Station, and a lady constable identified as Smt. Sabita allegedly beat them. They were illegally detained for two days and produced before the Krishnanagar Chief Judicial Magistrate Court on 10 July 2007. They were released on bail. A fact finding by local NGO, Manab Adhikar Suraksha Manch MASU confirmed that its fact finding team witnessed the injuries of one of the victims, Sathi Mondal, consistent with the allegations.

     

    On 18 December 2007, a 29-year-old widow was illegally detained and tortured by Border Security Force (BSF) personnel at Kaliani in Bongaon in North 24 Parganas district. The BSF personnel accused her of sheltering illegal Bangladeshi immigrants at her house at Kalini village. She was taken to the BSF camp and was allegedly forced to strip and was then beaten up. The victim was reportedly released only after the intervention of the chief of the Gram Panchayat of Chaighoria, Mr Santosh Pradhan.

    Several women were reportedly raped by the police and the activists of the CPI (M) in Nandigram conflict as explained below.

    The rape committed by police was confirmed by Superintendent of Police of East Midnapore district, G A Srinivas in his report to the State Headquarters. In his report, G A Srinivas admitted that two police personnel had raped a woman during the clashes in Nandigram on 14 March 2007.

     

    On 23 July 2007, Lance Naik Kishori Lal of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) was arrested on charges of raping a 13-year-old girl in a jungle adjacent to Lankapara tea estate under Birpara police station in Jalpaiguri district.

     

    The CPI (M) was also responsible for perpetrating rape during the Nandigram clashes. On 14 March 2007, a mother and her two daughters were allegedly raped by CPI (M) leaders along with his supporters for two days in Nandigram. The alleged perpetrators then laid siege to the house and demanded money from the victims.

     

    Women continued to be victims of cultural cruel practices in West Bengal. On 27 March 2007, a 65-year-old woman identified as Tala Marmu, was sacrificed on the alter of a temple at Kendua village under Habibpur police station in Malda district after she was held responsible for the death of a person. Similarly, on 13 July 2007, another woman identified as Shanti Kheria (45) was beaten to death at her home by tea workers on the suspicion of being a witch at Dima tea garden under Kalchini Block in Jalpaiguri district.

     

     

    VI. Violations of the rights of the child

     

    According to the NCRB, a total of 432 cases of crimes against children were reported in West Bengal during 2006. These included 3 cases of murder, 20 cases of rape, 156 cases of kidnapping and abduction, 77 cases of procuring minor girls, 114 cases of Selling of girls for prostitution, among others.

     

    Children were subjected to illegal detention and torture by the security forces in clear violation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000. Under the Act, the police have no authority to deal with juveniles.

     

    Between 6 and 9 April 2007, a-14-year old girl identified as Nuresha Khatoon and a 15 year-old boy identified as Pintu Shekh were illegally detained by Mr. Somnath Banerjee, the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of the Jalangi police station and Sub Inspector Mr. Tuhin Biswas in the police lock-up at the Jalangi police station in Murshidabad district. The minors were detained after the girl’s father informed the Jalangi police station that his daughter was missing and he suspected that she had been abducted. When Pintu's father Mr. Saider Shekh found out he took both the children to the Jalangi police station as proof that there was no abduction. However, the said police officials asked Mr. Saider Shekh to leave and locked up the two minors.  

     

    On 6 August 2007, two tribal children identified as Bhutan Khalko (6) and Bhuto Khalko (4), residents of tribal colony near the Barasat Municipality, were picked up by the police on the charges of stealing. They were illegally detained at Barasat police station in North 24 Parganas district for three days from 6-8 August 2007. They were released without any charges.

     

    On 6  February 2007, Banashree Malik, a minor girl of six years, d/o Pasupati Mondal of Gopalnagar Paschim village in Singur, Hooghly district was beaten by police as they suggested that her father had been involved with Krishi Jami Bachao Committee; a group resisting land acquisition by the state government for the TATA company. Some local people rescued her and took her to Singur Rural Hospital.

    THE CHURCH of North India will ban corporal pun- ishment in all schools run by it and make its teachers 'child-friendly'. The new rules for the schools will be in force from July They will protect children from being made to stand up on the bench, outside the class, kneeling- down, beaten or insulted in front of classmates. Kolkata has more than 10 CNI-run schools, including La Martiniere, Pratt Memorial, St. Thomas, St. James, St. Paul's and St. John Diocesan. "All punishments involv- ing physical abuse or attach mental and social stigma to the child should stop. Such punishments have a lasting effect. A child should also not be asked to stand outside the class as it amounts to depriving him of the right to at- tend classes. Making children stand up on the bench too is no solution," said CNI head Bishop P S. E Raju. The new rules tell teachers to teach, advise and even counsel children, but never to resort to physical or ver- bal abuse to discipline them. Students will be told why they are being punished. But if they repeat the offence, the principal will intervene. "If the principal fails to make him listen, he will speak to the student in the presence of his guardians. If that also fails, we will send him to a counsellor If this fails to work, we will ask him to find another school," said Raju. To avoid police complaints and lawsuits, the whole process of 'trying to correct an unruly child' will be documented. The curriculum will also cover areas like fighting examination stress, child management, be- sides basic instructions in the United Nations charter for child protection. Banned a States like Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have banned corporal punish- ment in schools a Countries that have done so include Sweden, Finland, Norway, Austria, Cyprus, Italy, Denmark, Latvia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Germany, Israel, Iceland, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Greece and Netherlands a Belgium con- firms a child's right to moral, physical, psy- chological and sexual integrity. It is considering an explicit ban on all corporal punishment

               

    On 1 April 2007, two minor boys identified as Asif Iqbal (13), son of Asmat Sk. and Sahin Sk (15), son of Jalil Skkilled, both resident of of village Ramnagar Para under Raninagar police station in Murshidabad district were allegedly shot by Border Security Force personnel of the 140th Battalion. They were shot at the Kaharpara BOP (Border Outpost) while moving two cows from India to Bangladesh.

     

     

    VII. Violations of the prisoners’ rights

     

    The NHRC registered 69 cases of deaths in judicial custody in West Bengal during the period from 1 April 2006 – 31 March 2007.

     

    The conditions of prisons continued to be deplorable. The jails (renamed ‘Correctional Homes) remained overcrowded and lack basic services including sanitation.

     

    The Krishnagar District Correctional holds 1,072 prisoners as against the sanctioned 498 prisoners as of July 2007. Most of the inmates were undertrials. While the Jalpaiguri District Correctional Home had 846 under trial prisoners as against 551 inmates as of 21 May 2007.

     

    Torture of prisoners was common. On 31 July 2007, an undertrial prisoner Abedali Molla (21) was found hanging in Diamond Harbour Correctional Home, South 24 Pargana district. He was arrested following a complaint by a woman named Taslima Khatun of Alipara village in Kulpi in South 24 Parganas district. She alleged that Abedali had promised to marry her and cohabited with her. According to Abedali’s cousin, Abdul Rahaman, the family members of Taslima Khatun hired people in prison to murder Abedali. Abedali’s brother was present when the body was taken to Medical College & Hospital Morgue (Kolkata Morgue) on 2 August 2007. He saw a blister on the left side of the upper back and legs.

     

    According to advocates Muktikam Das and Pronil Roy, there is a criminal gang operating in the prison who pressure on the families of the under trial prisoners for money. If they fail to pay, then the prisoners are tortured mentally, physically and served with low quality food and denied access to their family. They alleged that Abedali died due to torture in the jail. They allege that the victim was first killed and his body was later hanged to suggest suicide.

     

    On 31 July 2007, an under-trial prisoner identified as Bimal Roy was allegedly tortured to death in Jalpaiguri Central jail in West Bengal.

     

    On 2 November 2007, Adol Basumata, son of Nagen died in Alipurduar jail in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal on 2 November 2007. The deceased was arrested on charges of assaulting a forest official and sent to judicial custody. His father Nagen alleged that he was beaten to death in jail custody.

     

    On 14 December 2007, undertrial prisoner identified as Ashoke Ghosh (66), son of Kalidas Ghosh of 20/A at Garcha First Lake under police station Gariahat in Kolkata district, was allegedly tortured to death at the Alipur Correctional Home. The police claimed that he died of an illness. However, the inquest report revealed injuries on the deceased body, consistent with the allegations of torture.

     

    Prisoners were denied medical care, resulting in deaths. On the night of 22 April 2007, undertrial Kshiten Barman from Cooch Behar District Correctional Home reportedly died in Cooch Behar allegedly due to lack of medical treatment.

     

    On the night of 18 July 2007, 70-year-old undertrial Narayan Dey died in jail custody in Cooch Behar district correctional home due to lack of medical attention. The family of the deceased alleged that the police and the jail authority did little to extend proper medical care despite the victim’s acute asthma condition.

     

    VIII. Human Rights Violations at Nandigram

     

    Nandigram of West Bengal became synonymous of the conflicts with the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that provide attractive economic packages, tax concession, exemptions from environmental clearance to companies setting up factories and businesses.

     

    Nandigram - identified by Salem group of Indonesia for establishment of its Chemical factories - turned into a conflict between armed cadres of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the anti-land acquisition Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (Land Eviction Resistance Committee, BUPC), made up of the poor who do not want to sell their lands, and are allegedly backed by the opposition Trinamool Congress. Gross human rights violations have been committed with absolute impunity as the State government either perpetrated or remained complicit with the violence of the ruling party cadres.

     

    On 14 March 2007, 14 BUPC protesters were shot dead by the State police. An inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation was ordered. On 16 November 2007, the Calcutta High Court declared the police killings as “unconstitutional”, unjustified” and awarded compensations of Rs 500,000 (US$ 12,690) each to those killed, Rs 200,000 (US$ 5,076) to each of the rape victims and Rs 100,000 (US$ 2,538) to each injured person. The State government has since challenged the order before the Supreme Court.

     

    On 28 March 2007, the chemical hub project at Nandigram was declared abandoned by West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. But the conflict continued.

     

    As the CPI-M cadres “recaptured” the areas in Nandigram from 6 November 2007, an unknown number of supporters of the BUPC were killed, women raped and displaced from their homes. Shockingly West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee justified the actions of the CPI-M cadres saying that the victims were “paid back in the same coin”. Given the view of the head of the State government it was hardly surprising that West Bengal Police did nothing to prevent the violence. Central security forces were called but the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel who are required to operate under the command of the State Police allegedly received insufficient instructions and support from the local police to bring the situation under control.


    On 5th December 2007, the CRPF personnel dug up five graves at Bamanchak village. On 10 December 2007, the CRPF personnel found another grave at Parulia village in Nandigram. Many other burial sites remain undiscovered.


    Endnotes:

    1.     2006 Annual Report of the National Crime Records Bureau

    2.     Information obtained by ACHR from NHRC through filing RTI Application

    3.     Supreme Court of India, Court News- October – December 2007, available at: http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/CtNewsOct_Dec07.pdf

    4.     No rights courts out of state capital, The Statesman, 20 July 2007

    5.     International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), see http://www.fidh.org/spip.php?article4571

    6.     2006 Annual Report of the National Crime Records Bureau

    7.     2006 Annual Report of the National Crime Records Bureau

    8.     Information obtained by ACHR from NHRC through filing RTI Application

    9.     Communications sent by MASUM, Kolkata

    10.   Information received from MASUM, Kolkata

    11.   Communications sent by MASUM, Kolkata

    12.   Communications sent by MASUM, Kolkata

    13.   Custody death heat on cops, The Telegraph, India, 15 November 2007

    14.   Violence in court over killing of schoolteacher by cop, The Tribune, 1 March 2007

    15.   ‘Drunk’ jawans kill boy, batter family - Parents and sister don’t know 19-year-old Masud is dead, The Telegraph, 7 March 2007

    16.   One dies in BSF firing, The Telegraph, 6 April 2007

    17.   Jawan kills teen, The Telegraph, 9 April 2007

    18.   Bullet death sparks border protest, The Telegraph, 11 June 2007

    19.   Check-post porter shot, The Telegraph, 20 December 2007

    20.   2006 Annual Report of the National Crime Records Bureau

    21.   Ration flames spread, man dies in police firing, The Telegraph, 2 October 2007

    22.   Another death in ration rally, The Telegraph, 4 October 2007

    23.   Police hit in ration protest turns fatal, The Telegraph, 29 October 2007

    24.   Relief on “humanitarian grounds” to kin of Nandigram police firing, The Telegraph, 27 October 2007

    25.   Information obtained by ACHR from NHRC through filing RTI Application

    26.   Information received from MASUM, Kolkata

    27.   Police ‘tortures’ trader in custody, The Statesman, 11 September 2007

    28.   Information received from MASUM, Kolkata

    29.   Torture slur on jawans, The Telegraph, 14 September 2007

    30.   Cop in assault row, camp on fire - Burnt down, The Telegraph, 23 October 2007

    31.   Police injures victim in lockup, The Statesman, 7 December 2007

    32.   Information received from MASUM, Kolkata

    33.   BSF jawans ‘attack’ villagers, The Statesman, 17 December 2007

    34.   BSF jawan injures 3, The Statesman, 28 December 2007

    35.   http://www.achrweb.org/ncm/NCM-VOL-02-03.pdf

    36.   Maoist strike, The Telegraph, 7 December 2007

    37.   CPI(M) leader killed by Maoists in West Bengal, The Times of India, 9 January 2007

    38.   Leaders shot, The Statesman, 31 March 2007

    39.   Maoist murder, The Telegraph, 11 July 2007

    40.   Maoist kill CPM leader, The Indian Express, 2 November 2007

    41.   CPM local committee member killed during Maoist bandh in WB, The Times of India, 20 November 2007

    42.   Leaders shot, The Statesman, 31 March 2007

    43.   Rebels burn Bengal station, The Telegraph, 28 June 2007

    44.   Maoists blow up railway track, The Statesman, 20 November 2007

    45.   West Bengal, Data Highlights: The Scheduled Tribes, Census of India, available at: http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_st_westbengal.pdf

    46.   Adivasis to hold rally in Kolkata, The Statesman, 25 May 2007

    47.   2006 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    48.   Teens raped at gunpoint - Police station doesn’t lodge an FIR or start probe in a week, The Telegraph, 31 January 2007

    49.   2006 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    50.   Communications from MASUM, Kolkata

    51.   BSF jawans strip and beat up widow, The Statesman, 19 December 2007

    52.   ‘Two policemen raped woman’, The Deccan Herald, 5 April 2007

    53.   SSB jawan held for rape, The Telegraph, 24 July 2007

    54.   Rape cases on CPM leaders, The Asian Age, 20 December 2007

    55.   Witch’ sacrificed to ward off deaths, The Telegraph, 29 March 2007

    56.   Woman killed for ‘witchcraft’, The Assam Tribune, 16 July 2007

    57.   2006 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    58.   UA-137-2007: INDIA: Illegal detention of two minors by police, AHRC, available at: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2007/2351/

    59.   Tribals protest police action, The Statesman, 14 August 2007

    60.   Communications from MASUM, Kolkata

    61.   Information received from MASUM, Kolkata

    62.   Information obtained by ACHR from NHRC through filing RTI Application

    63.   Undertrials languish in virtual hell-hole, The Statesman, 31 July 2007

    64.   Rights official visits jails, tea estates, The Statesman, 22 May 2007

    65.   Communications sent by MASUM, Kolkata

    66.   Undertrial dies, family cries foul, The Telegraph, 3 November 2007

    67.   Information received from MASUM, Kolkata

    68.   Undertrial GCPA activist dies, The Statesman, 24 April 2007

    69.   Undertrial dies in jail custody, The Statesman, 20 July 2007

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