The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that a lawyer in Manipur is in a severe condition following torture in custody. So far no proper investigation has been conducted and no complaint has been registered. It is believed that the victim’s injuries may be fatal.
Mr. Ramananda Taorem is a lawyer practicing in Imphal, Manipur. He was arrested on 14 September 2009 at about 3pm at the office of the All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO) by officers from the Imphal West Police Commando Unit. According to our information the arresting officers had no arrest memo, which is a statutory requirement in Indian law. He was taken to a nearby police station, then to the Police Commando Complex at Minuthong where he was allegedly assaulted and tortured with electric shocks to his genitals.
Ramananda was accused by police of being a member of an armed opposition group that operates in the state, and a case was registered against him under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; Official Secrets Act, 1923; the National Security Act, 1980 and under Sections 121 and121-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The police produced him in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Imphal, where the magistrate ruled that he should be remanded in custody for 15 days.
The authorities detained the victim at the Sajiwa Central Jail until December 2009, where, like most other detainees he was denied the basic facilities necessary to sustain his life, including warm clothes and a bed. The victim was forced to sleep on the cement floor despite his injuries from the police torture.
At the time of arrest Ramananda was receiving treatment for cardiac ailments, and his conditions of detention and torture worsened his condition. We are told that the police denied requests by Ramananda’s family to send him medicines from outside the jail.
The authorities released the victim on 24 December and the state government withdrew all cases against him, raising serious doubts regarding the grounds for his arrest. The AHRC would like to note that this is a routine occurrence, as you can read in our reports on the detention and torture of Mr. Jiten Yumnam, a human rights defender (UAC-122-2009). Yumnam was arrested in similar circumstances in Manipur on the same day.
After his release from custody Ramananda was admitted to Manipur’s Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) on 27 December in poor physical condition and unable to speak. His right leg is suffering from monoparesis (paresis affecting a single extremity or part of a limb), which badly affects his mobility, and he was also diagnosed with pneumonia, cerebral embolism and as a result, facial nerve palsy. Doctors have told him that advanced and specialised medical treatment will be necessary otherwise his injuries could become fatal. He is finding difficult to return to normal life.
For further details regarding incidents related to this case involving other persons arrested along with Ramananda, please see AHRC-UAU-026-2009. Please also read: Impunity must END in Manipur and The state of the republic is showcased in Manipur for further details regarding the use of force by state agencies in Manipur and related issues.
Please write to the authorities named below to guarantee Ramananda’s safety and to urge an investigation in the incident.
The AHRC has written a separate letter to the Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and the Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment calling for an intervention in this case.
To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER
INDIA: The government must investigate the case of torture of Mr. Ramananda Taorem
Name of the victim: Mr. Ramananda Taorem, human rights lawyer, Manipur
Name of the alleged perpetrators: Officers associated with Imphal West Police Commando Unit, Manipur
Date of incident: September 14, 2009
I am writing to express my concern regarding the case of torture of Mr. Ramananda Taorem, a human rights lawyer working in Manipur. I am informed that he was arrested by officers from the Imphal West Police Commando Unit on 14 September, 2009.
I am concerned to know that after arrest the police tortured Ramananda in custody, and later accused him of having committed crimes registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; Official Secrets Act, 1923; the National Security Act, 1980 and under Sections 121 and121-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. I am also aware that the victim was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate and remanded in custody. I am informed that until his release from custody on 24 December Ramananda was denied proper medical treatment.
From the injuries he suffered from torture and the illegal treatment meted out against him in custody Ramananda is now is in a critical state. I have been informed that his physical as well as mental health is deteriorating rapidly since then.
I am informed that soon after release the cases against Ramananda were withdrawn unilaterally by the government, an action that raises serious suspicion regarding the reason for his arrest. I call for your immediate intervention in the victims case and demand a full investigation into the behaviour of the police.
I urge you to take necessary actions to ensure that:
1. The statement of Ramananda must be recorded by a magistrate immediately;
2. If the statement reveals a case of torture and ill treatment, an investigation must be ordered into the case, which must be supervised by a Judicial Magistrate as allowed in the rules laid down by the Supreme Court of India;
3. Ramananda must be provided immediate security;
4. The officers suspected in the case must be immediately suspended from active service;
5. The state government must provide immediate assistance to Ramananda so that he could seek appropriate medical assistance.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Pratibha Patil Devi,
President, Office of the President, Rashtrapati Bhawan,
New Delhi, 110004
Fax: +91 11 23017290
E-mail: pressecy@Sansad. nic.in
2. Mr. Okram Ibobi
Chief Minister & Home Minister of Manipur,
Chief Minister’s secretariat Babupara,
Imphal 795001 Manipur
Fax: + 91 385 2221817
3. Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
New Delhi-110001 INDIA
Fax: +91 11 23340016
4. Dr. P. Chidambaram
Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs
Griha Mantralaya Room
No. 104, North Block Central Secretariat, New Delhi 110001
Fax: +91 11 2301 5750, 2309 3750, 2309 2763
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)