INDIA: A human rights defender tortured and electrocuted in Manipur


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-017-2010
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Human rights defenders, Torture,

Dear friends, 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information about the case of a human rights defender tortured by the police in Imphal, Manipur state. It is reported that the police arrested and tortured the victim, Oinam Bikramjit, in custody. The victim fears that he will be re-arrested and tortured if he takes any actions against the police officers.


According to the information received by the AHRC, the Manipur State Police Commando Unit arrested Mr. Oinam Bikramjit on September 1, 2009, along with three other human rights defenders namely: Ms. Mutum Ibemhal, Ms. Mayanglambam Radhesana and Ms. Oinam Amuthoi. 

At about 5pm on that day, police officers surrounded the house of Mrs. Ibemhal, in Imphal West District. Ibemhal along with Bikramjit, Radhesana and Amuthoi were having tea. The officers searched the house but found nothing incriminating. Soon, a team of women police officers arrived and arrested Ibemhal, Bikramjit, Radhesana and Amuthoi. It is reported that the police violated all legal procedures regarding arrest of persons. 

The police produced the four detainees at the Imphal Chief Judicial Magistrate court, on the next day. The Court released Radhesana and Amuthoi on bail but remanded Bikramjit and Ibemhal into custody. The Court allowed the police to keep Bikramjit and Ibemhal in police custody instead of judicial custody till 4 September. On 4 September the police produced Bikramjit and Ibemhal again in court, and the court remanded them into judicial custody till 17 September. 

At this point the officers from Nambol Police Station approached the court with a prayer to allow them to arrest Bikramjit in connection with a case concerning the burning of Nambol Sub Divisional Office that happened on August 20, 2009. The court ordered to produce Bikramjit before the court and allowed the Nambol police to record their arrest of Bikramjit. Then they produced Brikamjit in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Bishnupur with a prayer for police remand. The Court allowed the application and remanded Bikramjit into police custody till September 7, 2009. 

In the meanwhile, the District Magistrate, Imphal West District issued an order on September 5, 2009 to detain Bikramjit under the National Security Act, 1980 (NSA). The NSA allows preventive detention of a citizen for prolonged periods with limited possibilities of bail. Bikramjit was not brought before the Bishnupur court on 7 September.
According to our information, the police tortured Bikramjit in custody. Bikramjit along with others were released from custody on January 7, 2010. But he is suffering from physical as well as mental trauma from the severe torture inflicted upon him while in custody. It is reported that the police resorted to brutal forms of torture upon Bikramjit, including electrocuting him. Bikramjit is afraid that the police will detain him again if he initiated any action against the officers. He requires immediate expert medical assistance and counseling for trauma.


Oinam Bikramjit is a human rights activist in Manipur. He is an active campaigner in the state-wide movement calling for the withdrawal of the draconian laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 from the state. He has also been vocal against the extrajudicial executions carried out by the security forces in Manipur. He is the General Secretary of the United People Front of Manipur. He is part of the Apunba Lup, an umbrella body of different organisations in Manipur. It is believed that Bikramjit’s arrest was a kneejerk reaction by the state government against the mass protest organised by Apunba Lup and other human rights organisations against the 23 July killings in Manipur. For further reading about the 23 July murder, please see AHRC-UAC-098-2009AHRC-UAC-122-2009 and The state of the republic is showcased in Manipur

The NSA allows detention of persons considered as security risk anywhere in India. Under its provisions, the authorities could detain a suspect without charge or trial for a period up to one year. The state government must confirm the detention order, which is reviewed by an advisory board within seven weeks of the arrest. The process however is non-transparent. The NSA limits the power of the lower courts like the magistrate courts to review detention orders and thus deprive the persons detained under this law from obtaining any immediate legal redress. Declaration of a state of emergency is no precondition to charge a person under the NSA. For these reasons the NSA has been misused by authorities in India. In particular, the NSA is used against human rights and other political activists to silence opposition. 

In February 2009, the UN Working Group on arbitrary detention released a joint study along with other Special Rapporteurs on the practice of arbitrary detention in countering terrorism. It stated that ‘arbitrary detentions and disappearances have been a longstanding concern in India, particularly in the states in which the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 applies’. During the 2008 Universal Periodic Review of India, the Human Rights Council also remarked that the continuing reliance on special powers under legislations such as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 the Public Safety Act, 1978 and the National Security Act, 1980 in areas declared to be disturbed is cause for serious human rights violations. 


Please write to the authorities named below demanding an investigation into the case of torture. The circumstances under which Bikramjit was arrested must be investigated and if the investigation reveals breach of law, the concerned officers must be punished. 

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders calling for his intervention in this case.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear ……………., 

INDIA: The case of torture of Oinam Bikramjit must be investigated 

Name of the victim: Oinam Bikramjit, 34, General Secretary of United People’s Front, resident of Oinam Mamang Leikai, Bishunupur District, Manipur, India 
Date of incident: September 1, 2009

I am writing to express my concern regarding the case of Mr. Oinam Bikramjit who was arrested and reportedly tortured in custody in Manipur.

According to the information I have received, the Manipur State Police Commando Unit arrested Bikramjit from the house of Ms. Mutum Ibemhal on September 1, 2009. The police have reportedly arrested Bikramjit along with three other persons, Ms. Mayanglambam Radhesana, Ms. Oinam Amuthoi and Ms. Mutum Ibemhal. I am informed that at the time of arrest, the police officers failed to follow the procedures stipulated in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

I am aware that the police released Bikramjit from custody on 7 January. I am however concerned to know that the police tortured him in custody and even electrocuted him. I am informed that he is afraid to speak about the incident due to fear for re-arrest, even though he is outside the police custody. I am also informed that Bikramjit requires immediate medical care and trauma counseling to recover from the mental and physical trauma he has suffered at the hands of the police.

I am aware that torture is not permitted under Indian law. I am however concerned to know that torture is widely practiced in India. I suspect that the lack of appropriate investigations and prosecutions of officers is one of the reasons for the widespread use of torture in the country.

I am further informed that draconian laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 and the National Security Act, 1980 are misused by the police as well as other state agencies in India. 

I therefore urge you to review the implementation of these laws in India. I am aware that entities like the United Nations and its several mandate holders like, the UN Working Group on arbitrary detention have urged the government of India to review the operation of these laws. I am also informed that a similar opinion was made by the Human Rights Council during India’s Universal Periodic Review and that the same opinion is shared by India’s National Human Rights Commission.

I therefore urge you to ensure that:

1. The statement of the victim is recorded;
2. The victim is provided immediate security and medical treatment;
3. A judicial inquiry is held into the entire incident and the records of the inquiry transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation, investigating the July 23 murder;
4. If the judicial inquiry reveals a crime committed by the police officers against the victim, that the officers are immediately prosecuted in a separate trial;
5. The officers accused in the case of having tortured the victim are immediately placed under suspension and removed from active duty;
6. To review the operation of draconian laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 and the National Security Act, 1980 are reviewed.

Yours faithfully,


1. Pratibha Patil Devi, 
Office of the President 
Rashtrapati Bhawan, 
New Delhi 110004
Fax: +91 11 23017290 

2. 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

3. Mr. Okram Ibobi 
Chief Minister & Home Minister of Manipur, 
Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Babupara 
Imphal 795001, Manipur 
Fax: + 91 385 2221817 

4. Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission of India 
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg 
New Delhi-110001 
Fax: +91 11 23340016 

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission ( 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-017-2010
Countries : India,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention, Human rights defenders, Torture,