Home / News / Urgent Appeals / INDIA: BSF torture yet another person in West Bengal

INDIA: BSF torture yet another person in West Bengal

April 24, 2012

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-065-2012

24 April 2012
------------------------------------------------------
INDIA: BSF torture yet another person in West Bengal

ISSUES: Torture; inhuman and degrading treatment; corruption; impunity
------------------------------------------------------

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from MASUM, concerning the case of torture by the Border Security Force of an innocent person in Ramnarayanpur village of Murshidabad district in West Bengal. The victim in the case is Mr. Chhanarul Mondal, a casual labourer. It is reported that the BSF arrested the victim at early in the morning when he was returning after answering nature's call. Later the BSF tortured the victim, took him into custody and tortured him further while in custody and produced him at the local police station where the police charged the victim with a fabricated case.

CASE NARRATIVE:

An inquiry undertaken by MASUM in the case reveals the following facts.

The victim in the case is Mr. Chhanarul Mondal. He is the relative of Mr. Janmohammad Seikh living in Biswaspara village under the jurisdiction of Jalangi Police Station in Murshidabad district. Biswaspara is near the Indo-Bangladesh border.

On 29 February 2012 Chhanarul went to the house of Janmohammad to visit him. At about 5 am on 2 March the victim went to attend nature's call in the neighborhood beside the Karimpur - Baharampur road. The road is near the local Customs office. While he was to Janmohammad's house, the BSF detained him, having found Chhanarul near the border road in front of Jalangi BSF Company Head Quarter. The four BSF officers were returning to the Head Quarter after border patrolling.


The officers assaulted Chhanarul with the wooden sticks they were carrying and with the rifle butts. The officers then brought Chhanarul to the Jalangi BSF Company Head Quarter where he was confined in a room. Then the Company-in-Charge came into the room accompanied with another BSF officer and assaulted Chhanarul mercilessly.

On the same day at about 11 am The BSF brought Chhanarul to the Singhpara BSF Company Head Quarter in a BSF vehicle. At about 3.30 pm the Company-in-Charge of both Jalangi BSF Company Head Quarter and Singhpara BSF Company Head Quarter accompanied with 12 to 13 BSF officers took the victim to an isolated place beside the banks of River Padma which is about three kilometers away towards east from the Singhpara BSF Company Head Quarter. There they assaulted Chhanarul again.

At this time Chhanarul realized that the BSF was making preparations to murder him at the spot. Realising that Chhanarul would be killed, he started begging and pleading with the BSF to spare him. The officers felt sympathy for Chhanarul and brought him back to Farajipara BSF Border Out Post Camp at about 4.30 pm. From there by about 5 pm the Company-in-Charge of Jalangi BSF Company Head Quarter accompanied by five BSF officers took Chhanarul to the Sadhikhardiar Primary Health Centre. There they obtained a medical certificate in the victim's name to show that he is medically fit. Dr. Krishnendu Roy at the health centre issued the certificate.

Then they brought Chhanarul to the Jalangi Police Station. The police officer on duty refused to take custody of the victim considering his bad physical condition and demanded that the BSF should arrange for proper medical treatment of the victim. At this the BSF officers once again brought Chhanarul to Sadikhardiar Primary Health Centre where he was admitted for treatment.

On the next day, that is on 3 March they referred Chhanarul to be admitted at the Berhampore New General Hospital. Accordingly Chhanarul was admitted at the Berhampore New General Hospital. There, Chhanarul received treatment for seven days.

On 3 March the Chhanarul’s father went to the Jalangi Police Station with a written complaint narrating the entire incident. He urged the police to initiate an investigation in the case and to take immediate legal actions against the BSF. The police though received the written complaint have not taken any action till date upon the complaint.

On 7 March the victim was discharged from the hospital and he returned home. He is still undergoing medical treatment and is staying at home. In the meantime the Jalangi police informed Chhanarul that a criminal case is registered against the victim vide Jalangi PS Case No. 144 / 2012 dated 2 March 2012. In the case it is accused that Chhanarul has violated section 12 the Indian Passport Act 1967. The complaint also alleges that it is initiated on the basis of a complaint received by the police against Chhanarul filed by Mr. N. S. Negi, Inspector, ‘B’ Company of 91 BN BSF.

Chhanarul was apprehended by the BSF near the Customs Office and BSF Company Head Quarter building. However in the complaint before police, the BSF has stated that Chhanarul was apprehended from Border Post No. 157/17 R. MASUM has come to know that Chhanarul does not possess a passport. The allegation made against the victim is fabricated.

On 12 March the victim went to the Jalangi Police Station to produce himself for investigation on the case now accused against him. The police took Chhanarul to the Berhampore Chief Judicial Magistrate Court. On the same day the court released the victim on bail.

On 20 March at about 1 pm MASUM met Dr. Krishnendu Roy of Sadhikhardiar Primary Health Centre. When asked about Chhanarul and the report Dr. Krishnendu had prepared in Chhanarul's case the doctor could not give any cogent explanation. However by this time the physical condition of Chhanarul became such that he could not move alone. MASUM thus made arrangements to shift Chhanarul to Sramajibi Hospital, Belur, Howrah. There, Chhanarul received treatment for another three days. MASUM kept Chhanarul at a shelter run by MASUM under the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture project. As of now Chhanarul continues receiving treatment.

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.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

INDIA: Kindly investigate the case of torture of Mr. Chhanarul by the BSF at Biswaspara village, in Murshidabad district of West Bengal

Name of victim:
Mr. Mr. Chhanarul Mondal, son of Mr. Chaharuddin Mondal, aged about 20 years, residing at Ramnarayanpur village, under the jurisdiction of Jalangi police station, Murshidabad district, West Bengal
Alleged perpetrators:
BSF Officers stationed at (i) Jalangi BSF Company Head Quarter, (2) Singhpara BSF Company Head Quarter and (3) Farajipara BSF BOP Camp
Date of incident: 2 March 2012
Place of incident: Within the jurisdiction of Jalangi Police Station, West Bengal

I am writing to express concern regarding yet another case of police torture and fabricated charges registered by the Border Security Force stationed along the Indo-Bangladesh Border in Murshidabad district, West Bengal, India. The details of the case are as follows:

The victim in the case is Mr. Chhanarul Mondal. He is the relative of Mr. Janmohammad Seikh living in Biswaspara village under the jurisdiction of Jalangi Police Station in Murshidabad district. Biswaspara is near the Indo-Bangladesh border.

On 29 February 2012 Chhanarul went to the house of Janmohammad to visit him. At about 5 am on 2 March the victim went to attend nature's call in the neighborhood beside the Karimpur - Baharampur road. The road is near the local Customs office. While he was to Janmohammad's house, the BSF detained him, having found Chhanarul near the border road in front of Jalangi BSF Company Head Quarter. The four BSF officers were returning to the Head Quarter after border patrolling.

The officers assaulted Chhanarul with the wooden sticks they were carrying and with the rifle butts. The officers then brought Chhanarul to the Jalangi BSF Company Head Quarter where he was confined in a room. Then the Company-in-Charge came into the room accompanied with another BSF officer and assaulted Chhanarul mercilessly.

On the same day at about 11 am The BSF brought Chhanarul to the Singhpara BSF Company Head Quarter in a BSF vehicle. At about 3.30 pm the Company-in-Charge of both Jalangi BSF Company Head Quarter and Singhpara BSF Company Head Quarter accompanied with 12 to 13 BSF officers took the victim to an isolated place beside the banks of River Padma which is about three kilometers away towards east from the Singhpara BSF Company Head Quarter. There they assaulted Chhanarul again.

At this time Chhanarul realized that the BSF was making preparations to murder him at the spot. Realising that Chhanarul would be killed, he started begging and pleading with the BSF to spare him. The officers felt sympathy for Chhanarul and brought him back to Farajipara BSF Border Out Post Camp at about 4.30 pm. From there by about 5 pm the Company-in-Charge of Jalangi BSF Company Head Quarter accompanied by five BSF officers took Chhanarul to the Sadhikhardiar Primary Health Centre. There they obtained a medical certificate in the victim's name to show that he is medically fit. Dr. Krishnendu Roy at the health centre issued the certificate.

Then they brought Chhanarul to the Jalangi Police Station. The police officer on duty refused to take custody of the victim considering his bad physical condition and demanded that the BSF should arrange for proper medical treatment of the victim. At this the BSF officers once again brought Chhanarul to Sadikhardiar Primary Health Centre where he was admitted for treatment.

On the next day, that is on 3 March they referred Chhanarul to be admitted at the Berhampore New General Hospital. Accordingly Chhanarul was admitted at the Berhampore New General Hospital. There, Chhanarul received treatment for seven days.

On 3 March the Chhanarul’s father went to the Jalangi Police Station with a written complaint narrating the entire incident. He urged the police to initiate an investigation in the case and to take immediate legal actions against the BSF. The police though received the written complaint have not taken any action till date upon the complaint.

On 7 March the victim was discharged from the hospital and he returned home. He is still undergoing medical treatment and is staying at home. In the meantime the Jalangi police informed Chhanarul that a criminal case is registered against the victim vide Jalangi PS Case No. 144 / 2012 dated 2 March 2012. In the case it is accused that Chhanarul has violated section 12 the Indian Passport Act 1967. The complaint also alleges that it is initiated on the basis of a complaint received by the police against Chhanarul filed by Mr. N. S. Negi, Inspector, ‘B’ Company of 91 BN BSF.

Chhanarul was apprehended by the BSF near the Customs Office and BSF Company Head Quarter building. However in the complaint before police, the BSF has stated that Chhanarul was apprehended from Border Post No. 157/17 R. MASUM has came to know that Chhanarul does not possess a passport. The allegation made against the victim is fabricated.

On 12 March the victim went to the Jalangi Police Station to produce himself for investigation on the case now accused against him. The police took Chhanarul to the Berhampore Chief Judicial Magistrate Court. On the same day the court released the victim on bail.

On 20 March at about 1 pm MASUM met Dr. Krishnendu Roy of Sadhikhardiar Primary Health Centre. When asked about Chhanarul and the report Dr. Krishnendu had prepared in Chhanarul's case the doctor could not give any cogent explanation. However by this time the physical condition of Chhanarul became such that he could not move alone. MASUM thus made arrangements to shift Chhanarul to Sramajibi Hospital, Belur, Howrah. There, Chhanarul received treatment for another three days. MASUM kept Chhanarul at a shelter run by MASUM under the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture project. As of now Chhanarul continues receiving treatment.

I therefore request you:

1. That the statement of the victim is immediately recorded and the case investigated;
2. Immediate criminal actions taken against the BSF officers against torture;
3. The victim who is hurt be immediately provided medical treatment;
5. The victim paid an interim compensation by the government.

Yours sincerely,

----------------
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Director General BSF
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. Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
New Delhi 110001
INDIA
Fax: + 91 11 2338 4863
E-mail: chairnhrc@nic.in

7. Superintendent of Police
Murshidabad
BMP Police Office
Berhampore 742101, Murshidabad District
West Bengal State
INDIA


Thank you

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

Document Type :
Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID :
AHRC-UAC-065-2012
Countries :
Document Actions
Share |
Subscribe to our Mailing List
Follow AHRC
Extended Introduction: Urgent Appeals, theory and practice

A need for dialogue

Many people across Asia are frustrated by the widespread lack of respect for human rights in their countries.  Some may be unhappy about the limitations on the freedom of expression or restrictions on privacy, while some are affected by police brutality and military killings.  Many others are frustrated with the absence of rights on labour issues, the environment, gender and the like. 

Yet the expression of this frustration tends to stay firmly in the private sphere.  People complain among friends and family and within their social circles, but often on a low profile basis. This kind of public discourse is not usually an effective measure of the situation in a country because it is so hard to monitor. 

Though the media may cover the issues in a broad manner they rarely broadcast the private fears and anxieties of the average person.  And along with censorship – a common blight in Asia – there is also often a conscious attempt in the media to reflect a positive or at least sober mood at home, where expressions of domestic malcontent are discouraged as unfashionably unpatriotic. Talking about issues like torture is rarely encouraged in the public realm.

There may also be unwritten, possibly unconscious social taboos that stop the public reflection of private grievances.  Where authoritarian control is tight, sophisticated strategies are put into play by equally sophisticated media practices to keep complaints out of the public space, sometimes very subtly.  In other places an inner consensus is influenced by the privileged section of a society, which can control social expression of those less fortunate.  Moral and ethical qualms can also be an obstacle.

In this way, causes for complaint go unaddressed, un-discussed and unresolved and oppression in its many forms, self perpetuates.  For any action to arise out of private frustration, people need ways to get these issues into the public sphere.

Changing society

In the past bridging this gap was a formidable task; it relied on channels of public expression that required money and were therefore controlled by investors.  Printing presses were expensive, which blocked the gate to expression to anyone without money.  Except in times of revolution the media in Asia has tended to serve the well-off and sideline or misrepresent the poor.

Still, thanks to the IT revolution it is now possible to communicate with large audiences at little cost.  In this situation there is a real avenue for taking issues from private to public, regardless of the class or caste of the individual.

Practical action

The AHRC Urgent Appeals system was created to give a voice to those affected by human rights violations, and by doing so, to create a network of support and open avenues for action.  If X’s freedom of expression is denied, if Y is tortured by someone in power or if Z finds his or her labour rights abused, the incident can be swiftly and effectively broadcast and dealt with. The resulting solidarity can lead to action, resolution and change. And as more people understand their rights and follow suit, as the human rights consciousness grows, change happens faster. The Internet has become one of the human rights community’s most powerful tools.   

At the core of the Urgent Appeals Program is the recording of human rights violations at a grass roots level with objectivity, sympathy and competence. Our information is firstly gathered on the ground, close to the victim of the violation, and is then broadcast by a team of advocates, who can apply decades of experience in the field and a working knowledge of the international human rights arena. The flow of information – due to domestic restrictions – often goes from the source and out to the international community via our program, which then builds a pressure for action that steadily makes its way back to the source through his or her own government.   However these cases in bulk create a narrative – and this is most important aspect of our program. As noted by Sri Lankan human rights lawyer and director of the Asian Human Rights Commission, Basil Fernando:

"The urgent appeal introduces narrative as the driving force for social change. This idea was well expressed in the film Amistad, regarding the issue of slavery. The old man in the film, former president and lawyer, states that to resolve this historical problem it is very essential to know the narrative of the people. It was on this basis that a court case is conducted later. The AHRC establishes the narrative of human rights violations through the urgent appeals. If the narrative is right, the organisation will be doing all right."

Patterns start to emerge as violations are documented across the continent, allowing us to take a more authoritative, systemic response, and to pinpoint the systems within each country that are breaking down. This way we are able to discover and explain why and how violations take place, and how they can most effectively be addressed. On this path, larger audiences have opened up to us and become involved: international NGOs and think tanks, national human rights commissions and United Nations bodies.  The program and its coordinators have become a well-used tool for the international media and for human rights education programs. All this helps pave the way for radical reforms to improve, protect and to promote human rights in the region.