UPDATE (India): Cases registered against Guria must be expedited


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-005-2008
ISSUES: Human rights defenders,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding the case of human rights activists associated with Guria, that the case is dragging on in the court in spite of all the attempts to expedite the proceedings. Guria is a human rights organisation based in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh state of India.


Mr. Ajeet Singh and Ms. Manju are human rights activists associated with Guria. Guria works on issues related to forced prostitution and human trafficking in Varanasi. On 25 October 2005, Ajeet and Manju along with several other volunteers rescued 31 persons including women and children from brothels in Vranasi. The persons recued were being brought to the brothels in Varanasi for forced prostitution. After the rescue, they were handed over to the local police.

After the rescue, several cases were registered against the brothel keepers by the Manduadih police. The AHRC in the past had issued urgent appeals regarding this case which are available at UA-190-2005, UP-131-2005 and UP-035-2006. Under the influence of the brothel keepers and their mafia, the local police had also registered cases against the activists. The registering of cases against the human rights activists were with an intention to pressure the activists to withdraw their statements in court so as to facilitate an acquittal to the criminals involved in the forced prostitution case. All these cases are now contested in local courts.

The brothel keepers have been adopting delaying tactics to protract the proceedings in all the cases. In the past, several attempts were made by the prime accused in the case to obtain stay of proceedings of the lower court from the High Court. Each time when the cases against the brothel keepers were taken up a stay order was issued by the High Court, only to be vacated subsequently when the stay order was challenged by the lawyer appointed by Guria. It is suspected that the prosecutor at the High Court, was bribed by the brothel keepers so that he would not oppose the stay application at the first instance when it is moved at the High Court.

In the meanwhile one of the prime accused in the case Mr. Rahmat, was murdered by the police. The police claimed that he was shot dead while attempting to escape from custody. Guria however alleges that Rahmat was killed since some senior police officers were afraid that if Rahmat was to be produced in court, he would divulge the involvement of some police officers in human trafficking in Varanasi. The remaining accused were released on bail soon after by the lower court.

When the bail application was filed for the accused, Guria opposed the application on the ground that if the accused were released on bail they would never appear again in the court and would threaten and intimidate the witnesses in the case. Guria also raised the objection that most of the bail bonds produced in court is fabricated and that the court cannot depend upon the documents as an adequate guarantee for the accused. However the court did not agree to Guria’s position and released the accused on bail. Soon after that Guria could back-trace these documents and prove in court that the documents produced in court were in fact fabricated. The court cancelled the bail bonds. But by then the accused had disappeared.

In addition to the cases filed against the criminals there are also cases charge sheeted against the activists associated with Guria by the local police. These cases are also being dragged on in the court, without being taken up for trail. For various reasons, including the failure on the part of the prosecution, these cases are being adjourned. In the meanwhile the Mr. Ajeet and Ms. Manju were threatened by the criminals asking them to withdraw from the prosecution case. They have not done so far and are determined to fight the case to its end.

The entire incident that has resulted in a series of cases and counter cases started in October 2005. The charges were filed in court soon after the incident. However, in some cases the investigation is still not over whereas in others the case is being dragged on after partial examination of the witnesses. These cases are classic examples of the state of affairs in the criminal justice delivery system in India.


The criminal justice machinery in India performs far below than what it is expected to do. The key factors that run the criminal justice system in India are the police or other law enforcement agency that investigates a crime, the prosecution led by the prosecutors’ office and the courts. All the three elements suffer from under performance, corruption and lack of accountability in India. This leads to gross miscarriage of justice in courts.

Take for example the case of Guria. All that Guria and the activists associated with Guria tried to do was to expose forced prostitution in Varanasi. In the process they complained to the local police to take action against those who were bringing women and children to Varanasi for their ‘business’. The local police and even the higher ranks of the police not only failed to take any action, but also informed that complaints were being made to the brothel keepers. When forced to take some action, the local police after informing the brothel keepers visited the place and as expected found nothing. This exercise continued several times making the entire attempt by Guria to rescue women and children from being forced to prostitution a mockery.

It was at this time that Guria got information that a new batch of women and girls were being brought to the brothels in October 2005. They waited for the day and finally when the victims were brought to the brothels, Guria and their volunteers surrounded the place, blocked the roads to the red-light area and called the police for help. The police refused to arrive. Given no other alternative Guria started rescuing the victim women and girls on their own. It is suspected that the police arrived at the scene only to rescue the brothel keepers, but not the women and children who were forced to prostitution.

Once at the scene, due to the presence of the media the police were forced to take action against the brothel keepers. Yet the first attempt of the police was to hand over the rescued women and children back to the pimps. This was prevented by Guria by pressing the police to produce the rescued women and children before the local Magistrate Court. When they were finally produced before the court, yet again, the police tried to oblige to the demands of the brothel keepers by allowing custody of the women and children to strangers. In fact these men were organised by the brothel keepers to claim back their ‘commodity’. This was also to a certain extend prevented by Guria.

Then the police registered false cases against Guria and their activists alleging that they had broken into private premises and had caused pecuniary damages to the residents. Several other charges were also leveled against Guria by the police under the instructions of the brothel keepers. The human rights activists associated with Guria were charged with offenses like molesting women and causing breach of peace. None of these charges have any factual basis, yet, once a charge is filed in court the accused, whoever it may be, either has to be discharged by the court or acquitted.

Fabrication of charges is a regular tactic used by the police and other law enforcement agencies to bargain between the accused and a complainant in the process of prosecution. In fact registration of a crime is considered as a bargaining possibility by the law enforcement agencies rather than a duty or a crime control activity.

As of now there are six cases registered against the brothel keepers. They are all pending before various courts in Varanasi. The case numbers are 274/2005, 294/2005, 295/2005, 280/2005, 300/2005 and 121/2007. The police to please the brothel keepers have registered four cases against the human rights activists associated with Guria. The case numbers are 274/c/2005, 274/e/2005, 274/g/2005 and 274/h/2005. All these cases as of now are being dragged on in the court.

Please write to the persons listed below expressing your concern about the progress in this case. The AHRC is also writing to the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons and the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children calling for an immediate intervention in this case.

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


Dear ___________,

INDIA: Please expedite the proceedings in the court concerning the case of Guria

Name of victims: Human rights activists and volunteers of Guria, a local human rights organisation based in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh state, India
Date of incident:  Since 25 October 2005
Place of incident: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh state

I am writing to voice my concern regarding the case of the human rights activists who are associated with the local human rights organisation Guria. I am informed that since 25 October 2005, the cases registered based on the complaint filed by Guria against local brothel keepers involved in forced prostitution are being dragging on at the local courts in Varanasi without any apparent reason other than the failure of the local police to complete the investigation in the case and the failure of the prosecutor and the local court in giving the case the required seriousness the case disserves.

I am also informed that in order to pressure Guria and its activists to withdraw from their case and also to please the local brothel keepers the Manduadih police have registered false charges against Guria and its activists which are also being dragged on in the court without a decision being made.

As of now there are six cases registered against the brothel keepers. They are all pending before various courts in Varanasi. The case numbers are 274/2005, 294/2005, 295/2005, 280/2005, 300/2005 and 121/2007. The police to please the brothel keepers have registered four cases against the human rights activists associated with Guria. The case numbers are 274/c/2005, 274/e/2005, 274/g/2005 and 274/h/2005. All these cases as of now are being dragged on in the court.

I am aware that the Indian legal system faces decades of delay in dealing with cases. However, as evident from the facts and circumstances in this case, which could be revealed from a short enquiry into the court proceedings, the case registered on the basis of the complaints filed by Guria and those registered against Guria are being intentionally delayed by the police, prosecutor and the court for reasons best explainable by the officers dealing with these cases.

I am informed by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) that the accused in some of the cases, mostly brothel keepers in Varanasi have influenced the Manduadih police not to complete the investigation in the case registered against them so that they could continue threatening the activists associated with Guria, particularly Mr. Ajeet singh and Ms. Manju from giving evidence in the case. I am also aware that one of the prime accused in the case Mr. Rahmat was shot dead by the local police in the recent past. I am informed that Rahmat was killed by the police who were afraid whether Rahmat might reveal information in the court exposing the involvement of some of the police officers in Varanasi who are engaged with human trafficking in the state.

I am also informed that Guria and its staff are continuously being threatened by the criminals associated with human trafficking in Varanasi. I am afraid whether the delay in dealing with the case by the court is with an intention to expose Guria and its activists for further threat and intimidation to withdraw from the case. I am also informed that such foul tricks are often resorted to by the local police and the prosecutor in criminal courts to help the criminals. These illegal tactics could, to large extent, be prevented had the courts dealing with the case is prudent enough to ensure that justice is done. However, I am worried that in this case the local court in Varanasi is also playing foul against the interest of justice.

I therefore request you to take immediate steps so as to order an enquiry into the steps so far taken in the cases above mentioned which are pending before various courts in Varanasi. I hope that such an enquiry would not only help to expedite the proceedings in these cases but will also help to expose the role played by the local police, prosecutor’s office and the court in delaying the final adjudication of these cases. I further urge you to take appropriate steps so that in the meanwhile adequate protection is also provided to the witnesses in these cases.

Yours sincerely,


1. Mr. Shripad Sirodakar
Senior Superintendent of Police 
Varanasi, SSP Office, Kachahari, Uttar Pradesh
E-mail: sspvns@up.nic.in

2. Dr. Kashmir Singh
Inspector General of Police
Varanasi Zone
Varanasi District, Uttar Pradesh
E-mail: igzonevns@up.nic.in

3. Mr. Vikram Singh
Director General of Police
1-Tilak Marg, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh
Fax: + 91 522 220 6120 / 220 6174
E-mail: police@up.nic.in

4. District Magistrate
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Fax: +91 54 2234 8313
E-mail: dmvsn@satyam.net.in

5. Mr. Justice Hemant Laxman Gokhale
Chief Justice, Allahabad High Court
Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
E-mail: rg@allahabadhighcourt.in

6. Ms. Mayawathi
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh 
Chief Minister’s Secretariat 
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 
Fax: + 91 52 2223 0002 / 2223 9234
E-mail: csup@up.nic.in

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org)

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : AHRC-UAU-005-2008
Countries : India,
Issues : Human rights defenders,