INDIA: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India fails to provide adequate remedy to a human rights defender in Uttar Pradesh

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: UA-027-2007
ISSUES: Human rights defenders,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) regrets to inform you that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India fails to provide adequate remedy to Dr. Lenin Raghuvansi, who had complained to the Commission regarding an attempted assassination on his life by the police.   He is a human rights activist working for the Dalits and the backward class in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. We were also informed that the police allegedly blackmailed Dr. Lenin to the Commission, instead of conducting proper investigation into his complaints. In fact, Dr. Lenin has been receiving numerous death threats due to his dedicated work for vulnerable people in Varanasi. Please refer to our previous urgent appeals on death threats on him: UA-166-2005, UP-100-2005 and UA-138-2005 
 
CASE DETAILS:

On 18 February 1998, Dr. Lenin Raghuvansi’s house was surrounded by police officers from Ramnagar police station, in an attempt to assassinate him. The alleged reason behind the assassination is that, Dr. Lenin, as a human rights defender, tried to voice the grievances of the families whose members were allegedly killed in encounters. He lodged a complaint with detailed information of the well-planned assassination attempt on his life with the NHRC (ref. case number: 5840/24/97-98). Ever since Dr. Lenin has requested the NHRC to get a proper inquiry into this matter both in writing and via telephone.

On 22 January 2002, through a letter signed by Mr. Anil Parashar, the Assistant Registrar [Law] of the NHRC informed Dr. Lenin of a report provided by the police regarding his complaint. The police report stated “[A]nd feels that no further action is called for the complaint and the same may be treated as closed”. Immediately Dr. Lenin responded by letter on 30 July 2002. He also wrote and called to the NHRC, stating that the matter needs to be inquired into, and that the police report given in their defense should not be accepted as the correct version of events.

In the police report that the NHRC sent to Dr. Lenin, the police also alleged that “Dr. Lenin was himself providing shelter to the criminals for his selfish motives … that it would be better to write about his removal from his post of convener of Manava Adhikar Jananigrani Samiti (PVCHR)”. The AHRC has an opinion that this is a stark attack on a human rights defender, in order to blackmail him and to create a doubt on hiscomplaint.

Dr. Lenin is frustrated because the NHRC’s inaction into this serious allegation for years. The AHRC strongly urges the NHRC to investigate the alleged attempt on the life of Dr. Lenin and the stark blackmail on him by the police. The matter concerns not only the life and the reputation of one human rights defender, but also the very legitimacy of human rights work in general.

Dr. Lenin is the convener of The Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), which is a reputed human rights organization in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh in India and internationally. This organization has been doing valuable human rights work on caste discrimination, prevention of torture and the elimination of discrimination against women in the area.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India, demanding a proper and speedy investigation into the alleged attempted assassination on Dr. Lenin’s life as well as police’s blackmail to harm his reputation. Please also send a copy of your letter to other relevant authorities including the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders for immediate actions on this case.

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

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear ___________, INDIA: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India fails to provide adequate remedy to a human rights defender in Uttar Pradesh I am writing to complain about your Commission’s failure to provide adequate remedy to Dr. Lenin Raghuvansi. He had made a complaint to the Commission regarding an attempted assassination on his life by the police. Dr. Lenin is the convener of The Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), which is a reputed human rights organization in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh in India and internationally. This organization has been doing valuable human rights work on caste discrimination, prevention of torture and the elimination of discrimination against women in the area. According to the information I have received, on 18 February 1998, Dr. Lenin Raghuvansi's house was surrounded by police officers from Ramnagar police station in an attempt to assassinate him, because of his support to the families of many encounter deaths. He lodged a complaint regarding this incident to your Commission (ref. case number: 5840/24/97-98). Ever since Dr. Lenin has communicated with the NHRC in writing and via telephone, in order to get a proper inquiry into this matter. However, I was informed that on 22 January 2002, through a letter signed by Mr. Anil Parashar, the Assistant Registrar [Law] of the NHRC informed Dr. Lenin of a report provided by the police regarding his complaint. The police report stated "[A]nd feels that no further action is called for the complaint and the same may be treated as closed". The police report also alleged that "Dr. Lenin was himself providing shelter to the criminals for his selfish motives … that it would be better to write about his removal from his post of convener of Manava Adhikar Jananigrani Samiti (PVCHR)". Since then, Dr. Lenin wrote and called to your Commission, demanding an inquiry into assassination attempt and the police's blackmail. However, no further action has yet been taken by your Commission despite the complaint has been filed for years.  Dr. Lenin now feels frustrated because of your Commission's inaction. I believe that the police report is a stark attack to blackmail Dr. Lenin, and create a doubt about his complaint. I therefore request you to conduct a proper and speedy inquiry into the said matter, and take action accordingly. This matter concerns not only the life and the reputation of a human rights defender, but also the very legitimacy of human rights work in general. Yours truly, -------------------- PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTER TO: The Chairperson National Human Rights Commission of India  Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg  New Delhi 110001  INDIA Fax: +91 11 23384863 SEND A COPY OF YOUR LETTER TO: 1. Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh  Chief Minister's Secretariat  Lucknow  Uttar Pradesh  INDIA  Fax: + 91 52 2223 0002 / 2223 9234 2. Mr. Manmohan Singh Prime Minister of India Prime Minister's Office Room number 152, South Block New Delhi INDIA Fax: +91 11 23016857 Email: pmosb@pmo.nic.in 3. Ms. Hina Jilani Special Representative of the Secretary General for human rights defenders Att: Melinda Ching Simon  Room 1-040 C/o OHCHR-UNOG 1211 Geneva 10 SWITZERLAND Tel: +41 22 917 93 88 Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (ATTN: SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS) Thank you. Urgent Appeals Programme Asian Human Rights Commission (ahrchk@ahrchk.org)
Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-027-2007
Countries : India,
Issues : Human rights defenders,