UPDATE (India): Human rights activists threatened not to pursue cases against the women traffickers


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-036-2007
ISSUES: Police violence,

Dear friends

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that two human rights activists are facing death threats in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh state, India for their work against women trafficking in the state. It is alleged that the perpetrators are the same persons who were charged for trafficking after a complaint lodged by Mr. Ajeet Singh and Ms. Manju, two human rights activists working for a local human rights group named Guria. 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. The perpetrators who were arrested were later released on bail. It is alleged that after being released on bail by producing false bail bonds the perpetrators are now threatening Manju calling her on her mobile telephone. It is alleged that the perpetrators who are well connected with the local police, administration and certain officers within the local judiciary obtained bail in spite of Guria’s caution to the court.


On 27 and 28 February 2007 Ms. Manju, wife of Mr. Ajeet Singh, a resident of S- 8/ 395, Khajuri Colony, Cantonment police station, Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh, received several calls on her mobile telephone (near about 50) threatening her with death and using filthy language. The perpetrator has allegedly threatened Manju that they would kidnap her and her husband from their home and kill them. Manju received these calls on her mobile telephone with number + 919919780636. Due to these threats both Manu and her husband are living in fear.

Manju has filed a written complaint to the Superintendent of Police of Varanasi, and other authorities in the state but it is alleged that the state police has failed to identify and arrest the persons responsible for the calls.

Guria is a local human rights organization working on women and child rights in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. On 25 October 2005, volunteers and the staff of Guria attempted the rescue of 31 women from Shivdaspur, the red light area in Varanasi. The police intervened and some of the brothel keepers were arrested and later produced in court. The police also registered cases against Ajeet and Manju on false charges of trespassing into private property.

The sequences of incidents were as follows: – on 25 October 2005 Guria and its volunteers facilitate rescue of 31 women from the brothels at Shivdaspur and hand the women over to the police. The police accept the rescued women and also charge sheet cases against four brothel keepers as Crime 274/2005 of Manduadih police station under the provisions of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. On a subsequent investigation into the case under pressure from Guria and due to wide media publicity the Manduadih police also registered separate crimes, Crime 279/2005 to 299/2005 against 21 accused, including brothel keepers and their assistants and agents under Section 3 (1) of the Uttar Pradesh Gangster Act on 5 November 2005.

On a further application filed by Guria on 13 November 2005 in follow-up, the Manduadih police registered yet another case against nine more persons as Crime 300/2005 under the relevant provisions of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. All these crimes, Crime 279/2005 to 300/2005 were registered by the Manduadih police after heavy pressure by Guria and the media after Crime 274/2005 was registered. In total there are 38 accused persons all charge sheeted on crimes connected to the complaint lodged by Guria against women trafficking in Shivdaspur. All these cases are now pending before the courts in Varanasi including the Fast Track Cases Court, the Court of the Special Judge – Gangster Cases and the Judicial Magistrate Court of Varanasi.

Once arrested, the accused were produced before the concerned courts. Once produced before the courts the accused moved for bail, most of which were rejected by the Magistrate Court. However, they managed to bail out by obtaining bail from the Sessions Court, the Special Court for Gangster cases and also from the Uttar Pradesh High Court.

Guria was aware that the brothel keepers were well connected with the local administration and for that reason they were able to run the brothel in public, even though it is an offense to do so in Indian law. The brothels are two rows of houses in Shivdaspur area in Varanasi and it is public knowledge that women, including minors are trafficked from Bangladesh and Nepal and neighboring states to Varanasi in the pretext of legitimate jobs. Guria had in the past informed the local administration about the practice, but each time when the local police raided the brothels, the women were moved to discreet places and the police had to return without registering any case. Once the police retreat, the women reappear and the business continues. From several past experiences it was clear to Guria that the brothel keepers were well connected with the local police and that no fruitful action would follow if it were for the police to take any action. The very fact is that the police also registered cases against Guria and its volunteers also show how influential the brothel keepers are. Soon after the arrest of the brothel keepers, the person who was running the brothel was murdered in an alleged incident of encounter killing.

The brothel keepers and the other accused who were arrested were all released on bail. However when Guria came to know about the bail application, Guria tried to intervene in the case by informing the courts that the bail bonds, which include details regarding immovable property held by the guarantees, which is a regular requirement for bail, were fabricated documents. In the meanwhile Guria filed an application – Special Leave Application – before the Supreme Court of India on 12 May 2006 opposing the granting of bail to the accused on the ground that if the accused are released on bail they would tamper with the evidence and would be a threat to the witnesses in the case and also that many documents produced by the accused in court as security for bail are fabricated and forged. The court admitted the application and has issued notice to the accused. However, Guria is certain that none of the accused will be able to be traced back and brought to the court.

In India when a person moves for bail, if the court grants bail, the court issues a conditional order that the detainee will be released on bail provided the detainee produces adequate security and guarantee in court. This security and guarantee is an undertaking by a surety that the detainee if released on bail will be produced in court as and when the court requires, failing which the surety will be held responsible for the non-production of the detainee. Usually the court also insist that the surety produce records from the land records or revenue department to prove that the surety holds landed property that could be proceeded against if the surety and the detainee jump bail. These records usually are tax receipts or land records showing that the surety is in ownership and possession of the property mentioned in the document produced in court.

Dozens of such records were produced in the court to secure bail for the brothel keepers in this case. However, Guria being suspicious of these documents did their research through the land records department and they were shocked to know about the findings. Guria filed an application in court, which showed that in most cases the documents submitted by the sureties in court were fabricated.

Now that the accused have all been released on bail and that in most cases there is no possible process by which they could be brought back to the court, the cases in which they stand trial will never be adjudicated in the presence of the concerned accused. Since the accused enjoy complete impunity since they have all jumped bail and also since they are all well connected the chances of the local police tracing them is also limited. However, it is surprising to note that the concerned police officers have not taken any steps to investigate the matter and the courts have not taken any steps in spite of the fact that the courts were mislead on the face of records and the courts did not verify whether the securities were correct before granting bail to the accused.

Now that the accused are practically free they are threatening the activists associated with Guria, particularly Ajeet and his wife Manju that if they further proceeded with the case they would abduct Ajeet and Manju and may even murder them.


The criminal justice system in India, particularly the judiciary, police and the prosecution suffer from serious problems that makes it impossible for these three machineries to function as they are expected to in India. The courts never receive appropriate funds to function so that every court is crowded and the judges literally have no time to verify the veracity of documents produced before it. Additionally, in this case Guria allege and their experience confirms it that most of the accused in the case are well connected and it is even feared that the influence of the accused might be long enough to tamper with the judiciary and some judges and prosecutors. No practical help is expected from the police since most police officers are corrupt and practically there is no mechanism in place to curb corruption in the police department.

There is no protection mechanism in India for witnesses so that Guria and its activists can expect the least from the court or from the state as protection against the threats they face now. If situations continue like this, Guria soon will find it really hard to continue their work in Varanasi.


Please send a letter immediately to the Senior Superintendent of Police and the District Magistrate in Varanasi and the Chief Justice of India expressing concern in this case.

The AHRC is also writing to appropriate UN bodies asking for an intervention into the matter.

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


Dear ____________,

INDIA: Human rights activists threatened not pursue cases against the women traffickers

Name and address of the victim: Mr. Ajeet Singh, and his wife Ms. Manju, residents of S- 8/ 395, Khajuri Colony, Cantonment police station, Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh
Date and time of incident: 27 – 28 February 2007
Place of incident: Varanasi District, Uttar Pradesh, India
Alleged perpetrators: The accused in Crime 274/2005, 279/2005 to 300/2005 of Manduadih police station, Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh, India

I am writing to voice my concern over the alleged death threats to human rights activists in Varanasi for working against women trafficking. It is alleged that perpetrators are the same persons who were charged for trafficking on the complaint lodged by a local group Guria working against women trafficking. 

I am informed that on 27 and 28 February 2007 Manju, a human rights activist and also the wife of activist Mr. Ajeet Singh working for a local group Guria received several calls (near about 50) of threatening that both Ajeet and Manju will be abducted and even murdered if they continued working on the cases of the accused mentioned above. It is alleged that all the accused were released on bail after they produced fake bail bonds in courts. It is also alleged that even after the courts were notified that the accused have produced fake bail bonds the courts released the accused on bail and have taken no action against the accused or the sureties who produced the fake documents in the courts. It is also alleged that the accused are having good connections with the local administration and even with the lower judiciary and its officers.

It is also alleged that the accused would never return to the court, while they will remain free with the help of the local police who so far has refrained to take any action in the case.

I am concerned to know that the lower court as well as the police fail to take any action in this case were near about two dozen persons have jumped bail and are now threatening the human rights activists involved in this case.

I therefore urge you to take immediate action into this case and order an inquiry so that the entire sequence of producing fake bail bonds in court and the continuing disappearance of the accused is investigated into. I also urge you to take appropriate steps so that the victims named above are given adequate protection pending the inquiry into this case.

I am also informed that the Superintendent of Police of Varanasi has been informed that Manju has been receiving threatening calls over her mobile telephone. However I am concerned why the local police is taking no action upon the incident and is not caring to investigate into the case. I urge you to intervene in this incident and make sure that the local police do investigate into the threats Manju received on her telephone and take appropriate action against the accused.

I look forward to hearing about your positive response to this serious matter.

Yours truly,


1. The Senior Superintendent of Police
Tel: +91 54 22502655, +91 98 3950 4898 (mobile)
Fax: +91 54 2250 1450

2. The Chief Justice of India
Through the Office of the Registrar General
Supreme Court of India
1 Tilak Marg, New Delhi
Fax: +91 11 23383792
Email: supremecourt@nic.in

3. Mr. Rajiv Agarwal
District Magistrate
Tel: +91 54 2250 8585
Fax: +91 54 2234 8313
E-mail: dmvsn@satyam.net.in

4. Mr. Yashpal Singh, IPS
Director General of Police
Tilak Marg, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh
Tel: +91 52 2220 6104
Fax: +91 52 2220 6120, 2220 6174. 
E-mail: police@up.nic.in

5. Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh 
Chief Minister’s Secretariat 
Uttar Pradesh 
Fax: + 91 52 2223 0002 / 2223 9234

6. The Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission of India
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg 
New Delhi-110001
Tel: + 91 11 2307 4448/ 2338 2742
Fax: +91 11 23384863
Email: chairnhrc@nic.in

Thank you.

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

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-036-2007
Countries : India,
Issues : Police violence,