UPDATE (India): Delayed partial justice in a case of gang rape after 11 years 


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-136-2006
ISSUES: Administration of justice,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is pleased to inform you that four of the accused persons in the rape and assault of a handicapped woman from West Bengal, Ms. Hasna Mandol, have been punished by the court. Ms. Hasna was tortured and raped on 27 February 1995. Today, the court sentenced three defendants ten years and one to five years’ imprisonment. The seven others, including on present Inspector General of Police and two other police officers (among whom one has already passed away), were found not guilty. The verdict has been announced after eleven years of the original incident.

On June 30, 2006 the 1st Additional and Session Judge of Jalpaiguri District & Sessions Court, Mr. Subhankar Bhattacharjee sentenced Adhir Sarkar, Brajeshwar Sarkar and Tapan Singha Roy to ten years imprisonment and Prafulla Sarkar to five years imprisonment. The other seven alleged perpetrators of the assault and rape, including the present Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. C.V.Muraleedhar, who was a local superintendent of police during the incident, the then deputy superintendent of police, Mr. A.K.Saha, and Mr. Gautam Sen (deceased), Officer in Charge of the Dhupguri Police station, were not found guilty.

It took more than eleven years to get justice against the perpetrators with the victims facing multiple types of threats, intimidation, harassment, negligence and abuse of governmental power during the course of the trial. The institutions related to law and order, the prosecution, and the judiciary all but failed to uphold justice in reality. This long awaited verdict is a partial show of justice, but it has ensured the impunity of the high-ranking police officials as a result of insufficient evidence against them caused by their own failed police investigation.

This case reflects how deteriorated the institutions which should be ensuring rule of law are in India. The very fact that the police officers whose duty-bound to safeguard citizens’ rights and liberty participated in the persecution campaign of the victim and that the very same officers were entrusted with the investigation of the case exposes the depths to which policing in India has sunk. The manner in which the proceedings in the court had been stalled shows how far the judiciary in India is able and willing to safeguard the rights of perpetrators and how few remedies there are in cases of violations. This case also has exposes the significant flaws in India’s domestic legal system, which evidently is unable to safeguard the rights of innocent victims in cases of torture and other abuses.

To read the background and further details of this case please see: UP-93-2005UA-07-2005;

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

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Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-136-2006
Countries : India,
Issues : Administration of justice,