APDR memorandum submitted to District Magistrate, West Midnapore, on 24 June

June 27, 2010

ASSOCIATION FOR PROTECTION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS (APDR)
18 Madan Boral Lane, Kolkata 700 012

24 June 2010

To:
The District Magistrate,
Paschim Medinipur
West Bengal

Subject : Complaint on gross Human Rights Violations in current operations jointly undertaken by the combined forces of the central and state governments in Lalgarh and adjoining areas, West Bengal

Dear Sir,

Normal life is continuing to be affected in about 22 Police Station areas of West Bengal in the Lalgarh operations jointly undertaken by the combined forces of the central and state for more than a year. In a situation, when the area has been sealed off and no persons are allowed to enter the area reports of gross human rights violations continue to be trickling in media. Human Rights and legal rights of the citizens continue to be trampled upon by the culpable action of the combined forces.

We, a team of APDR have come to meet you and apprise you of the fact that police force continues to throttle democratic voice of the people in the state as is evident from two recent incidents.

(1) A few academicians, scientist and reporters from Kolkata visited villages in Lalgarh to conduct a mission to study living condition of the inhabitants under reign of what is now came to be known as green hunt operation. They were apprehended by the police thereat and later three of them, namely Nisha Biswas–a scientist, Kaushik Choudhury–a teacher, Manik Mondal–a writer were slapped with charges of sedition, murder, criminal conspiracy etc. This is in gross violation of the UN “Declaration on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders” to which the Government of India is a signatory and India’s voluntary pledge and commitment to “continue to encourage efforts by civil society seeking to protect and promote human rights” while seeking election to the UN Human Rights Council in 2007 High handedness of the police goes to such a degree that police did not hesitate to book a scientist and teacher as offenders under major criminal acts, bereft of any genuine allegation which could easily be ascertained by one, if one looked into the facts unbiased. The arrested persons were not even accorded with the status of political prisoners, in terms of the provisions of the West Bengal Correctional Services Act 1984 and are being deprived of basic human amenities as prescribed in laws, jail codes and international statutes and conventions.

This is yet another example of how the Police in the state continues to persecute dissenting voices, implicate them in false criminal cases and make them languish in jails at the behest of the political party in power.

We demand that the administration take steps to restrain the police from such high handedness and let democratic norms prevail.

We demand that the arrested persons be released forthwith and all arrested political prisoners be treated as such as per provisions of the West Bengal Correctional Services Act 1984 and stated in the preceding paragraph, under provision of Jail Code as well as strict adherence to the provisions of Prison Act, which reads; unconvicted criminal prisoner shall be permitted to maintain himself, and to purchase or to receive at proper hours, food, clothing, bedding or other necessaries, and that in case he/she is unable to provide himself/herself with sufficient clothing or bedding shall be supplied by the suptd. with such clothing and bedding as may be necessary (Section 31 & 34 of the Act.).

(2). A mentally and physically challenged boy named Rameswar Murmu of village Duli was arrested by the police terming him as a ‘hard-core maoist’. It is already in public knowledge that Rameaswar is an epileptic and deficient of normal neurological and physical capabilities. In spite of massive media outcry and statements of the parents and neighbours of the boy the police officials continues their attempt to justify their action of degrading treatment to a mentally and physically challenged boy in contravention of the relevant laws and Convention of the Rights of the Disabled persons.

We seek to draw your attention to the reports already published in The Times of India dated 18 and 19 June 2010 and other newspapers and request you to enquire into the matter and to take proper and necessary steps to ascertain the mental and physiological health of the boy and ensure that his rights are not infringed upon.

(3). The photographs/footage of dead Maoists being carried on poles in West Bengal marks a turning point in ‘Operation green hunt’ (which journalist Javed Iqbal has aptly termed ‘operation tribal hunt’). Some people have criticised the Media for publishing such gory and horrifying pictures. A still from the media footage, published in The Hindu was termed horrendous While commending the Media for bringing to light such horrific acts by the persons in uniform, for showing us all what is really going on, we are stunned that no action has yet been taken against those responsible for such inhuman and barbaric behaviour.

We condemn such acts in strongest possible terms and demand all those responsible for such horrendous crime.

…….

We would also like to draw your attention to the letter of the Asst.. Secretary to the Govt. of West Bengal, Sri S. K. Mukhopadhyay to APDR. Vide his letter dated 19.01.2010 he advised APDR to get in touch with the District Magistrate for fixing up a convenient date for the purpose of a fact finding mission in Jangalmahal area now under provisions of Section 144 of CrPC. Copy of the letter dated 19.01.2010 is enclosed herewith. We wrote a letter dated 25.02.2010 addressed to you which was received by your office same day for the said purpose. But till date we heard nothing from your office.

We again request you to take steps to enable a team of APDR to visit locality in Jangalmahal area on fact finding mission at an early date.

Yours faithfully,
Amitadyuti Kumar
Vice President, APDR
On behalf of APDR Team

Copy to :
1. The Charman, NHRC
2. The Home Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
3. Shri P. Chidambaram, Minister of Home affairs, Govt. of India