Posts Tagged ‘Kolkata’

Arbitrary arrest and judicial harassment of 13 Women Human Rights Defenders in Kolkata, India

June 17, 2013

On 17 June, 2013 the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders [joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture and the International Federation for Human Rights] issued a statement on the fate of 13 women human rights defenders in India.OMCT-LOGOlogo FIDH_seul Read the rest of this entry »

Death threats against Indian human rights defender Mr Azimuddin Sarkar

November 13, 2012

Front Line Defenders reports on 13 November that since 14 October 2012, the Indian human rights defender Mr. Azimuddin Sarkar and his family have been targeted with threats and intimidation on several occasions, which has been exacerbated by unwillingness on the part of the police to investigate the matter. Azimuddin Sarkar is the District Human Rights Monitor of MASUM, a non-governmental human rights organisation based in Howrah, Kolkata, West Bengal.

On 14 October 2012, a group of 20-25 people, of whom four were identified as locally known thugs, raided the house of Azimuddin Sarkar’s older brother, who was home with his family at the time, in Bardhanpur village, West Bengal state. The thugs reportedly issued threats to Azimuddin Sarkar, saying they would “teach him a lesson” as they threatened the family with weapons and looted the house. An hour after the incident, police appeared on the scene and advised the victims to make a complaint. When the human rights defender’s brother went to the local police station at Raninagar the next day, it is reported that the officer on duty refused to file the complaint, insisting instead to register it only as ‘information received’. A written complaint was sent to the Superintendent of Police at Murshidabad.

On 16 October, Azimuddin Sarkar asked a friend from a non-governmental organisation to make a request to the police to arrest the culprits. The Officer in Charge (OC) at Raninagar station responded that they should leave the matter be, as it was related to MASUM. The OC added that MASUM was not the State Human Rights Commission, and as such “had no right to pressurise the police”. The next day, around 11pm on 17 October, four of the same thugs assembled outside Azimuddin Sarkar’s family home armed with lethal weapons and went on to publicly threaten to kill the human rights defender and his family.

On 19 October, the human rights defender filed a written complaint on the incident with the OC and the Superintendent of police at Murshidabad, supported by multiple eye witnesses. On 5 November, after repeated attempts to call the OC at Raninagar police station, a call from a fellow District Human Rights Monitor at MASUM was returned. All the OC offered regarding police actions on the issue was that he could give no detail of whether any case had been initiated or not. The police have reportedly sent a number of messages to the complainants urging them to withdraw their complaints against the assailants.

Azimuddin Sarkar has been involved in campaigns against the use of torture by the police and Border Security Forces in the area. Currently he is unable to move freely and carry out his work due to the threats. It is believed he is being targeted solely for his legitimate and peaceful human rights activities.