Nchro propagates the issue related to Death,disappearance and deprivation at Second International Conference of the South Asian Society of Criminology and Victimology
This paper was presented by SHARAFUDHEEN MK on behalf of NCHRO (National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations) at the Second International Conference of the South Asian Society of Criminology and Victimology
(SASCV) with the theme of Cultural Conflicts and Victimization of Groups on 12th Jan 2012 at Kanyakumari, India.
This paper puts forth various circumstances of death, disappearance and deprivation which have become burning national and international issue, especially in tribal areas and districts with minority concentration or provinces where sub national aspirations are strong.
This has viewed from a different angle as also a manifestation of internal rivalry between different social groups. Ethnic cleansing is a modern term but it has a long history. Cultural contestations also play a role in building up the tension. Here we can identify that the vulnerable communities are always become the victims of oppression and extra judicial killings as seen in Myanmar and India's North East. The majority sections of the government of Myanmar refuse to recognize Rohingyas and classify them as illegal migrants, although the Rohingyas are said to be descendants of Minorities.
The UN human rights authorities point their finger to blame Myanmar security forces. According to reports, thousands of Myanmar's Rohingyas are living in dire conditions in refugee camps. But the paradox here is that the violence is seems to be supported by the government forces.
The issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh remains an unresolved issue for the last 27 years after the signing of the Assam Accord. This clearly represents the failure of both centre and State governments in this process.
A missing person, we generally mean individuals of whom their families have no news on the basis of reliable information, have been reported missing as a result of an armed conflict or of internal violence, internal disturbances or any other situation that might require action by a neutral and independent body (International Red Cross Society).
Here, I would like to emphasis enforced disappearance used as a practice by State actors forcibly disappearing and illegally detaining someone, without acknowledging their arrest or whereabouts, places the victim outside the protection of the law and is often linked to the crimes of torture with cold blooded murders. This is particularly a terrible crime as it not only violates rights of the victim's security and dignity and the right to a fair trial but also impact their families and communities.
The UN crime statistics shows enforced disappearances is one that is prevalent in all South Asian states including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kashmir and North East of India, where disappearances take place across both political and ethnic lines.
A group of United Nations experts seeking review of more than 400 cases spanning 31 nations often in a persistent manner. These numbers are even more disappointing in South Asia. The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from enforced disappearances is a relatively recent convention, being drafted in 2006, only 91 countries have signed it and just over one-third (32) have ratified the convention. While with India being the only signatory to the convention, but have taken no steps to ratify it. The "deepest concern" is that 20 years since the adoption of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the practice of vanishing people is still continuing unabated around the world.
Framed, Damned, Acquitted:
This is not a charge of bleeding heart liberals and human rights aspects alone, but a fact corroborated by judgment after judgment of different courts. A study conducted by JTSA (Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association) New Delhi, says most of the accused were picked up before the date of arrest shown in the records. This period of illegal detention is used to extract disclosures favourable to the police story. These disclosures are not admissible in court but by the time the trials were conclude and the accused are acquitted, years are wasted and lives are ruined.
The evidence shows clearly that the acquittals were not simply for want of evidence. In India, fabrication of evidence is a serious offence under the Indian Penal Code (Section 195 IPC). Delhi Additional Sessions Judge has ordered a CBI probe against the Special Cell, as well as directing the filing of FIR and the initiation of departmental enquiries against them
Here encounter death is generally defined as "The action intended to safeguard the laws of the land in which law enforcement agencies deliver summary justice to suspected ‘criminals' for the safety of the people at large".
As per the available Central Government records Uttar Pradesh stands first in encounter deaths. Near 953 civilian deaths took place in the state like Assam, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, West Bengal etc.
Result, encounter deaths are also meant to create a sense of security among the people. However it also has a negative impact on people's faith in law and the civil society groups question the authenticity of the incidences.
In the Dhaula Kuan- New Delhi fake encounter case, the Delhi city session Court was of the opinion that, "there cannot be any more serious or grave crime than a police officer framing an innocent citizen in a false criminal case. Such a tendency among the officers should not be viewed or dealt with lightly but needs to be further accountable".
Except a certain nominal case, not a single officer in any of the operations has suffered criminal proceedings for the framing of innocents. Even after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) indicated an officer who surface regularly in these pages - for staged an encounter in Sonia Vihar-New Delhi in 2006, he continues to head probes as crucial and sensitive attack on the Israeli diplomat in Delhi.
Here the interesting reality is that the public and independent witnesses are rarely joined in the actual operation, even when the accused are apprehended in public places with people present.
Anti-terror laws and its prospect of misuse:
"The real test to the adherence of human rights principles by any state happens at the time of emergency, not during the times of normalcy".
Human right is not luxury or privilege but a fundamental right of every citizen. "The anti-terror laws are being widely criticized by civil rights group using against various sections of the country. Practically The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967(UAPA) is more restricted than the scrapped Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). It safeguards against the possible misuse, which used to be there in laws like TADA and POTA.
Torture and custody death syndrome:
The latest status says that a total of 14,231 persons i.e. more than four persons per day died in police and judicial custody in India from 2001 to 2010. This includes 1,504 deaths in police custody and 12,727 deaths in judicial custody from 2001-2002 to 2009-2010 as per the cases submitted to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
As per the official report, Maharashtra recorded the highest number of deaths in police custody with 250 deaths; followed by Uttar Pradesh (174), Gujarat (134) and Andhra Pradesh (109). Members of the Parliament had earlier raised this specific issue before the parliament. Later in 2011, 147 Police custody death cases have been reported by various agencies. In addition, NHRC does not have jurisdiction over the armed forces.
Denial of justice to adivasis (scheduled tribes) continues even today despite the official policies and declarations to protect them. It also noted that the "tribal's are handicapped by poverty, illiteracy, economic dependence and ignorance of the law". Innocence among the tribal groups are regularly victimised by the eviction and extermination campaign of central and eastern part of India.
On the night of 28 June 2012 when the adivasi peasants of Sarkeguda, Kottaguda and Rajpenta (Bijapur district of south Chhattisgarh) gathered to plan the performance of the traditional festival Beej Pandum (seed festival), they were surrounded by hundreds of Police and Para-military forces. The armed forces resorted to indiscriminate firing, due to that killed 17 tribals (included with 6 minors) also many others injured seriously.
It remains one of the worst forms of torture perpetrated against women by the police. Number of custodial rapes of women has takes place at regular intervals. The NHRC recorded 39 cases of rape from judicial and police custody from 2006 to 28 February 2010.
This situation is reinstating the women officers' role in law and order troubled regions. As per the law women officers only have the right to deal with the women prisoners during their official duty hours for cross-examination.
Jail to community re-entry:
It shows innocents are being targeted by the authorities because of the political compulsions or a desire to keep people in fear and the resultant passivity. The prison statistics of the sub continental states reflect not only poverty of the people behind the bars but also their under-representation and demonization. Ultimate, correctional authorities fail in their mission to return the prisoners back to the community for the same reason.
Acquittals were by no means the end of their tragedy they returned from their experience to a different world: Businesses were destroyed, family members were broken having suffered the humiliation and trauma of being associated with "terrorists". Children had to abandon their studies and the normality of everyday life, while parents passed away in grief and despair. The prosecution had virtually no leg to stand on; hence the victim got drawn out long years. More over except a few national media, both print and electronic media are tampering the reality.
· Every state especially ethnic conflict region forms an integration body under the influential community representatives of all sections, including political, social or religious backgrounds.
· Ensure the refugee protections prescribed by the international set of laws and organism.
· To appoint a criminologist or victimologist in every crisis prone police stations to assist the station house officers.
· Government of India has to enact the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010 drafted by the Parliamentary Select Committee, without any dilution into a law.
· All the deterrent laws like UAPA, AFSPA which violate the basic Rights of the citizens has to be repealed.
· Officer's impunity should be accountable to the society and judiciary.
· Establish more Central Police Training institutions like Central Academy for Police Training (CAPT) at Bhopal to step up the training facilities for the Deputy Superintendent of Police, better competency to deal with common people and stay away from political compulsions.
· The under trials and illegal detainees should be repatriate with the help of NGO's and supported by the government of concerned state, to protects the victim's livelihood.
· Provide employment opportunities to the vulnerable sections in their concentrated districts and provinces.
"Human rights and police function is nothing but balancing between liberties of individual. We can anticipate that this conference will undoubtedly generate a significant initiative on victim's perception and follow up justice towards them"