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BHRPC URGENT APPEAL EVENT NO.

10/2009 dated 29 November, 2009

URGENT APPEAL Re

Encounter killings are exposed as murder in Assam, yet police refuse to investigate in
Assam, India

BHRPC URGENT APPEAL EVENT NO. 10/2009 dated 29 November, 2009

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) forwards this URGENT
APPEAL issued by The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) regarding cases
of extra-judicial killings, torture and high risk of impunity in Assam, India. Every person
believing in human rights and the rule of law are requested to take urgent actions.

Yours Sincerely
Waliullah Ahmed Laskar
Information Officer,
Barak Human Rights Protection Committee
Rongpur, Silchar-9, Cachar, Assam, India.
Email: bhrpc.net@gmail.com, wali.laskar@gmail.com
Mobile: +919401134314

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-163-2009

27 November 2009

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INDIA: Encounter killings are exposed as murder in Assam, yet police refuse to investigate

ISSUES: Extrajudicial execution; torture; impunity

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BHRPC URGENT APPEAL EVENT NO. 10/2009 dated 29 November, 2009

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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information about the extrajudicial
killing of two men by soldiers of the Kumaon Regiment, Assam. The men were reported to have
been killed in an encounter incident, but they were in custody and had left notes hidden in their
clothing that predicted their murder. The notes incriminate officers, a local lawyer and two
villagers, and point to a set up which involves corruption.

CASE DETAILS:

According to information we have received from the South
Asia Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR), a human rights
organisation working in India, Mr. Jainto Singh Gaur and Mr.
Rajesh Bando had first voluntarily gone to the Kumaon
Regiment army camp at Nathkuchi after meeting with a local
lawyer, Mr. Giridhar Choudhury on 26 November 2008. They
returned home after about 11 days accompanied by soldiers.

Their families report that they had been encouraged to visit the
lawyer by two villagers, Mr. Phulen Kalita and Mr. Nobojyoti
Das, who they believe are associated with a local underground
terror group, the Surrendered United Liberation Front of Asom
(SULFA: see more in Background Information, below).

Jainto was 28 years old, owned a small shop and was a student at the Sonapur Higher Secondary
School, where he was Vice-President of the All Adviasi Students' Association of Assam. Rajesh was 30
years old and owned a photocopying shop.

During their time at the army camp the men were not detained: Jainto had visited some of his friends
and his mother, Jashoda, his uncle Golap Singh and his aunt Lakheswari visited the two men there. The
men told their families that they had been offered a deal by Choudhury: if they allowed army officers to
falsely present them as surrendering cadres from the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), an
ideological terror group, they would be eligible for payment and employment as part of an amnesty
scheme by the state government. The two young men were told that they would receive telephone
orders to return to the camp, and they reportedly did so twice, between December 2008 and April 2009.

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BHRPC URGENT APPEAL EVENT NO. 10/2009 dated 29 November, 2009

At 7am on 12 April Jainto and Rajesh left home to go to the army camp in Tihu; they had received calls
asking them to do so the evening before. After that their phones remained switched off, so on 17 April
both of their families went to the camp to find them. Officers there denied knowing the men's
whereabouts and ordered the families to leave, and when they returned a few days later they were given
the same reply. On 28 April the families heard that two men had been killed during an ‘encounter’ in
Haribhanga Supa, and when Jainto's uncle went to the scene, he found out that the two killed were
Jainto and Rajesh.

Though villagers in Haribhanga Supa have told Jainto's uncle that they had only heard two gunshots,
the post-mortem examinations at Nalbari Civil Hospital revealed nine projectiles in Jainto's chest.
There are multiple compound fractures in the limbs of both men and ligature marks on their wrists as if
their hands had been tied from behind. Though an advanced stage of decomposition had set in, police
claimed that they had been killed that day. Because they were decomposing the family cremated the
bodies a day later.

When the victims' possessions were returned the families found several notes hidden in them, written
on small bits of papers, army canteen vouchers, a piece of toothpaste packaging, small bits of
newspaper and a torn-off shirt collar. The notes reported that they had been detained, lured into a trap,
and that they had heard that their murders were being planned. The notes accused Captain B.R. Singh,
Phulen Kalita, Nobojyoti Das and the lawyer Giridhar Choudhary of colluding in their murder.

The families filed a complaint at the Borbori Police Station, which was first accepted by the Officer-in-
Charge (OC). However after speaking with the District Superintendent of Police the officer said that
the case couldn't be filed. He gave them a false legal excuse: that a complaint had been filed by the
army against the dead men, so no other counter-complaint could be made.

The media reported the incident after the families organised a press conference. The army denied the
allegations and declared, contrary to their original report, that the two men were terrorists from the
ULFA 709 cadre. Amy officers in civilian clothing started to visit the families, asking them about the
hidden notes in an intimidating manner. Though the families were allegedly assured a thorough
investigation by Mr. G.P. Singh, a senior police official from Guwahati, on 15 May at Pathacharkuchi
Inspection Bungalow, no case was registered or investigation ordered in the incident.

Both families are preparing to approach the Guwahati High Court to request the direct intervention of
the court, since their route to redress has so far been blocked. Neither the police nor the army have
officially contacted the families to explain the two young men's deaths; they have received all of their
information through press statements and community news.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

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BHRPC URGENT APPEAL EVENT NO. 10/2009 dated 29 November, 2009

An enquiry commission was authorised in 2005 to investigate the many killings in Assam between
1998-2001.The report (tabled in the state legislature on 15 November 2007) reveals the active role
played by the then-Chief Minister, Mr. Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, the state police and SULFA, in
extrajudicial murders. SULFA is an illegal criminal group with alleged political influence, made up of
former ULFA cadres. The report criticised the widespread corruption taking place in and around a state
scheme for the rehabilitation of surrendering ULFA militants. It also accused political parties in the
state of using surrendering militants for short-term political gain.

This scheme is extremely vulnerable to abuse. Under it the state and the armed forces are allowed to
use varying tactics, including financial incentives and amnesty, to encourage the surrender of
insurgents. Officers involved are sometimes rewarded with promotions or salary incentives. This makes
it advantageous for officers to arrange for such surrenders, fake or otherwise. In this particular case
there is strong evidence that a money making racket has developed between army officers and civilians,
and that Jainto and Rajesh were murdered as a result. The lack of investigation into these cases and the
legal and social indifference to supposed 'encounter killings', makes it likely that such murders will
continue.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write to the authorities named below seeking an intervention in the case.

The AHRC is also writing to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions seeking an intervention in the case.

To support this appeal please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear _________,

INDIA: The extrajudicial execution of two men in army custody in Baksa district must be
investigated

Name of victims:
1. Mr. Jainto Singh Gaur, son of Profulla Singh; Tekelibhanga; under the jurisdiction of Palashankuchi
police station, Baksa district, Assam state.
2. Mr. Rajesh Bando, son of Chomnu Bando; Tekelibhanga; under the jurisdiction of police station,
Baksa district, Assam.

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BHRPC URGENT APPEAL EVENT NO. 10/2009 dated 29 November, 2009

Name of alleged perpetrators:
1. Mr. Phulen Kalita, Tekelibhanga; under the jurisdiction of Palashankuchi police station, Baksa
district, Assam.
2. Mr. Nobojyoti Das
3. Captain B.R.Singh, Kumaon Regiment, stationed at Tihu.
4. Mr. Giridhar Choudhury, Advocate, Pathsala, Baksa district, Assam

Date of incident: Between 26 November 2008 and 28 April 2009
Place of incident: Baksa district, Assam

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the extrajudicial execution of two men in Assam
earlier this year, and the lack of an investigation into it. I am informed that officers from the Kumaon
Regiment are suspected to be behind the murder, along with a local lawyer and two villagers.

According to the information I have received, the victims had visited the Nathkuchi and Tihu camp of
the Kumaon Regiment a number of times on the advice of a local lawyer, Mr. Giridhar Choudhury,
after they were introduced to him by persons 1 and 2 named above. The victims visited the camp at
least twice at the instruction of the army officers and had returned home both times. However I hear
that officers killed the victims on 28 April 2009, and have called it an encounter killing.

I am aware that at the time of autopsy, a day after the official date of the murder, the men's bodies were
in an advanced state of decomposition. People residing near the place where the bodies were found
have claimed that they had heard only two shots, yet the bodies had several projectiles lodged inside
them. The two men had also suffered multiple and compound fractures on limbs before their deaths,
with ligature marks on their wrists as if their hands had been tied from behind. This contradicts the
official report, and raises strong suspicions about the use of torture, and the time and place of death.

The families also discovered notes written by the victims' and hidden among their belongings in
detainment, which describe a trap involving a corrupt army captain and the local lawyer. The men had
originally told their families that they had been offered a deal that would reward them if they allowed
army officers to falsely present them as surrendering cadres from the United Liberation Front of Asom
(ULFA). Despite these incriminating circumstances being released in the media, police have refused to
register a case or start an investigation.

I am aware that the government as well as the army has claimed that the victims were killed in an
encounter on 28 April and that they were the members of the 709 Battalion of the ULFA, which is
unsubstantiated. Even if a person is a terrorist, there is no law in India that legalises extrajudicial
execution.

I am aware that the families are approaching the Guwahati High Court seeking a judicial intervention in
the case. In these circumstances, I request you to intervene to ensure that:

1. A crime is registered to investigate the murder of the two men;
2. The statement of witnesses, including the members of the victims' families is recorded;

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BHRPC URGENT APPEAL EVENT NO. 10/2009 dated 29 November, 2009

3. An impartial and prompt investigation is conducted;
4. The family members, if required, are provided with protection;
5. The findings of the investigation are made public;
6. The Assam Bar Council looks into allegations of the involvement of Advocate Giridhar Choudhury
and acts accordingly and that;
7. The families are paid an interim compensation pending the investigation of the case.

Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. A.K. Anthony
Defence Minister
South Block, New Delhi
INDIA
Fax: + 91 11 23015403
Email: cvo@nic.in

2. Mr. P Chidambaram
Union Minister of Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs, 104-107 North Block
New Delhi 110 001
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 23094221
Email: hm@nic.in

3. Justice K. G. Balakrishnan
Chief Justice of India
Tilak Marg, New Delhi 110 011
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 23381508
Email: supremecourt@nic.in

4. Lieutenant General Mr. Vijay Kumar Singh PVSM, AVSM, YSM
GOC-in-C, Eastern Command
Fort Williams
Kolkata, West Bengal
INDIA

5. Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission of India
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg

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BHRPC URGENT APPEAL EVENT NO. 10/2009 dated 29 November, 2009

New Delhi 110 001
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 23384863

6. Mr. Tarun Gogoi
Chief Minister of Assam
Assam Secretariat, Dispur
Guwahati-6, Assam
INDIA
Fax: +91 361 2262069

7. Chief Justice
Guwhati High Court
Assam
INDIA
FAX +91 361 2604122 or +91 362 2735863 (Registrar General)
E-mail:hc-asm@nic.in, hicourtg@rediffmail.com

8. Mr. P.C. Sharma
Chief Secretary
Assam Secretariat, Dispur
Guwahati-6, Assam
INDIA
Fax: +91 361 2260900
Email: psccy_it@assam.nic.in

9. Mr. Sankar Barua IPS
Director General of Police
Assam, Ulubari
Guwahati-7, Assam
INDIA

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme ,

Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

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