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Forwarded Urgent Appeal issued by AHRC Re INDIA-- A Human Rights

Defender Tortured and Electrocuted in Manipur

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) is pleased to forward the following
Urgent Appeal issued by Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) regarding an incident of
severe torture of a human rights defender by the police in Imphal, Manipur, India. It is
reported that the police arrested and tortured the victim, Oinam Bikramjit, in custody. The
victim fears that he will be re-arrested and tortured if he takes any actions against the police
officers.

AHRC states “Oinam Bikramjit is a human rights activist in Manipur. He is an active


campaigner in the state-wide movement calling for the withdrawal of the draconian laws
like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 from the state. He has also been vocal
against the extrajudicial executions carried out by the security forces in Manipur. He is
the General Secretary of the United People Front of Manipur. He is part of the Apunba
Lup, an umbrella body of different organisations in Manipur. It is believed that
Bikramjit's arrest was a kneejerk reaction by the state government against the mass
protest organised by Apunba Lup and other human rights organisations against the 23
July killings in Manipur.”

You are urged to send appeals to the concerned authorities and disseminate it widely.

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar


Information Division, BHRPC
Rongpur Part Part-IV, Silchar-9,
Assam, India
Email: bhrpc.net@gmail.com
Wali.laskar@gmail.com

Guwahati, 2 March, 2010

INDIA: A human rights defender tortured and electrocuted in Manipur

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-017-2010

1 March 2010

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Forwarded Urgent Appeal issued by AHRC Re INDIA-- A Human Rights
Defender Tortured and Electrocuted in Manipur
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INDIA: A human rights defender tortured and electrocuted in Manipur

ISSUES: Torture; human rights defender, arbitrary detention, draconian laws

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PLEASE SIGN ONLINE PETITION:

Impunity must end in Manipur

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information about
the case of a human rights defender tortured by the police in Imphal, Manipur
state. It is reported that the police arrested and tortured the victim, Oinam
Bikramjit, in custody. The victim fears that he will be re-arrested and tortured if
he takes any actions against the police officers.

CASE DETAILS:

According to the information received by the AHRC, the Manipur State Police Commando
Unit arrested Mr. Oinam Bikramjit on September 1, 2009, along with three other human
rights defenders namely: Ms. Mutum Ibemhal, Ms. Mayanglambam Radhesana and Ms.
Oinam Amuthoi.

At about 5pm on that day, police officers surrounded the house of Mrs. Ibemhal, in
Imphal West District. Ibemhal along with Bikramjit, Radhesana and Amuthoi were having
tea. The officers searched the house but found nothing incriminating. Soon, a team of
women police officers arrived and arrested Ibemhal, Bikramjit, Radhesana and Amuthoi.
It is reported that the police violated all legal procedures regarding arrest of persons.

The police produced the four detainees at the Imphal Chief Judicial Magistrate court, on
the next day. The Court released Radhesana and Amuthoi on bail but remanded
Bikramjit and Ibemhal into custody. The Court allowed the police to keep Bikramjit and
Ibemhal in police custody instead of judicial custody till 4 September. On 4 September
the police produced Bikramjit and Ibemhal again in court, and the court remanded them
into judicial custody till 17 September.

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Forwarded Urgent Appeal issued by AHRC Re INDIA-- A Human Rights
Defender Tortured and Electrocuted in Manipur
At this point the officers from Nambol Police Station approached the court with a prayer
to allow them to arrest Bikramjit in connection with a case concerning the burning of
Nambol Sub Divisional Office that happened on August 20, 2009. The court ordered to
produce Bikramjit before the court and allowed the Nambol police to record their arrest
of Bikramjit. Then they produced Brikamjit in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in

Bishnupur with a prayer for police remand. The Court allowed the application and
remanded Bikramjit into police custody till September 7, 2009.

In the meanwhile, the District Magistrate, Imphal West District issued an order on
September 5, 2009 to detain Bikramjit under the National Security Act, 1980 (NSA). The
NSA allows preventive detention of a citizen for prolonged periods with limited
possibilities of bail. Bikramjit was not brought before the Bishnupur court on 7
September.

According to our information, the police tortured Bikramjit in custody. Bikramjit along
with others were released from custody on January 7, 2010. But he is suffering from
physical as well as mental trauma from the severe torture inflicted upon him while in
custody. It is reported that the police resorted to brutal forms of torture upon Bikramjit,
including electrocuting him. Bikramjit is afraid that the police will detain him again if he
initiated any action against the officers. He requires immediate expert medical assistance
and counseling for trauma.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Oinam Bikramjit is a human rights activist in Manipur. He is an active campaigner in the


state-wide movement calling for the withdrawal of the draconian laws like the Armed
Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 from the state. He has also been vocal against the
extrajudicial executions carried out by the security forces in Manipur. He is the General
Secretary of the United People Front of Manipur. He is part of the Apunba Lup, an
umbrella body of different organisations in Manipur. It is believed that Bikramjit's arrest
was a kneejerk reaction by the state government against the mass protest organised by
Apunba Lup and other human rights organisations against the 23 July killings in Manipur.
For further reading about the 23 July murder, please see AHRC-UAC-098-2009;
AHRC-UAC-122-2009 and The state of the republic is showcased in Manipur.

The NSA allows detention of persons considered as security risk anywhere in India.
Under its provisions, the authorities could detain a suspect without charge or trial for a
period up to one year. The state government must confirm the detention order, which is
reviewed by an advisory board within seven weeks of the arrest. The process however is
non-transparent. The NSA limits the power of the lower courts like the magistrate courts

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Forwarded Urgent Appeal issued by AHRC Re INDIA-- A Human Rights
Defender Tortured and Electrocuted in Manipur
to review detention orders and thus deprive the persons detained under this law from
obtaining any immediate legal redress. Declaration of a state of emergency is no
precondition to charge a person under the NSA. For these reasons the NSA has been
misused by authorities in India. In particular, the NSA is used against human rights and
other political activists to silence opposition.

In February 2009, the UN Working Group on arbitrary detention released a joint study
along with other Special Rapporteurs on the practice of arbitrary detention in countering
terrorism. It stated that 'arbitrary detentions and disappearances have been a long-

standing concern in India, particularly in the states in which the Armed Forces Special
Powers Act, 1958 applies'. During the 2008 Universal Periodic Review of India, the
Human Rights Council also remarked that the continuing reliance on special powers
under legislations such as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 the Public Safety
Act, 1978 and the National Security Act, 1980 in areas declared to be disturbed is cause
for serious human rights violations.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write to the authorities named below demanding an investigation into the case of
torture. The circumstances under which Bikramjit was arrested must be investigated and
if the investigation reveals breach of law, the concerned officers must be punished.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the Rapporteur on the situation of human rights
defenders calling for his intervention in this case.

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PLEASE SIGN ONLINE PETITION:

Impunity must end in Manipur

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To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear …………….,

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Forwarded Urgent Appeal issued by AHRC Re INDIA-- A Human Rights
Defender Tortured and Electrocuted in Manipur
INDIA: The case of torture of Oinam Bikramjit must be investigated

Name of the victim: Oinam Bikramjit, 34, General Secretary of United People's Front,
resident of Oinam Mamang Leikai, Bishunupur District, Manipur, India

Date of incident: September 1, 2009

I am writing to express my concern regarding the case of Mr. Oinam Bikramjit who was
arrested and reportedly tortured in custody in Manipur.

According to the information I have received, the Manipur State Police Commando Unit
arrested Bikramjit from the house of Ms. Mutum Ibemhal on September 1, 2009. The
police have reportedly arrested Bikramjit along with three other persons, Ms.

Mayanglambam Radhesana, Ms. Oinam Amuthoi and Ms. Mutum Ibemhal. I am informed
that at the time of arrest, the police officers failed to follow the procedures stipulated in
the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

I am aware that the police released Bikramjit from custody on 7 January. I am however
concerned to know that the police tortured him in custody and even electrocuted him. I
am informed that he is afraid to speak about the incident due to fear for re-arrest, even
though he is outside the police custody. I am also informed that Bikramjit requires
immediate medical care and trauma counseling to recover from the mental and physical
trauma he has suffered at the hands of the police.

I am aware that torture is not permitted under Indian law. I am however concerned to
know that torture is widely practiced in India. I suspect that the lack of appropriate
investigations and prosecutions of officers is one of the reasons for the widespread use
of torture in the country.

I am further informed that draconian laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act,
1958 and the National Security Act, 1980 are misused by the police as well as other
state agencies in India.

I therefore urge you to review the implementation of these laws in India. I am aware
that entities like the United Nations and its several mandate holders like, the UN Working
Group on arbitrary detention have urged the government of India to review the
operation of these laws. I am also informed that a similar opinion was made by the
Human Rights Council during India's Universal Periodic Review and that the same
opinion is shared by India's National Human Rights Commission.

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Forwarded Urgent Appeal issued by AHRC Re INDIA-- A Human Rights
Defender Tortured and Electrocuted in Manipur
I therefore urge you to ensure that:

1. The statement of the victim is recorded;

2. The victim is provided immediate security and medical treatment;

3. A judicial inquiry is held into the entire incident and the records of the inquiry
transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation, investigating the July 23 murder;

4. If the judicial inquiry reveals a crime committed by the police officers against the
victim, that the officers are immediately prosecuted in a separate trial;

5. The officers accused in the case of having tortured the victim are immediately placed
under suspension and removed from active duty;

6. To review the operation of draconian laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act,
1958 and the National Security Act, 1980 are reviewed.

Yours faithfully,

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Pratibha Patil Devi,


President
Office of the President
Rashtrapati Bhawan,
New Delhi 110004
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 23017290
E-mail: presidentofindia@rb.nic.in

2. Dr. P. Chidambaram
Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs
Griha Mantralaya Room
No. 104, North Block Central Secretariat
New Delhi 110001
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 2301 5750, 2309 3750, 2309 2763
E-mail: hm@nic.in

3. Mr. Okram Ibobi


Chief Minister & Home Minister of Manipur,

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Forwarded Urgent Appeal issued by AHRC Re INDIA-- A Human Rights
Defender Tortured and Electrocuted in Manipur
Chief Minister's Secretariat, Babupara
Imphal 795001, Manipur
INDIA
Fax: + 91 385 2221817
Email: cmmani@man.nic.in

4. Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission of India
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
New Delhi-110001
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 23340016
E-mail: chairnhrc@nic.in

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme


Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

Posted on 2010-03-01

The AHRC link to the document: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2010/3379/