India: Police harassment and intimidation against Mr. Sanjit Mondal

26/06/2017
Urgent Appeal

IND 002 / 0617 / OBS 069
Harassment
India
June 26, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in India.

Brief description of the information:

The Observatory has been informed by Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) [1] about acts of police harassment and intimidation against Mr. Sanjit Mondal, MASUM District Human Rights Monitor in Murshidabad District.

According to the information received, on June 15, 2017, around midnight, police personnel from Raninagar police station arrived at Mr. Sanjit Mondal’s house, where he lives with his parents, elder brother, spouse, and children. They surrounded his home with two police cars and two motorcycles. The police entered the bedroom of Mr. Mondal and his brother, where the latter was sleeping, and asked for Mr. Mondal. However, Mr. Mondal had managed to escape the house before their arrival. At no point did the police explain the reason for their intrusion nor provide an arrest warrant [2].

On June 15, 2017, Mr. Mondal submitted a written complaint to the Superintendent of Police of Murshidabad District alleging police harassment. In the afternoon, MASUM contacted the Superintendent, who asked MASUM to send all the information related to the alleged intimidation. Since then, MASUM has received no response to Mr. Mondal’s complaint.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the police harassment of Mr. Sanjit Mondal, which seems to be only aimed at punishing him for documenting and denouncing human rights violations committed by security forces in Murshidabad District. The Observatory fears that Mr. Mondal may be arrested at any time on false allegations.

In particular, the Observatory believes that Mr. Sanjit Mondal’s harassment is linked to MASUM’s work in documenting and denouncing Murshidabad District police’s complicity along with the Border Security Forces (BSF) in cross border smuggling and trafficking activities.

The Observatory further recalls that several members of MASUM have already faced reprisals in the past for documenting and denouncing grave human rights violations allegedly involving members of the police forces and BSF [3]
.

The Observatory calls upon the Indian authorities to put an end to all attempts to intimidate and criminalise Mr. Sanjit Mondal and all MASUM members and to guarantee their physical and psychological integrity, and to put an end to all forms of harassment against them and all human rights defenders in India.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in India, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Sanjit Mondal and all the members of MASUM, as well as of all human rights defenders in India;

ii. Put an end to any kind of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Sanjit Monda and all the members of MASUM, as well as against all human rights defenders in India, and ensure that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

iii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Articles 1 and 12.2;

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by India.

Addresses:

· Mr. Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi, Prime Minister of India, Fax: + 91 11 2301 6857. E-mail: pmosb@pmo.nic.in / manmo@sansad.in
· Mr. Raj Nath Singh, Union Minister of Home Affairs of India, Fax: +91 11 2309 2979. Email: dirfcra-mha@gov.in
· Mr. Rajiv Mehrishi, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Email: hshso@nic.in
· Justice Jagdish Singh Kehar, Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court, of India, Fax: +91 11 233 83792, Email: supremecourt@nic.in
· Justice Shri H.L. Dattu, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India, Fax +91 11 2465 1329. Email: chairnhrc@nic.in
· Mr. Srinivasa Kammath, Focal Point on Human Rights Defenders, National Human Rights Commission, of India, Email: hrd-nhrc@nic.in
· H.E. Mr. Rajiv Kumar Chander, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 906 86 96, Email: mission.india@ties.itu.int
· Embassy of India in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 6489638 / +32 2 6451869

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of India in your respective country.

***
Geneva-Paris, June 26, 2017

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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