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Posted Online on Friday, 5 June 2009 20:25 IST

Subscribe to the PRINT edition NOW: Get the COMPLETE picture

Muslim Islamic NewsHuman Rights Defender Assaulted for Pursuing a Case in North East India

The Milli Gazette

5 June 2009

Appeal for Urgent Action by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee

PRESS RELEASE

BARAK HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION COMMITTEE (BHRPC), a human rights organisation working in Assam, India, requests your urgent actions in the following situation in North East India.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SITUATION: BHRPC has received information from reliable sources that Ms. Hasina Kharbhih, a human rights defender working against human trafficking in North East India was assaulted and threatened on May 28th 2009. BHRPC has been informed that Kharbhih, while on her way to the court for the hearing of a case, was stopped, threatened and manhandled by Ms. Bethswa Dympep, the accused in threatening case. Kharbhih was injured in the incident and had to be taken to the local
hospital for treatment. It is also reported that the perpetrators are receiving clandestine support from the police.

According to the victim and other local human rights defenders, Hasina Kharbhih is a human rights defender leading the Impulse NGO Network <http://www.impulseasia.org/>, a local human rights organisation based in Shillong,   Meghalaya.

 

According to the same sources, on May 28, Kharbhih and her colleague were on their way to the District Council Court to accompany her Lawyer to show cause her case concerning a case involving threats to Kharbhih. Since there was a traffic block, Kharbhih had to get out from their vehicle and walk towards the court. Not far from the court compound, the accused in the case, Ms. Bethswa Dympep along with a male, stopped her and started threatening her and her colleague,claiming that if they continued with the case, Kharbhih would face terrible consequences, including the closure of the Impulse NGO Network. When Kharbhih replied that such matters were for the court to decide, Dympep assaulted her. Dympep was accompanied by her mother who also shouted abuse.


The victim immediately went to the Lumbiengri Police Station to report the matter. A First Information Report (FIR) was registered and since she was injured, the police asked Kharbhih to seek medical treatment, which she did. Three police officers searched the court
compound for Dympep, but finding she was inside the court, did not arrest her. The officers later told Kharbhih and her lawyer that Dympep had escaped from their view.


Later Kharbhih was contacted by a press personnel in Shillong telling her that Dympep has called a press conference at the Shillong Press Club. In the press meeting Dympep reportedly accused Kharbhih of assaulting her, while claiming that she is being backed by a business group in the country and that she will ensure the closure of the Impulse NGO Network soon.


The BHRPC and several other civil society organisations inside and outside of India are worried for Kharbhih, and have been calling on the state administration of Meghalaya, particularly the state police, to ensure her protection--and that of others involved in the case.


From the start of the case Kharbhih and her colleagues have been receiving life threatening telephone calls, demanding their legal withdrawal and that they stop investigating all cases involving Dympep. In the Press conference, Dympep had declared that she is the personnel stewardress at the  bungalow  of the Private airline company in India chaired by Mr. Vijay Mallya. While the factual basis of claims by Dympep are yet to be verified, it is a known fact that Kharbhih continues to receive threats, and that the local police have thus far refused to take any appropriate action against the assailant. A few days before the assault, Kharbhih’s website was hacked into and the contents destroyed.


Dympep's act of assaulting and threatening Kharbhih and her colleague is also a direct violation of her bail conditions. The BHRPC wonders why the District Council Court has not simply recalled Dympep's bail order and had her taken into judicial custody. In spite of repeated requests the local police have also refused to take any affirmative
action on Kharbhih s behalf.

 

 

ACTIONS REQUESTED: Please write to the authorities in India urging them

To take all necessary actions to guarantee the physical safety and mental integrity of Kharbih, her colleagues and their family members,

and to conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into the accusations against Dympep and charge her and her accomplices accordingly.

Or you may forward the following letter adjusting the salutation part to the addresses given bellow:

 

To

            ******************************,

           ******************************,

           ******************************

 

Subject: Urgent Appeal Regarding Threat to Life to Human Rights Defender in Meghalaya.

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to express my concern about the threat to the life and security of Ms. Hasina Kharbhih, a noted human rights defender working against human trafficking. I am informed that Kharbhih has been contesting a criminal case against Ms. Bethswa Dympep at the
local courts in Shillong and that since the beginning of the case Dympep has been threatening Kharbhih and her colleagues with personal harm and the closure of her office, demanding the withdrawal of the case from the court. However the police have not taken any action
upon the complaint and have allowed Dympep to continue with her threats in private, and in the public eye.


I am informed that on May 28 in particular, Kharbhih was verbally abused and assaulted by Dympep in front of the local court, and has filed a complaint at the Lumbiengri Police Station. The police failed to arrest Dympep on the excuse that they could not locate her, yet I
am informed that after the incident the assailant had convened a press conference at the local press club, a public event which the local police were aware of.


The lack of police action suggests that Dympep is using her influence to prevent the due process of law from taking its own course. In these circumstances, I request that you immediately take swift assertive action to ensure that Kharbhih remains safe throughout this trial and after, and that an investigation is ordered into the entire incident.
I also request that if required, Dympep be taken into custody on the basis of the complaint filed by Kharbhih against her at Lumbiengri Police Station. Human rights defenders carry out a valuable and necessary service, often at the expense of their lives. Any
government should give their safety utmost priority.


Yours sincerely,

 

Your Signature

 

Your Address

 

 

Addresses to be sent to:

1. Governor of Meghalaya

Government of Meghalaya

Main Secretariat Building

Shillong   793001, Meghalaya

INDIA

E-mail:
hector.marwein@nic.in (for Secretary to Governor)

2. Chief Secretary

Government of Meghalaya

Main Secretariat Building

Shillong   793001, Meghalaya

INDIA

Fax: +91 364 2225978

E-mail:
ranjanchatterjee@hotmail.com

3. Home Minister

Ministry of Home Affairs

Government of India, North Block

Central Secretariat, New Delhi - 110 001

INDIA

Fax: +91 11 23093289

4. Chief Executive Officer

National Human Rights Commission

Faridkot House,Copernicus Marg,

New Delhi-110001

INDIA

E-mail:
sgnhrc@nic.in

5. Director General of Police

Shillong, Meghalaya

INDIA

Fax: + 91 364 2220839

6. Minister, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Sardar Patel Bhawan

Sansad Marg, New Delhi - 110 001

INDIA

Fax: + 91 11 23742133

E-mail:
ddpg2-arpg@nic.in

7. Chairperson

National Commission for Scheduled Caste

5th Floor, Lok Nayak Bhavan

Khan Market, New Delhi 110003

INDIA

Fax: + 91 11 24625378

E-mail:
jointsecretary-ncsc@nic.in

 

Recd from:

W A Laskar
Freelance Reporter and Human Rights Activist
with Barak Human Rights Protection Committee,
http://bhrpc.net.googlepages.com
15, Panjabari Road, Darandha, Six Mile,
Guwahati-781037, Assam, India
Cell: +919401134314
wali.laskar@gmail.com


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