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PUCL Bulletin, September 2006

Treatment of Asma Jehangir shameful

Letter to editor

The treatment meted out by the Indian Police to the world renowned Human Rights Activist of Pakistan Ms Asma Jehangir and her fellow H R Activists, two of them (possibly retired) Judges from Pakistan and the other two former Nepal and Shri Lanka ,as soon as they checked into a hotel at New Delhi on 31st July 2006, was nothing but shameful. As soon as they checked into separate rooms in the Hotel, a posse of Delhi Police barged in their rooms and rummaged their baggage to search for objectionable objects.

They had visited India for 4 days only to participate in a discussion on violation of Human Rights in South East Asia. Asma asked them for a court's search warrant. The policemen replied they were under orders from Government to search any foreigner, as soon as he/she arrives in India, for the security of the ensuing Independence Day on l5th August. It appears that Hoteliers are directed to inform the police as soon as a foreigner checks in their hotel. Asma's immediate reaction was "one would not be surprised if such an incident takes place in Pakistan, but not in India which is an open society where Human Rights are largely respected". Our P M was graceful to tender an apology to Asma whom he knows personally. In fairness he should have also apologized to the other delegates.

This incident shows how wooden-headed is our police and bureaucracy. They do not know the status and credentials of different persons of the world. In any case the police should have discreetly inquired about their credentials, before taking such extreme measures against the foreign visitors to India. -- M A Rane, Mumbai, Aug 6, 2006

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014