West Bengal:

An urgent plea from a mother

Dear Dr. Chhibbar, My son has disappeared. It is a shame that he has disappeared from the police custody. Worse still, the personnel who engineered his disappearance are still employed as law keepers. The West Bengal Human Rights Commission is maintaining an eerie silence even after an inquiry. Taking this opportunity, the accused are busy threatening the eye witnesses with dire consequences.

The State Government is showing an unfathomable depth of indifference. It seems you can lose your son to police excesses in our country and the offender struts around Scot free. My son's father who died long back, was a freedom fighter who, I am sure, did not fight for freedom to-see his son disappear from police custody. Now I have no one to rely on except the few socially conscious citizens like you.

I firmly believe that raising public pressure is the last ditch effort to seek justice. I am sending you copies of some documents which are self explanatory. I personally request you to take some initiative in New Delhi on behalf of a mother who wants to fight to bring to book those who has caused the disappearance of her son. If you take up this issue with the constitutional, judicial and governmental heads in New Delhi, I still honestly believe that things will start happening in the right direction.

I am determined to meet the national press at any cost, and I am sure that I will find you by my side while in New Delhi. I sincerely hope that you will really do something. With lots of expectation, love and best wishes.

-- Sunila Muzumdar, Mother of the victim, widow, late Dwijendra Nath Mazumdar, Freedom Fighter. 22-4-2000. Address: 106. Nandan Nagar P.O. Nandan Nagar, Dist. North 24 Parganas, Pin- 700 083. West Bengal.

A brief summary of the case: In the golden jubilee year of independence while the entire nation was in a mood of celebration, a disturbing and shocking event look place in Banerjee Bagan in Akrampur, a sleepy village under Habra Police Station, District 24- Parganas (N) of West Bengal. The people of this locality witnessed a ghastly murder scene and were terribly horrified at the sight of atrocities and excesses committed by specially trained police force of 20 years of red (communist) rule. On September 3, at about 5 a.m. a police team in civilian clothes and without any identity batches started chasing an unarmed man named Suresh. Barui was reported to be a criminal and was wanted in some murder cases. Suresh was pleading for mercy, but the police team shot him from a 'point blank range'. Because of large number of bullet injuries Suresh died on the spot. After completion of the mission, the police arrested one Partha Mazumdar, aged 30 son of veteran freedom fighter late Dwijendra Nath Muzumdar and shot him in his leg in the presence of villagers and took him in the police jeep. It is known that Partha was subjected to third degree method of torture and was kept in police lock-up. After half an hour he was removed to Habra Hospital, obviously for treatment under the care of S.D.O.P, Barasat. thereafter, on the same day Partha was admitted to Barasat General Hospital under a fake name of Lakshman Giri, a home guard attached with S.D.P.O, Barasat. After that he has been untraceable from 7th September, 1997.

Partha's elder brother Shri Dipankar Mazumdar, a human rights defender and social activist, filed a Habeas Corpus writ petition in the Calcutta High Court against the police team of Habra Police Station. The disappearance of my son is a clear case of abduction and murder for the purpose of eliminating eye witnesses.

Partha's 70 years old mother, Smt. Sunila Mazumdar has the sought intervention of Chairman, NHRC, President of India, Home Minister, Prime Minister of India, Secretary General, Amnesty International, United actions, Common wealth and the High Commissioner for Human Rights (United Nation), President of the International Court of Justice (United Nations) Commonwealth Head of Government (CHOGH) and Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), to ascertain the whereabouts of her son. She suffers from mental breakdown. Recently she had to be hospitalised with acute respiratory distress. She has not heard anything even after thirty months. She is simply counting days for her son s return.

An impartial investigation was carried out by Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) on 21st September, 1997. According to its report Partha was an eye-witness to the murder by Habra Police team of Suresh Barui, a so-called criminal who had surrendered and begged for mercy. Partha was an outsider and there was no complaint against him in the Habra Police Station. A large local crowd also witnessed the incident. Police thought that the local people could be forced to be silent. They were threatened with dire consequences if they came forward with regard to the truth about police atrocities.

The police have filed an affidavit denying all allegations, stating that Partha is not wanted in any criminal case at Habra or Barasat and that they have not arrested him. An affidavit was filed before the High Court by the O/C of Habra police station. The affidavit claimed that an 'antisocial' Suresh Barui had died in an 'encounter'. But they denied the arrest of Partha.

On 24th October, 1997 during Puja vacation, Dipankar visited the locality to trace the whereabouts of his brother. He was taken into police custody in a surprise bid. It was a case of arrest and intimidation without formal arrest documents. He was forced to write a declaration on a blank paper that he had no grievance against police. The news of Dipankar's arrest reached Calcutta. At about 2. p.m. Shri Anaba Dutta, Secretary, Nagarik Manch, a social action group, Shri Sujata Bhadra, former secretary, Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), Sri Ajay Dutta, counsel in this case and a human rights activist (who appealed to Hon'ble justice Chittatosh Mookerjee for saving the life of Dipankar Majumdar), reached Habra P.S. in order to obtain Dipankar's release.

On 5th of January 1998, the matter was heard by Justice Satyabra Sinha and Justice Ronojit Mitra and a Division Bench of Calcutta High Court directed the Superintendent of Police, North 24 Parganas to file an affidavit on the 21st January, 1998. Mr. Ajay Datta, appearing for the petitioner asked for a free and fair enquiry. Mr. Dutta noted that senior I. P. S. Officer of the district had falsely stated that Partha was never arrested and that Lakshman Giri (and not Partha) was treated for his injury in a bomb-blast at the time of the encounter. He further argued that the general diary recorded after the fake encounter did not record Lakshman Gin's statement. Further the 0/C, Habra police station, in his affidavit before the court described alleged "injury of Lakshaman as a bul1et injury" (which is inconsistent with the police claim that Lakshman Giri was treated for injuries received in a "bomb-blast".) Mr. Ajay Dutta demanded that Police personnel including Superintendent of Police be prosecuted for committing the ghastly crime and for filing a false affidavit before the court.

Plain copy of the order of the a Calcutta High Court:
In re: Dipankar Mazumdar Petitioner.
Mr. D. B. Dutta, Mr. Ajoy Dutta for the petitioner.
Mr. S. C. Ukil, Ms. Chhabi Roy ... for the respondent.

The petitioner has filed this writ application for issuance of a writ of Habeas Corpus, inter alia, on the application. His brother Partha Mazumdar was arrested by the police on 5th September, 1997. The said Partha Mazumdar is said to have also suffered a bullet injury on his leg. An affidavit in opposition has been filed wherein it has been asserted that Partha Mazumdar Bapi had never been in police custody and one Lakshaman Giri who had suffered leg injury was admitted to the Hospital and had been discharged. The petitioner now contends that his brother Partha Mazumdar was arrested on 5.9.97 and was taken to Habra Hospital. He was treated for bullet injury on leg under the guise of one Lakshman Giri. The petitioner contends that his brother was admitted under false personification. It further appears from the record that the petitioner has approached the Chairman, State Human Rights Commission.

Keeping in view the fact that there exists a serious disputed question of fact and in view of the fact that the State Human Rights Commission has necessary infra-structure to investigate into the matter independently we are of the opinion that this matter may be referred to the said commission.

We would request the Chairman, State Human Rights, Commission to entertain the matter and cause investigation to be made in accordance with law and make their recommendation to the State Government.

The petitioner may produce before the Chairman, State Human Rights Commission the copy of the writ application. Affidavit-in-opposition, supplementary affidavit as also affidavit-in- reply.

This writ application is disposed of with the aforementioned. observations.

Let a plain copy of this order countersigned by the Assistant Registrar (court) be handed over to the learned counsel for the petitioner for communication. - (S. B. Sinha, Judge; Ranojit Kumar Mitra, Judge.)

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