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Unlawful detention, torture are part of everyday life in India: AHRC
The central and state authorities have proven unable or unwilling to address the matter of land rights. Family property has been destroyed through erosion by the river, bankrupting entire families and communities who are now driven, through desperation, to illegal activities such as smuggling. The government has a duty to protect and provide for such victims of natural circumstance.

THE ASIAN Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reported that unlawful arrest and detention, torture, caste-based discrimination and a culture of impunity amongst law enforcement and paramilitary agencies are features of everyday life for many Indian people. Such incidents violate a human being's inherent and fundamental rights to life, liberty and security of person and are oppressive, patently unjust and contemptible.

In addition, it lamented that the central and state authorities have proven unable or unwilling to address the matter of land rights. Family property has been destroyed through erosion by the river, bankrupting entire families and communities who are now driven, through desperation, to illegal activities such as smuggling. The government has a duty to protect and provide for such victims of natural circumstance.

The authorities also possess the funds and an arsenal of legal mechanisms through which such problems may be addressed. It is therefore inexcusable that the state's inaction has forced Bharat, his family and the community into alleged lives of crime to simply survive. Less excusable still is the exploitation of position and power by paramilitary forces to inflict grievous hurt on an unarmed man with such impunity and disregard for rule of law.

AHRC referred to the concerning the torture of Mr Bharat Mondal by BSF personnel attached to Mourashi Camp of Chowski No. 2 under Outpost No. 2 of 105th Battalion of BSF on 30 December 2011. It said that according to the fact-finding conducted by MASUM, Mr Bharat Mondal was an agrarian labourer before losing his lands to erosion by the river.

This is a problem also faced by many of Bharat's neighbours, and like them, Bharat had no means of livelihood or income to support his family of six. Although Bharat has a job entitlement card under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 scheme, he did not get any work, and so had to allegedly resort to cross-border smuggling of cattle for income.

It is reported that around 8am on 30 December 2011, Bharat attempted to smuggle seven or eight head of cattle across the border when the Border Security Forces (BSF) jawans apprehended him. They roughly handled him, stripped him naked and assaulted him severely. The BSF hit him repeatedly with wooden sticks and rifle butts and also kicked him with boot clad feet. Bharat's left arm was broken as a result of the violent assault. Bharat bled profusely and lost consciousness, whereupon the BSF jawans left him to die.

When Bharat's wife, Ms Chintamoni Mondal, heard about the torture and critical condition of her husband, she rushed to the scene with a few neighbours and brought Bharat to Godhanpara Block Primary Health Centre for treatment. The doctor who attended to Bharat at GBPHC referred Bharat to the Domkal Sub-Divisional Hospital and Baharampur New General Hospital because of the severity of Bharat's condition. Bharat's family had him admitted into Baharampur NGH where the victim is currently undergoing medical treatment. Although his family desperately needs the income, Bharat's condition precludes the possibility of returning to work.

The BSF personnel subsequently warned Bharat's family and neighbours against registering a complaint at the police station or disclosing details of the incident to others. Yet, the aggrieved family somehow plucked up the courage to make a written report before the Superintendent of Police of Murshidabad on 23 March 2012 and forwarded a copy of that complaint to the Officer-in-Charge of Raninagar Police Station. Despite the effort to pursue the matter through established branches of the justice system, the police have to date not taken any action to investigate and prosecute the BSF jawans responsible for the senseless, unprovoked and violent attack on Bharat.

AHRC said that this highlights several systemic failures in the administration of Murshidabad in West Bengal. They include the lack of transparency, accountability and discipline in the operation of armed forces, which breeds impunity and disregard for the law and the pervasive, excessive, and oftentimes senseless, use of violence by provincial authorities against individuals within their jurisdiction.

It also stated the lack of enforcement and/or poor communication by India's central government and judiciary of basic protocol (for making arrests, interrogating, detaining and trying suspects) amongst law enforcement agencies and paramilitary forces such as the BSF and the lack of responsiveness of the police to aggrieved locals

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It is distressing to note that the Law enforcing authority viz., the police has been made subservient to the unscrupulous politicians, who are using them like licensed goondas to serve the vested interests. As observed by one of our late legal luminaries earlier " We have too many laws enacted every parliament and assembly sessions, while the simple traffic Laws are observed more in their breach". There appears to be no easily accessible mechanism for the really pitiable citizen from the onslaught of 'karma' for having been born in this otherwise great country for redressal and there appears to be no accountability by the police for all their misdeeds. The human rights commission is like a lame watch dog not within the reach of every one. There should be a H.R.C at every mandal or atleast at District level to reddress the grievances of the citizens. Added to this at times the election commission is another institution that passes a one lien "code" being brought into existence. For example it says that all the licensed weapons should be deposited with police during the election code period. Why should they be deposited especially during the election period, when there is apt to be the spurt in the crimes for obvious reasons. It is understandable if the rowdies and politicians, and the people connected with the election are asked to surrender them, but why there should be a blanket permission, when the common man who is no way connected with the election and with a a clean record be demanded to surrender. Like this if we have to narrate there are numerous instances. Yet we are all noble men. Where the land disputes are concerned the police should not get themselves involved, and they should be severely punished if they poke their bloody nose into it unless ordered to do so by the competent court. The surveyors never do their work unless their hands are greased and the problem starts there because of border disputes etc. The courts should also pass immediate relief and there should be some police at their beck and call readily available at the court to execute the orders. Who is bothered about all these things. Every body is interested in his own "welfare"
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