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INDIA: Corrupt police officers aid murder suspects
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-186-2008
19 August 2008
INDIA: Corrupt police officers aid murder suspects
ISSUES: Police negligence; ill treatment; abduction; murder; corruption
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) about a murder case in Azamgarh district, Uttar Pradesh. Despite the Superintendent of Police conducting an investigation into the case from 8 August 2008, the police have not arrested the suspects. On the contrary, the police arrested the villagers protesting against police's inaction.
At about 5pm, on August 4, 2008, Mr. Ram Murat Tiwari, was returning home on his bicycle. On the way he was assaulted and abducted by Mr. Rajni Kant Yadav, Mr. Phul Badan, Mr. Vinod Maurya and Mr. Ram Palat. It is reported that there is a personal dispute between Ram Murat and Rajni Kant, which is suspected to be the reason for the assault and abduction.
The following day, Mr. Prem Narayan Tiwari, son of Ram Murat came to know about his father's abduction. Narayan immediately went to the Tahabarpur Police Station to lodge a complaint. The police refused to register the complaint. When Narayan insisted the registration of the complaint, police officer Mr. Jalil Ahamed threatened Narayan that if he insisted the police would charge a false case against Narayan.
Narayan, on his way home from the police station learned that his father is kept in a brick kiln owned by Rajni Kant. The brick kiln is located in Shekwaliya village under the jurisdiction of Nizamabad Police Station in Azmatgarh district. Coming to know about this Narayan along with other villagers went to the Tahabarpur Police Station to lodge a complaint against the above named four accused who are suspected to be involved in abducting and assaulting his father. The First Information Report (FIR No. 279/08) was registered under the Section 364 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 (IPC). When Ram Murat was later found to be dead, the FIR was amended to include Sections 302 and 201 of IPC.
It is reported that the police officer who heard Narayan's complaint while registering the FIR did not include everything that Narayan had informed the officer and has also included certain aspects that Narayan now claims as being incorrect. Later on the same day the villagers found one of the suspects, Phul Badan, and they handed him over to Tahabarpur police. However it is alleged that when Phul Badan was handed over to the police, the police officers, Mr. Phul Chand in particular, was Phul Badan with great respect. The villagers say that this attitude of the police officer is highly suspicious.
Meanwhile it is also reported that a police constable attached to Shekwaliya Police Station, Mr. Mahendra Yadav, heard Ram Murat's cries from the brick kiln on August 5. He immediately went to the brick kiln to investigate. But inside the brick kiln Yadav was threatened by four suspects at gun point. Yadav immediately went to Tahabarpur Police Station to inform about the incident. It is reported that officer Jalil Ahamed did not take any action even at that point.
On August 6, more than one hundred villagers went to Tahabarpur Police Station to make a complaint. It is reported that the villagers were agitated against the inaction of the police that led to Ram Murat's death. The police assaulted the villagers. The police arrested Mr. Durgesh Sonkar, Mr. Satish Rai and Mr. Harish Chandra Yadav from the group. They are still in custody. An FIR is registered against these three villagers under the IPC Section 147, 148, 341, 186, 504, 506, 453 and 336.
It is also reported that on the same day, the Superintendent of Police Mr. Vijay Garg interrogated Phul Badan at the Tahabarpur Police Station. It is reported that Phul Badan admitted to the officer that Ram Murat was murdered by four suspects. On the basis of this information officers from Tahabarpur Police Station searched for Ram Murat. His body was found near the bridge upon the Tamsa River.
On August 7, the Circle Police Officer and the Station House Officer Mr. Ahiraula from Budhanpur visited the victim's son Narayan and took a signature from him by force. The paper Narayan signed says that Narayan is satisfied with the investigation of Tahabarpur police in the case. After this, the police have neither arrested the suspects nor taken any other action on this case while at the same time three villagers who peacefully protested against the suspects and the inaction of the police remain custody since August 6.
OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION:
The facts of this case depict the nature of policing in India. It is often reported from India that police officers fail to carry out their duty independently and professionally. In cases where the local people protest against the police inaction, the police threaten and intimidate the protesters and also as reported in this case fabricate charges against the protesters.
Police officers often accept bribes and either refuse to take actions against criminals or even if they are forced to take actions against criminals the police try to cover-up the case or poorly investigate the case so that the accused who already had bribed the officers escape punishment.
It is common knowledge in India that police officers consider a crime as yet another opportunity to demand bribe. In this case also the officers might have accepted bribes from the suspects in the case, which could be a probable reason why the suspects are yet to be arrested in this case.
It is also noteworthy to mention here that the police officers have in fact misused their authority, not only to obtain a signature from the victim's son, but also further to register fabricated cases against those who protested against police inaction. As of now, there is no independent mechanism in India that could be approached and expected to independently investigate into the allegations against the police officers and if required to take action against the officers who registered false cases against protesting villagers. There are also no procedures in law in India through which a police officer who fabricates a charge against an innocent person could be punished or at least disciplined.
The only possibility is for the victims to complain to a high-ranking officer, most often the immediate superior officer. In this case that would be the Superintendent of Police in the district. However it cannot be expected that this officer would take any action on his own against his subordinate officers.
This is the state of affairs in a case where a large section of the villagers have protested against the suspects and the inaction of the police in promptly investigating the case. In such a background in cases involving poor and particularly victims from the lower caste are involved there is not possible remedy for the victims even to raise their voice against corrupt police officers in India. Such possibilities available in India, due to the shoddy nature of policing, result in the poor state of rule of law in India. These opportunities are exploited often by the rich and corrupt politicians in India.
The state police force in Uttar Pradesh was formed in 1861, the same year the Indian Police Act was enacted by the British. According to the Uttar Pradesh Police Deportment it is the largest police force in the world working under a single command. The total force strength is about 170,000 stationed in 71 police districts in Uttar Pradesh.
Such large a police force required to maintain rule of law in one of the largest state in India, Uttar Pradesh, is completely left free without any tangible legislative framework to discipline them or to take actions against erring officers. The only law as of now that could be pressed in use against these officers in a circumstance that warrants such an action as reported from the facts of this case is the Indian Police Act, which also dates back to the year in which this police force was established. This law, thought was recommended to be scrapped by jurists, government sponsored commissions and local and international human rights groups, is still pressed to use in India.
The law also does not meet any standards required under the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations [34/169 - 1979]. This is pretty much the state of affairs of policing in India. Not many states have appropriate police laws and even those laws enacted by the state, these legislations are namesake legislations living the state subject of police completely at the privilege of the state government and the politicians who control it.
Such state of affairs has earned the Uttar Pradesh state police the reputation that it deserves. This police force has been time and again criticised for being corrupt to the core, extremely inefficient and for all practical purposes a burden and more of a threat to the ordinary people. This opinion is shared even by eminent jurists in India. For example Justice A. N. Mulla once opined that "the police force in Uttar Pradesh is an organised gang of criminals". Justice Mulla was also the Chairperson of the All India Committee of Jail Reforms.
Please write to the authorities listed below calling for a proper investigation in this case. The suspects must be immediately arrested and brought to trial.
Please be informed that the AHRC has written separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture calling for intervention in this case.
To support this appeal, please click here:
INDIA: The murder of Mr. Ram Murat must be investigated
Name of victims:
1. Mr. Ram Murat (the murdered), a resident of Khutawli village, Tahabarpur Block, Azamgarh district, Uttar Pradesh
2. Mr. Prem Narayan, son of victim 1 above
3. Mr. Durgesh Sonkar, a resident of Rani Ki Sarai village, Rani Ki Sarai Block, Azamgarh district
4. Mr. Satish Rai, a resident of Khutawli village, Tahabarpur Block, Azamgarh district
5. Mr. Harish Chandra Yadav, a resident of Khutawli village, Tahabarpur Block, Azamgarh district
(victim 3, 4 and 5 were beaten and arrested)
Name of alleged perpetrators:
1. Mr. Rajni Kant Yadav, a resident of Sherpur village, Nizamabad Tehsil, Azamgarh district
2. Mr. Phul Badan, a resident of Sherpur village, Nizamabad Tehsil, Azamgarh district
3. Mr. Vinod Maurya, a resident of Sherpur village, Nizamabad Tehsil, Azamgarh district
4. Mr. Ram Palat, a resident of Sri Rampur village, Nizamabad Tehsil, Azamgarh district
5. Mr. Jalil Ahamed, a police officer attached to the Tahabarpur police station
Date of incident: 4 August 2008
Place of incident: Khutawli village, Tahabarpur Block, Azamgarh district, Uttar Pradesh
I am writing to express my concern regarding the police negligence that led to the murder of a person in Azamgarh district, Uttar Pradesh.
I am informed that at about 5 pm, on 4 August 2008, Mr. Ram Murat Tiwari while riding his bicycle on his way home was abducted by Mr. Rajni Kant Yadav, Mr. Phul Badan, Mr. Vinod Maurya and Mr. Ram Palat. It is reported that Ram Murat was found in dead on 6 August 2008.
I am concerned to learn that the local police had continuously neglected their duty in various ways until the victim was murdered and his body recovered. On the contrary, there are allegations that the local police did all they could to prevent the incident, arrest the suspects and investigate the case. This open defiance and breach of law and responsibility, I am informed, has led to the local people protesting against the incident that resulted in three of the innocent villagers being charged with a fabricated case and detained in custody since 6 August.
I am informed that on 5 August, the victim's son, Mr. Prem Narayan, who reported at the Tahabarpur Police Station to lodge a complaint against his father's disappearance was threatened by the police officers, particularly by officer Mr. Jalil Ahamed, and was sent off without his complaint getting registered. Later on the same day the officers were forced to take into custody one of the suspects, which the villagers had in fact apprehended and handed over to the police.
Even after the suspect in custody divulging required information revealing the place where the deceased victim was held, the police officers did nothing. Later, when the villagers came to know about the victim's death, the police instead of taking necessary action to apprehend the suspects and investigate the case, arrested three of the protesting villagers and charged them with fabricated charges.
In addition to the victim's son a local police constable who also witnessed that the victim was detained in a brick kiln reported the matter to the police station. But the police refused to take any action.
It is reported that Prem Narayan succeeded to file a complaint finally (First Information Report No. 279/08) against Mr. Rajni Kant Yadav, Mr. Phul Badan, Mr. Vinod Maurya and Mr. Ram Palat at Tahabarpur police station, with the help of other villagers. At the time of filing the complaint Narayan informed the police that his father is kept in brick kiln in Shekwaliya village whose owner is Rajni Kant Yadav. However, the police did not attempt to rescue the victim.
Later the victim's dead body was found at near a bridge on the Tamsa River.
I am informed that even after this incident the Circle Officer of Police and the Station House Officer Mr. Ahiraula from Budhanpur police obtained a signature from the victim's son by force. It is reported that the document forced to be signed by the victim's son states that he is satisfied about the police investigation.
The police have neither arrested the suspects nor taken any action to investigate this case.
I therefore, urge you to intervene to immediately arrest the four accused persons involved in this case, investigate the case and bring these persons to custody. I further request you to conduct an impartial investigation into the allegations against the police officers involved in this case and to take appropriate actions against the officers if they are found to be engaged in willfully breaching their duty and responsibility. The victim's family must be provided immediate protection from the culprits and the officers who have reportedly helped the culprits so far. The three villagers named above who are currently detained in custody after being charged with fabricated offences must also be immediately released and the case against them dropped.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Director General of Police
1-Tilak Marg, Lucknow
Fax: + 91 522 220 6120 / 220 6174
2. Ms. Mayawathi
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
Chief Minister's Secretariat
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
Fax: + 91 52 2223 0002 / 2223 9234
3. Secretary to the Government
Uttar Pradesh State Government
5th Floor – Lal Bahadur Sastri Bhavan
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
4. Additional Director General of Police (ADG) Human Rights Division
1Tilak Marg Lucknow
5. Deputy Inspector General of Police
1Tilak Marg Lucknow
Fax: + 91 522 220 6120 / 220 6174
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Posted on 2008-08-19
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