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Political Prisoner brutally beaten up in Maharashtra – Case of JNU Student Hem Mishra

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Hem Mishra brutally beaten on Nagpur Central Prison premises by Nagpur Police.

Hem Mishra, Maroti Kurvatkar, and G Naga Saibaba demand strict action against guilty police personnel.
(Below is the English Translation of a Press Note issued in Marathi by Hem Mishra, Maroti Kurvatkar and G.N. Saibaba)
PRESS NOTE
POLICE BEAT UP PRISONER ON PRISON PREMISES
THE CASE OF POLITICAL PRISONER, JNU STUDENT, HEM MISHRA
The Nagpur police abused and beat up Hem Keshavdutt Mishra, student of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University and Political Prisoner presently lodged in Nagpur Central Prison over the issue of applying handcuffs. They attacked him cruelly and injured him.
This illegal and inhuman act of the police occurred just outside the prison gate within the prison premises on 20-03-2015 at around 10-00 a.m. when Hem Mishra was being taken for medical treatment to the Government Medical Hospital.
The Supreme Court has long ago ordered that handcuffs should not be applied and ropes should not be tied to prisoners being taken from prison to court or hospital. This provision has also been incorporated in the Criminal Manual and the Jail Manual. Besides, the Assistant Inspector General of Police (Law and Order), Office of the Director General of Police has also issued a circular in this regard.
As per this, the police have been given clear orders not to apply handcuffs or tie ropes to prisoners being taken from the prison to the court or hospital. In case, in an exceptional circumstance, there is a need to apply handcuffs or tie ropes then it is necessary to take the permission of the concerned court. But the Maharashtra police are openly violating the orders of the Supreme Court.
On 20-03-2015, when undertrial prisoner Hem Mishra was being taken to the Government Medical Hospital for medical treatment he informed the police of these orders of the Supreme Court. But the police without bothering tried to forcibly apply handcuffs. When he again tried to explain to them, the police abused him and beat him up. Further, they cruelly attacked him and injured him. They tore his clothes and also threatened to “see” him.
These acts of the police are unconstitutional and illegal. They are also a violation of the orders of the Supreme Court. The victim has therefore sent a complaint to the Dhantoli Police Station through the Prison Superintendent calling for registration of an offence against the concerned guilty persons in this case and for their arrest. A complaint regarding this incident has also been made to the concerned court, the Principal Judge, Gadchiroli Sessions Court.
Hem Mishra, G.N. Saibaba, Maroti Kurvatkar, have vide Press Release demanded that strict action should be taken against the guilty in this case.

Yours faithfully,
1) Hem Mishra -sd-
2) Maroti Kurvatkar -sd-

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Torture, illegal detention of a Muslim youth , as he complains against Police

 

tribals

18 July 2014

 

To

The Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

Manav Adhikar Bhawan
Block-C, GPO Complex, INA
New Delhi – 110023

Respected Sir,

 

We lodged a complaint to your office on 28th April 2014 and your Commission accepted the complaint and registered the same as NHRC Case No. 613/25/13/2014 dated 12th May 2014, the complaint was regarding custodial torture on Mr.  Mafidul Islam @ Nantu Mondal son of Mr. Samsul Haque, aged about- 30 years, by faith- Muslim, residing at Village + Post Office- Jaykrishnapur, Police Station-Jalangi, District- Murshidabad, West Bengal, India.

 

The victim made a complaint petition on 13th May 2014 before the Chief Judicial Magistrate; Bahrampur; Murshidabad in accordance to the section 156 (3) of Criminal Procedure Code. This made the involved police personnel furious. On 16th July 2014, the then Inspector in Charge of Jalangi police station and now Officer in Charge of Raninagar police station; Mr. Somnath Bannerjee called one Mr. Shah Alam Sarkar; son of Abdul Rahman; a neighbor of the victim to Raninagar police station and asked him to influence the victim to withdraw the case but the victim not relented.

 

On 17th July 2014 at about 1 am (after midnight), Mr. Hasanur Jaman Kaji; an Assistant Sub Inspector and Mr Sanyasi Biswas; Sub Inspector of Jalangi police station along with other police personnel of same police station came to the village of the victim and apprehended the victim and other three neighbors; Mr. Aatu Seikh; son of Muksad Seikh, Mr. Kilam Mondal; son of Mr. Tufan Mondal and Mr. Imdadul Mondal; son of Mr. Tufan Mondal; all residents of village- Joykrishnapur; police station- Jalangi. The persons are being still in the police lock up of Jalangi police station. I also came to know that the involved police personnel have plan to release the three except the victim. The whole torment caused upon the victim was due to his petition and asking for justice. It was also learnt that the police are setting up for physical torture upon the victim to force him to withdraw the complaint petition before the CJM- Murshidabad.

 

I want to draw your attention on the above mentioned incident and request your office to ensure physical and psychological integrity of the victim. I also demand for ultimate security and safety for the family of the victim and his neighbourhood. Immediate action must be taken against the errant police personnel.

 

Detailed fact finding report will follow.

 

Sincerely Yours

 

 

(Kirity Roy)

 


Kirity Roy
Secretary
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
(MASUM)
&
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor)
Balaji Place
Shibtala
Srirampur
Hooghly
PIN- 712203
Tele-Fax – +91-33-26220843
Phone- +91-33-26220844 / 0845
e. mail : [email protected]
Web: www.masum.org.in

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Five torture myths debunked

Torture is used more often than you think – and in countries you wouldn’t suspect.

Josefina Salomon

TO MARK THE International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, it’s time to debunk persistent myths and misconceptions about torture…

1. Torture is mainly used against terror suspects and during war

Amnesty International research shows that torture and other ill-treatment continue to be an issue in many countries facing real or perceived national security threats, including terrorism.

However, the focus on torture and other ill-treatment in what the US authorities then called the “war on terror” at the beginning of the century may have skewed the global picture. What our research also clearly shows is that most victims of torture and other ill-treatment worldwide are not dangerous terrorists but rather poor, marginalized and disempowered criminal suspects who unfortunately seldom draw the attention of the media and public opinion, either nationally or globally.

Real or perceived political “enemies” of the government who have never carried a bomb or any other weapon, including human rights defenders, opposition politicians and journalists, are also frequent victims of torture.

This means that yes, torture continues in anti-terrorism contexts, but even here torture is mostly practised as a means of dehumanizing enemies – real life doesn’t look like “24” or “Zero Dark Thirty.”

And globally most victims are tortured not because they’re terrorists but because they’re poor, or different, or dare to disagree with the government. Whatever the motive, torture and other ill-treatment are prohibited absolutely, and never justified, no matter who you are or what you’ve done.

2. Torture is the only way to get information, fast

Torture is a primitive and blunt instrument of obtaining information. States have a huge variety of ways to collect information on crimes – both past and planned – without losing their humanity. In particular, humane questioning techniques have proved to be efficient in obtaining information on crimes without the devastating personal, societal and legal consequences.

3. Some forms of torture are not that bad

Torture doesn’t come in levels.

It is defined legally as an act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person to punish or obtain information. No torture is “lite”.

All forms of torture are despicable and illegal – including electric shocks, beatings, rape, humiliation, mock executions, burning, sleep deprivation, mock drowning, long hours in contorted positions, use of pincers, drugs and dogs. Sadly, all of these are widely used in countries across the world.

4. In certain circumstances, it serves a greater good

No. Torture is never legal or acceptable. Countries that currently fail to punish it by law are violating internationally agreed standards.

In legal terms, the absolute prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment is “non-derogable” – that is, it cannot be relaxed even in times of emergency. The prohibition has achieved such a strong global consensus that it has become binding even on states which have not joined the relevant human rights treaties.

But many governments today continue to torture for a host of reasons, mainly because governments benefit from torture – or believe that they do – and because those responsible rarely face justice. Much more needs to be done to end this despicable practice.

5. Only a handful of the worst governments use torture

Over the past five years Amnesty International has reported on torture or other ill-treatment in 141 countries and from every world region.

While in some of these countries torture might be the exception, in others it is systemic, and even one case of torture or other ill-treatment is unacceptable.

Amnesty International’s evidence and global research combined with more than five decades of documenting and campaigning against this abuse, reveals that, torture is still flourishing.

Josefina Salomon is a News Writer at Amnesty International.

On 26 June 2014, Amnesty International will hold a demonstration against torture in Dublin: see more details here

For more information about torture visit Amnesty International’s Stop Torture Campaign.

 

Read mor where- http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/five-torture-myths-debunked-1537688-Jun2014/

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Mumbai Custodial death: CBI books 10 police officials #torture

Shibu Thomas, Nitasha Natu & Vijay V Singh,TNN | Jun 28, 2014,

Custodial death: CBI books 10 police officials
Agnello Valdaris allegedly died when cops at Wadala railway police station mercilessly beat him up in their custody.
MUMBAI: The CBI has registered an FIR against 10 Wadala railway police officials and charged them with offences that could attract the capital punishment in a custodial death case, but arrests are not imminent.”We will make arrests only after a detailed inquiry and examining the collected evidence,” said a CBI officer. “All the accused are government servants so there is a rare possibility that they will attempt to escape.”

Following a Bombay high court order, the CBI filed the FIR on Wednesday night after recording the statements of complainant Leonard Valdaris, father of Agnello Valdaris who was killed on April 18 while in the custody of the Wadala GRP, and of the prime witnesses, including two persons and a minor who were arrested along with Agnello and claim to be witness to torture in custody.

The FIR has named 10 personnel of the Wadala GRP as perpetrators. They include the then in-charge of the Wadala GRP outpost, Jitendra Rathod, a woman officer, A M Pujari, and sub-inspector Tondse, head constable Mane and constables Kamble, Pathan, Mane, Suryavanshi, Ganya and Satish.


Leonard Valdaris, vivtim Agnello Valdaris’s father. (TOI photo by Shriram Vernekar)

Senior GRP officials said the tainted personnel have been shunted out of the force.

Among the charges applied against them by the CBI are murder, assault, unnatural sex, criminal intimidation, kidnapping, wrongful confinement and provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. If convicted, the officials could be sentenced to life imprisonment or the death penalty.

A source said the CBI’s next step is likely to be to record the statements of the other officials at the Wadala GRP station. The Wadala GRP currently has a working strength of around 140 personnel.

Agnello’s family is relieved the CBI is probing the case. “We are expecting an impartial and professional probe,” said Leonard, who has largely fought a lone battle for justice.

The Bombay HC had ordered exhumation of Agnello’s body and the medical report could form part of the evidence. Two other documents are important — a fax sent by Leonard to the commissioner’s office could point to illegal detention, and a reply to an RTI application by Sion hospital that Agnello had complained to the doctors when he was brought for a medical check-up that he was assaulted by the police.

The most crucial piece of evidence that the family is demanding is the CCTV footage from Wadala and Reay Road stations. Since the police stations are on the station premises, advocate Yug Chaudhry, counsel for the Valdaris family, said it could reveal that Agnello and the three others were illegally detained by the police. The railways claims the footage has been destroyed, but the family is hoping the CBI will be able to retrieve it.

“The GRP has been harping on the point that they arrested Agnello on April 17. But the footage (at Wadala station) would have shown railway cops taking me, my younger son Reagan, and three of Agnello’s co-accused to their chowky for inquiries on the night of April 15,” Leonard told TOI.

Read more here- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Custodial-death-CBI-books-10-police-officials/articleshow/37340572.cms

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Torture is an ‘expanding scourge’ in Asia

by

Phil Robertson

June 26, 2014

In several countries across Asia, torture is used on a regular basis. Bringing perpetrators to justice is notoriously hard, especially in nations where the practice is state-sanctioned, HRW’s Phil Robertson tells DW.

Inflicting pain by using physical force, breaking people’s will, trying to annihilate their personality – those are three forms of cruel treatment that fall under the definition of torture. Torture is a crime under international law. Still, in a number of countries around the world, the practice hasn’t been eradicated. On the contrary, some governments use it systematically as a means to stifle even the slightest dissent.

In order to draw global attention to the issue, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 26 as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. But more than 15 years later, the international community still has a long way to go to achieve their ultimate goal of eradicating torture altogether.

Throughout Asia, human rights organizations accuse several nations of using torture. Among the countries listed are not only authoritarian or single-party states such as North Korea or China, but also India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Japan. In a DW interview, Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, says in many of these countries, there is apparently broad immunity for government officials who use torture.

DW: Which Asian countries use torture on a regular basis?

Phil Robertson: The sad fact is that police forces across both Southeast and South Asia, as well as East Asia, consistently use torture as a standard part of their interrogation techniques in order to exact confessions. In Southeast Asia, we’ve seen this in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries, and in every South Asian country.

In fact, the problem is so rife that it’s hard to know where to start to try and combat police use of torture, but we have noted that one of the continuing themes of our work has been examining police torture. For example, in Malaysia we found systematic torture of persons in police custody, often resulting in custodial deaths have been a central reality for years.

Human Rights Watch has also found that torture regularly occurs in drug detention “treatment” centers in China, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, so even in cases where persons are supposed to receive help, they get the lash or worse. Even in countries like Singapore and Malaysia, whippings are a regular part of the judicial system which is a practice that Human Rights Watch considers cruel and unusual punishment.

And of course, the high profile “political prisoner” cases that we often think about are certainly still an important part of the discussion in places like Vietnam, Laos, Burma, and other totalitarian states – in which, of course, North Korea leads the way.

What is profoundly disturbing about all this torture is how infrequently any of the perpetrators are held accountable for it. In many of these countries, there is apparently broad immunity for government officials who use torture. As one Cambodian migrant told me: “In Thailand, the Thais can beat us for free.”

What different practices of torture are most applied?

The use of the foot and fists to beat a person into submission is very common, as are electric shocks, hanging persons in various positions, burning with cigarettes and other sources of flame, sexual abuse and rape of both men and women, use of stress positions, and beatings with various rods.

Have there been any positive developments throughout Asia and the Pacific region over the last year?

Well, certainly the work of the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on human rights abuses in North Korea, headed by Justice Michael Kirby of Australia, was a very positive development in the region.

By exposing the systematic torture that takes place in various prison camps in North Korea and demanding international accountability for this and other crimes against humanity that Pyongyang has committed, the COI helped launch long overdue action on one of Asia’s worst human rights abusing governments.

The release of significant numbers of political prisoners from Burma’s notorious prisons is certainly also good news, especially given how systematic the use of torture was against such prisoners during previous military governments. However, whether Burma will continue down the path of rights respecting reforms needs to be seen, and this year and next will be critical in determining the future for that country.

How difficult is it to actually bring to justice those responsible for torture?

In countries across Asia, bringing perpetrators of torture to justice has been notoriously hard. Where the torture is state-sanctioned, as in countries like North Korea, Vietnam, and others, there is little daylight for justice to occur. The fact that torture often occurs in prison systems that are opaque in their operations and hard to access compounds the problem.

For instance, many have suspected that one of the worst prison systems among ASEAN countries is in Laos, and that torture and mistreatment of prisoners is common-place. But it is very difficult to comprehensively prove that when external monitors hardly can get any sort of sustained access to those prisons and the prisoners locked away there.

Even when there is the capacity to prosecute persons for committing torture, and the evidence available, getting countries to muster the political will to prosecute senior policemen or top level army officials who permit torture to happen is very difficult. At the most, it’s sometimes possible to get lower level officials to court for crimes, but often those prosecutions are ad hoc and limited to particularly high profile cases.

What about punishment – to what extent is torture liable to prosecution in Asian countries?

In many countries, torture is a prosecutable offense, and where it is not, other charges connected to causing bodily harm can be employed to hold a person responsible. But the reality is that only a few persons are ever prosecuted for committing torture because to prosecute one threatens to unravel systems of police investigation that regularly use torture, or expose prison systems where torture is common – and the simple fact is that most governments don’t want those matters exposed. So instead one sees strong rhetoric against torture from governments, followed by weak or non-existent follow up.

The work of the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights abuses in North Korea was a very positive development in the region, says Kirby

Is there any personal story told by a torture victim you would like to share with us?

Over the years that I have worked for human rights, I’ve interviewed many persons who have suffered torture. What I can say is that many of them are still scarred physically and emotionally by the experience and by what one told me was the “total loss of control over my life” that he felt.

There is a good reason that the prohibition against torture is a human right that governments cannot derogate from because it tears apart people’s lives, and those of their families, in the most brutal way possible. Despite that, torture is an expanding scourge in Asia, so we have to re-double our efforts to fight to end torture absolutely and prosecute in a court of law any and all who employ it.

Phil Robertson is deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch.

 


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How I learned that Torture is a Bad Thing: Notes of a Lawyer

 

By Sarim Naved,

It was during my first year in practice that I first met a victim of torture. The concept of ‘torture’, before that day, existed for me only as a concept. In the scheme of things, it was a bad thing, but I must confess that I never actually spared a thought for what it actually meant. Much like most people, I had vague notions of good torture and bad torture. There were certain situations where torture didn’t offend as much as it did in other situations. I have since come to realise that the essence of torture is humiliation. Violence offends most when it is perpetrated against the defenceless. For every gain made through questionable means, there is a corresponding loss through the dehumanisation of a human being, the effects of which are not only felt by the victim but also manifest through the repulsion and anger birthed through the excesses of the perpetrators.

I was in Tihar Jail to advise a client, a man, accused of being in league with terrorists. A crucial stage of the trial was coming up, that of the statement of the accused, and he had wanted to meet me to understand what would be expected of him. I explained the process to him and then I told him that the last question the judge would ask him would be, “Do you have anything else to say?” He pondered on this for a moment. Then he said, “I wanted to show you something, there is something that I have written down, I want to tell the judge that. Could you please read it?” He reached down into the polythene bag he was carrying. All undertrials, at least the educated ones, carry a polythene bag or a plastic folder with their case documents. These are pulled out in their meetings with lawyers with a degree of desperation, hoping against hope that something will be found in those papers, something which has been missed till then, which will guarantee their freedom.. He looked into his bag and fumbled around with trembling hands and located two sheets of folded paper. He mumbled some incomplete sentences about not knowing whether he should say this. His demeanour had changed, his eyes danced around the room furtively trying to avoid my gaze. With some puzzlement, I took the papers. It was an account of his interrogation, the first few days of custody when the suspect is under police remand. The things that had been done to him, that he had experienced, did not make sense. I do not want to infringe on his privacy or to bring in an element of morbidity by reproducing it here. Suffice it to say that I still wish I had not read those two pages.

Report on a recent case of Torture and Custodial Death  in Mumbai Mirror Report on a recent case of Torture and Custodial Death in Mumbai Mirror

One had read about human beings doing such things to others but this was different. This was a living, breathing, somewhat avuncular human being who had been made into something less. Both of us sat there, trying not to look each other in the eye. He asked me again what I thought, whether he should tell the judge all this. I gave him the truthful answer, which was that it wouldn’t make a difference. The judge was a good judge but he would assume that these things were lies told by a man desperate to save himself. The policemen who were capable of such things would get away scot-free. As a friend was to later observe when she met a torture victim for an academic study that some kinds of torture are so demeaning that it becomes hard to even look at the victim. I don’t know whether this happens because of sympathy or disgust but either explanation is not a happy one. Infliction of violence, repeatedly and with an intent to demean and to break, creates ripples much beyond the intentions of the perpetrator.

By itself, the fact that torture existed was not news, but this meeting introduced me to another aspect of power and the way it dehumanises. I could not sleep for the next two nights and as bothered as I was by having this knowledge thrust upon me I found my anger welling up against this man, the victim. It is always most comforting when faced with senseless barbarism to blame the victim. It’s a way of assuring one’s own safety from that particular type of violence. If the dehumanisation of that man could have such an insidious effect on me and I was nothing more than a bystander, what effect would it have on this man? His family knew something of what happened to him. They were in the next room for part  of his torture. The threat was that if you don’t tell us what we want, we will do the same to your wife and children. Needless to say, the man complied and signed on whatever documents they brought to him. This is what he told me, but none of these documents were even used in the trial. A person’s dignity was peeled away and that too, for nothing. Would his family, his friends, not talk about it? What anger they would feel that a person could be treated like this by the Indian state? Whatever was done by these police officers, even if they felt this man was a criminal, could not but inspire much mistrust and hatred against the State.

The more one thinks about it, the less sense this tolerance of custodial violence makes. Investigations by the police in India are not always of the highest order or done very competently. The emphasis, judging by the chargesheets filed in court, is not always on investigation but on proving the Investigating Officer’s theory. There are laughable inconsistencies in the record of the case and witnesses trip over themselves in testifying to details that are not true. What is most unfortunate is that the Courts often try to step in to make up for what seems the carelessness of the police. Reasonable doubt then becomes a benefit that is allowed to the police and not to the accused. Criminal law is turned on its head. The prevalence of this kind of policing is tragic for the police, for victims of crime and for all of us who simply want our lives to be safe. Every false prosecution means that the true perpetrator of a crime walks free and every instance of violence by the police, the most visible face of the State, inspires more violence.

Another client, a very poor man, recently told me very happily that the police did not torture him but only slapped him a few times. There is a larger narrative of violence that is impossible to ignore. While congratulating ourselves on a society which, on the surface is largely law-abiding, is comfortable with violence, whether it be against women, Dalits, minorities or anybody who is disempowered. All that is required is an excuse. Dalits are attacked because they dare challenge the status quo, Muslims and Christians because they are anti-national and as for women, the excuses are too many to list here.  Tolerance of violence in one situation necessarily leads to tolerance of violence in other situations. Neat segmentation of state excesses being deemed acceptable in certain situations is a fantasy. Apart from the moral arguments against torture, this is the pragmatic argument.

At the risk of sounding naïve, let me end on a hopeful note. The legal system in India works, albeit slowly and in very mysterious ways. There are policemen who show kindness to people in custody and there are judges who try and ensure fairness in proceedings before them. As another person, accused of being associated with terrorists, told me. “These policemen”, meaning the staff at Tihar, “are good people”. He hated the policemen who framed him and tortured him but not the jail staff who had been kind to him on various occasions. Hope, if any, comes from these police officers who can change the dominant narrative of marginalisation and uncontrolled police excess. The adulation of police officers who bring in immediate results without regard for pesky things like the truth needs to give way to a more nuanced understanding of policing, which is based on investigation and deduction. Crimes will soemtimes go unsolved but an unsolved crime is better than the false comfort of knowing that somebody, anybody, is being punished for the crime. In our desperation to not be victimised, let us not condone the victimisation of others.

Sarim Naved is a human rights lawyer based in Delhi.

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They beat me till I fell unconscious… When I woke up, it began all over again #Torture

 

By Yogesh Sadhwani, Mumbai Mirror | May 21, 2014, 12.28 AM IST
They beat me till I fell unconscious... When I woke up, it began all over again
Leonard Valdaris, whose son Agnelo (inset) died in police custody, and Agnelo’s friends who were sexually abused by cops
Friends of custodial death victim, picked up for minor theft, reveal horrific torture in the custody of Wadala railway police

The Government Railway Police has initiated a departmental enquiry against 12 policemen following a complaint of sexual abuse and torture by three robbery suspects, including a minor.

The three were detained by the Wadala railway police on April 15 along with Agnelo Valdaris, 25, who died in custody three days later. While the police said Valdaris was run over by a train while trying to escape, his father alleged the cops murdered him in cold blood. The state CID is investigating that case of custodial death.

The police detained the four friends to get information about a gold chain worth around Rs 60,000 they had allegedly stolen from a senior citizen. They were picked up within minutes of each other from their Reay Road homes on April 15.

In their May 12 complaint about the torture, the three have also levelled detailed accusations of how Valdaris was tortured in front of them. They have demanded the policemen be booked for murder, sexual abuse, kidnapping, assault and tampering of evidence, among other charges. The 12 policemen are of the ranks of constables up to senior inspector, including a woman officer.

One of the complaints was identified as Sufiyan Khan, 23.

Valdaris, whose father is a clerk in the port trust, and Sufiyan, son of a mechanic, worked as drivers with transporter companies. The minor is class 8 dropout. The fourth youngster is unemployed.

Mirror is withholding the names of the other two – both alleged victims of sexual abuse. This correspondent spoke in person to the three complainants. Mirror is in possession of a copy of their complaint.

“(Constables Ravi) Mane and Kamble stripped me naked and put me on a table,” one of them has said in his complaint. “Mane assaulted me with a belt and Kamble with a baton. They hit me so hard I fell unconscious. They poured water on me. After I regained my senses, the torture started again. This time I was forced to perform oral sex on Agnelo and the minor. When I refused, I was threatened with more beatings. Left with no option, I did as asked. They later hanged me naked upside down and assaulted me again with belts and batons.”

This complaint said an officer who was identified only as Ganya tried inserting a stick in his anus. He said the police threatened to pour petrol into his anus as the stick was too thick. The complaint also lends credence to the allegations that Valdaris was tortured to death by giving details of how he was also tortured in asimilar manner.

“When Agenelo complained of chest pain and fainted, the police did not provide him any medical attention,” said the complaint. “They then took us to the court two days later. They threatened us not to tell the magistrate anything about the torture. They did not bring Agnelo with us as he was badly injured. In these two days, we were forced to eat the leftovers from the policemen’s meals.”

According to the complaint, the police on April 18 sent the minor to a juvenile home and remanded the other two were remanded in custody. That was when the police told them Valdaris had died while trying to escape.

“That is just not possible,” the complaint said. “We saw how badly Agnelo was beaten. There was no way he could run with his injuries. The police are trying to cover up their torture using the false claim that Agnelo tried to escape.”

The three were let off on bail on April 22. After the GRP commissioner ordered an enquiry based on the complaint, the three were, to their horror, asked to visit the same police station where they were allegedly tortured and collect their summons.

“When I had gone to collect the summons, constable Ravi Mane threatened to frame me in more criminal cases if I pursued the case,” said one of the three youngsters. “He said that the police will hound me forever.”

GRP Commissioner Prabhat Kumar told Mirror, “CID is investigating the custodial death case. We have asked a DCP to probe the departmental lapses. But she can’t reach any conclusion as the CID is seized with the investigation.”

Advocate Yug Mohit Chaudhry, who is representing the trio, said Maharashtra has witnessed the highest number of custodial deaths in recent years as policemen are seldom brought to justice. He advocated the installation of CCTV cameras in all rooms of police stations and stringent punishment for errant policemen as a solution.

“These victims of police brutality are now being threatened to take back their complaint,” said Chaudhry.

“This is nothing but tampering of evidence. They are able to go on unabated because no action has been initiated against them so far. This is the worst case I have come across so far. It is not only about murder but also about deviant sexual abuse and ruthless torture of the accused.”

Read mor ehere –  http://www.mumbaimirror.com/mumbai/cover-story/They-beat-me-till-I-fell-unconscious–When-I-woke-up-it-began-all-over-again/articleshow/35398407.cms

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The latest victim of Kashmir’s ‘non-lethal’ weaponry

Sifting facts from fiction:

12 MAY 2014 – 11:58AM GMT
Although banned by western countries, paramilitary forces and police still continue to use pellet grenades in Kashmir.Although banned by western countries, paramilitary forces and police still continue to use pellet grenades in Kashmir.

I always cherish surprise visits to home. No matter which corner of the world you put up in, home is always missed and perpetually longed for. But when home is in a place in Kashmir where violence is a routine affair, like buying morning bread, anxiety becomes a furtive companion which stays with me for a long time even after I am gone.

I lived the formative years of my life in Old Town of Baramulla, known among government forces and some journalists as the ‘Red Zone’ of Kashmir. The sentiment of freedom from Indian rule remains high here. On May 7 when Lok Sabha elections were conducted in the town, anti-election and pro-freedom protests erupted in many localities, forcing the authorities to shift the polling centers to ‘safer places’, a euphemism invented to describe places in Kashmir which live at the mercy of forces.

I arrived in the town on May 10. Once a bustling trade center, Baramulla now looks like a dark shadow of its vibrant past. A paramilitary trooper is keeping vigil on a bridge, one of the five that connect Old Town with the recently built swanky bungalows and shopping malls on the opposite banks of Jehlum that bisects the town just before wriggling its way into Pakistan.

On the day of my arrival, a civil curfew was being observed in the town after Kashmir police had conducted raids on previous night and arrested dozens of youths from Old Town who were reportedly involved in stone pelting. Many families had alleged that police ransacked their property and robbed gold jewelry and cash from their homes, an allegation denied by police, forcing the Baramulla Traders Association to call for a three-day shutdown against the ‘police excesses’.

I told the mustached trooper near the bridge to remove the concertina wire so that I could go home. He asked me to produce my identity card. “You have to wait,” he said politely, observing my black waistcoat and Woodland shoes, “Let more people gather sir. We allow people in groups.”

The town looked like a military garrison. Hundreds of troops in riot gear with automatic weapons were deployed on all the five bridges to prevent protesters in Old Town from crossing over into new town. No matter how small or big, the clampdown by forces brings back memories of death and destruction, of crackdowns and funerals, of pallbearers who abandon corpses in the middle of road, of those countless cold nights spent in fear.

As the groups of people swelled near the two mouths of the bridge, the trooper signaled us it was time to cross over. We walked in fear. A women, part of our group, had her Burqa stuck in the concertina wire but she managed to set it free on her own. When everyone had crossed over, the bridge was sealed again.

I was finally home. I felt relieved but I was not happy. I had to meet a ‘12-year-old boy’ whose photograph I has seen on Facebook. The picture, purportedly taken by his friend on the day of Lok Sabha elections in Baramulla, showed the bruised back of the boy with numerous pellet injuries. The picture had gone viral on social networking sites and many people had questioned its authenticity.

My task was clearly set out. I had to locate him. It didn’t turn out to be a task as I had anticipated. When I showed his picture on my mobile phone to a cheerful boy playing cricket on the roadside, he nonchalantly replied: “Oh, this is Shoiab. He was injured by a pellet bomb few days back.” He gave me the address of Shoiab – Syed Karim Sahib Mohalla, a congested locality of crumbling and irregularly build houses in Old Town.

On the day of Lok Sabha elections in the town, six friends including Shoaib, all in their teens, were playing carom inside one of the narrow lanes of Syed Kareem Mohalla, a soon-to-be dismantled locality under a plan for decongestion of Old Town. The boys were focused on the game until a bang in the neighborhood broke their concentration, which was followed by loud cheering.

A teargas shell had been hurled towards a group of youths shouting pro-freedom and anti-election slogans near the Cement Bridge over Jehlum river in the town, five hundred meters away from the place where the boys were playing carom. Stones were flying over the bridge, shooting down on the forces who used transparent shields to protect themselves. Enthusiastic children, without realizing the danger, wanted to be as close to the scene of clashes as they could. They saw dozens of youth pelting stones at the forces. As the crowd of curious onlookers swelled, the clashes intensified. Police and paramilitary forces responded by firing aerial gunshots and pellet grenades at the protesters and also at the crowd of onlookers, according to eyewitnesses.

When a pellet grenade is fired, like a conventional grenade, it sends out hundreds of tiny metallic balls into the air. Although banned by western countries, paramilitary forces and police still continue to use pellet grenades in Kashmir. The lethality of this weapon has led to severe criticism of its use by human rights groups but it hasn’t stopped the government in Kashmir from using them as a tool of crowd control.

In recent times, the pellet grenades have earned India more enemies in Kashmir than any other weapon. It has blinded people. There are young boys with disfigured faces, without eyes, boys whose bodies carry the scars of these vicious metallic balls. In Kashmir, those protesting on the streets have many reasons for pelting stones. Stone throwing is a political statement. But here in Old Town of Baramulla, stone is a weapon for children, not just to express their resentment but also to stare fearlessly in the face of a State whose coercive tactics have failed to obtain their submission.

When the six friends left their game of carom on May 7 to watch the clashes, they sat on a large empty kerosene tank. Within minutes, teargas and pellet grenades were fired towards them. Shoiab, 14, tried to run but a grenade exploded behind him, shooting hundreds of pellets towards him. The pellets bored through a white Tee he was wearing and pierced his back.

“I thought I was hit by bullets. It felt like someone had poured petrol and set fire from my shoulders to thighs but I kept running to a safer place,” he told me.

The boys accompanying Shoaib took him to a makeshift dispensary in Old Town where he was given a soft drink to ease his pain. Once hit, most of the victims are afraid of visiting doctors for treatment, fearing that they will be arrested by cops who are tipped about their presence in hospitals by sleuths in plainclothes.

But the news had reached his home and his mother entered the dispensary, giving him a tight slap. She hugged him then and, after nearly 117 pellets were removed from his back, took him home.

The smell of freshly cemented walls hung in the air as I arrived outside the two storied concrete home owned by Shoiab’s father. Within minutes, the entire family came out to meet me. Shoiab’s father cursed the day when he migrated to Baramulla from a nearby village so that his children could get better education. His elder son who is fifteen-year-old was arrested recently on charges of stone throwing and let off after a warning by the judge when the boy turned out to be a minor.

“He was a stone-pelter but, thanks to a police official, he doesn’t indulge in it anymore. But Shoaib was playing carom on that day. He doesn’t throw stones. He is too small. He had gone there to watch the clashes, like many other kids,” his father told me.

Shoaib’s furious mother joined her husband as they together started cursing their son for joining young boys who were watching the clashes on May 7. I closed my notebook and asked Shoiab if he could accompany me to a nearby street. As I walked out of the narrow alleys of Old Town, I kept thinking about Shoiab and his father’s journey from a small village to Baramulla, and as much I walked away from Shoiab’s home, I felt leaving a dark trail behind me.

 

Read more here — https://www.authintmail.com/article/features/sifting-facts-fiction-latest-victim-kashmirs-non-lethal-weaponry

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Global crisis on torture exposed by new worldwide campaign

Over the last five years, Amnesty International has documented on torture and other forms of ill-treatment in at least 141 countries. Over the last five years, Amnesty International has documented on torture and other forms of ill-treatment in at least 141 countries.

 

Governments around the world are two-faced on torture – prohibiting it in law, but facilitating it in practice.

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Amnesty International has accused governments around the world of betraying their commitments to stamp out torture, three decades after the ground-breaking Convention Against Torture was adopted by the UN in 1984.

“Governments around the world are two-faced on torture – prohibiting it in law, but facilitating it in practice” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, as he launched Stop Torture, Amnesty International’s latest global campaign to combat widespread torture and other ill-treatment in the modern world.

“Torture is not just alive and well – it is flourishing in many parts of the world. As more governments seek to justify torture in the name of national security, the steady progress made in this field over the last thirty years is being eroded.”

Since 1984, 155 states have ratified the UN Convention Against Torture, 142 of which are researched by Amnesty International. In 2014, Amnesty International observed at least 79 of these still torturing – more than half the states party to the Convention that the organisation reports on. A further 40 UN states haven’t adopted the Convention, although the global legal ban on torture binds them too.

Over the last five years, Amnesty International has reported on torture and other forms of ill-treatment in at least 141 countries from every region of the world – virtually every country on which it works. The secretive nature of torture means the true number of countries that torture is likely to be higher still.

In some of these countries torture is routine and systematic. In others, Amnesty International has only documented isolated and exceptional cases.  The organization finds even one case of torture or other ill-treatment totally unacceptable.

The Stop Torture campaign launches with a new media briefing,Torture in 2014: 30 Years of Broken Promises, which provides an overview of the use of torture in the world today.

The briefing details a variety of torture techniques – from stress positions and sleep deprivation to electrocution of the genitals – used against criminal suspects, security suspects, dissenting voices, political rivals and others.

As part of the campaign Amnesty International commissioned aGlobescan survey to gauge worldwide attitudes to torture. Alarmingly, the survey found nearly half (44%) of respondents – from 21 countries across every continent – fear they would be at risk of torture if taken into custody in their country.

The vast majority (82%) believe there should be clear laws against torture. However, more than a third (36%) still thought torture could be justified in certain circumstances.

“The results from this new global survey are startling, with nearly half of the people we surveyed feeling fearful and personally vulnerable to torture. The vast majority of people believe that there should be clear rules against torture, although more than a third still think that torture could be justified in certain circumstances. Overall, we can see broad global support amongst the public for action to prevent torture,” said Caroline Holme, Director at GlobeScan.

Measures such as the criminalisation of torture in national legislation, opening detention centres to independent monitors, and video recording interrogations have all led to a decrease in the use of torture in those countries taking their commitments under the Convention Against Torture seriously.

Amnesty International is calling on governments to implement protective mechanisms to prevent and punish torture – such as proper medical examinations, prompt access to lawyers, independent checks on places of detention, independent and effective investigations of torture allegations, the prosecution of suspects and proper redress for victims.

The organization’s global work against torture continues, but will focus in particular on five countries where torture is rife and Amnesty International believes it can achieve significant impact. Substantive reports with specific recommendations for each will form the spine of the campaign.

  • In Mexico the government argues that torture is the exception rather than the norm, but in reality abuse by police and security forces is widespread and goes unpunished. Miriam López Vargas, a 31 year-old mother of four, was abducted from her hometown of Ensenada by two soldiers in plainclothes, and taken to a military barracks. She was held there for a week, raped three times, asphyxiated and electrocuted to force her to confess that she was involved in drug-related offences. Three years have passed, but none of her torturers have been brought to justice.
  • Justice is out of reach for most torture survivors in the Philippines. A secret detention facility was recently discovered where police officers abused detainees ‘for fun’.  Police officers reportedly spun a ‘wheel of torture’ to decide how to torture prisoners.  Media coverage led to an internal investigation and some officers being dismissed, but Amnesty International is calling for a thorough and impartial investigation which will lead to the prosecution in court of the officers involved.  Most acts of police torture remain unreported and torture survivors continue to suffer in silence.
  • In Morocco and Western Sahara, authorities rarely investigate reports of torture. Spanish authorities extradited Ali Aarrass to Morocco despite fears he would be tortured. He was picked up by intelligence officers and taken to a secret detention centre, where he says they electrocuted his testicles, beat the soles of his feet and hanged him by his wrists for hours on end. He says the officers forced him to confess to assisting a terrorist group. Ali Aarass was convicted and sentenced to 12 years behind bars on the basis of that “confession”. His allegation of torture has never been investigated.
  • In Nigeria, police and military personnel use torture as a matter of routine. When Moses Akatugba was arrested by soldiers he was 16 years old. He said they beat him and shot him in the hand. According to Moses he was then transfered to the police, who hanged him by his limbs for hours at a police station. Moses says he was tortured into signing a “confession” that he was involved in a robbery. The allegation that he confessed as a result of torture was never fully investigated. In November 2013, after eight years waiting for a verdict, Moses was sentenced to death.
  • In Uzbekistan, torture is pervasive but few torturers are ever brought to justice. The country is closed to Amnesty International. Dilorom Abdukadirova spent five years in exile after security forces opened fire on a protest she was attending. On returning to Uzbekistan, she was detained, barred from seeing her family, and charged with attempting to overthrow the government.   During her trial, she looked emaciated with bruising on her face. Her family are convinced she had been tortured.

“Thirty years ago Amnesty led the campaign for a worldwide commitment to combat torture resulting in the UN’s Convention Against Torture. Much progress has been made since, but it is disheartening that today we still need a worldwide campaign to ensure that those promises are fulfilled,” said Salil Shetty.

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Couple illegally detained and tortured at police lock-up to nullify the marriage #WTFnews

18 April 2014

To

The Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

Manav Adhikar Bhawan
Block-C, GPO Complex, INA
New Delhi – 110023

 

Respected Sir,

 

I lodge this present complaint where the incident in gist reveals that Mr. Morjem Hossain married one lady namely Ms. Ayesha Khatun @ Dazi Khatun who is reportedly above 18 years of age. But her father could not take up the marriage and filed one written complaint against Mr. Morjem Hossain him and his family members at Jalangi Police Station alleging kidnapping of her stating that she is minor. The police registered one criminal case(Jalangi police station FIR no. 274 dated 30.3.2014 under section 363/366A/34 of Indian Penal Code) and on 31.4.2014 at about 8 am Mr. Haidar Ali(aged about 59 years) being the father of Mr. Morjem Hossain was arrested by three civic police personnel of Jalangi Police Station. At the time of arrest all legal norms was flouted and he was assaulted and abused by the said civic police personnel. Then he was illegally detained at Jalangi Police Station for more than 24 hours without producing him before any judicial magistrate. Mr. Babu Mondal lodged complaint on the incident of illegal arrest and illegal detention of his father Mr. Haider Ali but no step was taken. Then again on 9.4.2014 Mr. Babu Mondal was arrested in connection with the above referred criminal case. The family members alleged that Mr. Babu Mondal is at present undergoing mental and physical torture in the custody of Jalangi Police Station. Our attached fact finding report gives details of the incident.

 

The perpetrator police personnel of Jalangi Police Station committed the following violation of law:

  • The perpetrator police personal of Jalangi Police Station violated Article 22(2) of the Constitution of India.
  • The perpetrator police personnel of Jalangi Police Station also violated Sections 49, 50, 50(A), 53, 55A, 57 and 60A and of Criminal Procedure Code along with the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court of India in D. K. Basu judgment (AIR 1997 SC 610).
  • They also violated Regulation 33 of Police Regulations of Bengal, 1946.
  • They also violated Article 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.

Hence, we seek your urgent intervention regarding the following matters: –

  • The whole incident must be investigated by one neutral investigating agency.
  • The perpetrator police personnel of Jalangi Police Station must be immediately booked under the law and should be punished according to the criminal law for their alleged acts.
  • The victims must be released from all false criminal charges.
  • The victims and their family must be provided adequate compensation and should be provided adequate protection so that they cannot come under further threat or inducement.

Thanking You

Yours truly

 

Kirity Roy

Secretary, MASUM

&

National Convener, PACTI

 

Names of the victims: – 1.Mr. Haider Ali son of Late Bochher Mondal, aged about- 59 years;  2.Mr. Babu Seikh @ Mondal, aged about 27 years both by faith- Muslim, residing at Village – Kamarpur, Post Office – Natial, Police Station- Jalangi, District- Murshidabad, West Bengal, India.

Names of the perpetrators: – (1) The Officer-in-Charge of Jalangi Police Station; (2) Mr. Joydeb Sannasi being the Sub – Inspector of Police of Jalangi Police Station; (3) Mr. Juyel  Seikh son of Hossain Ali; (4) Mr. Mokbul Seikh son of Mr. Samsul Sarkar; (5) Mr. Sahanul Jaman son of Mr. Mainuddin Jaman, all(perpetrators nos. 3 to 4) are the civic police personnel of Jalangi Police Station residing at village – Kumorpara, Post Office  – Notial, Police Station- Jalangi and all other on-duty involved police personnel of Jalangi Police Station District – Murshidabad, West Bengal

Date & Time of incident: – On 31. 03. 2014 at about 8 am and subsequent thereafter.

Place of occurrence: – In the residence of the victims and in the police custody of Jalangi Police Station. 

Fact finding details:-

It is revealed during fact finding that the victim Mr. Haidar Ali lives with his wife Ms. Nurban Bibi and three sons namely Mr. Babu Mondal, Mr. Morjem Hossian, Mr. Mijanur Rahaman and his daughter Ms. Joravan Khatoon.

 

On 30.3.2014 one Mr. Sajahan Mondal, son of Late Ajahar Mondal of village-Kumarpur(Purbapara) Police Station-Jalangi lodged one written complaint at Jalangi Police Station alleging that Mr. Haidar Ali and his three family members were involved in kidnapping his daughter and as such Jalangi Police Station FIR no. 274 dated 30.3.2014 under section 363/366A/34 of Indian Penal Code was registered against Mr. Haidar Ali and his three family members.

 

On 31.3.2014 at about 8 am the three civic police personnel of Jalangi Police Station being the perpetrators nos. 3 to 4 came to the residence of Mr. Haidar Ali. They were in uniform of civic police and armed with wooden sticks. There was no female police person present with them at that time. They apprehended Mr. Haidar Ali from his residence without issuing any Memo of Arrest. His son Mr. Babu Mondal and other family members asked them about the reason of the arrest. But the said civic police personnel did not disclose any reason. At the time of arrest they assaulted Mr. Haidar Ali by fists and blows and also by wooden sticks. They even abused him in filthily languages and humiliated the female members in the house. Later Mr. Babu Mondal went to Jalangi Police Station to see his father but the police of the said police station did not allow him to meet with his father. The police personnel abused him in filthy languages and threatened him to assault by saying that his father will be rotten to death in police lock up without producing him in court. On the next day i.e. on 1.4.2014 Mr. Babu Mondal went to Berhampore Court expecting that his father would be produced in court by police, but after waiting for the whole day he found that his father was not produced in the court. On the same day Mr. Babu Mondal lodged one written complaint before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Berhampore regarding the illegal arrest and also illegal detention of his father. The said complaint was registered as Misc. Petiton no.78/2014 and the court directed the Officer-in-Charge of Jalangi Police Station to submit report within 7.4.2014. But till date no report has been submitted.

 

On 2.4.2014 Mr. Haidar Ali was produced in the court in connection with the above referred criminal case. Mr. Haidar Ali was represented by one Advocate provided by MASUM for his defense. The Advocate filed one bail application for him in the court and in the bail application it was stated that Mr. Hairdar Ali was illegally detained at Jalangi Police Station and subjected him to custodial torture. The court (the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Berhampore) rejected his bail application and sent him to Berhampore Central Correctional Home for judicial custody.

 

On 2.4.2014 Mr. Babu Mondal also lodged written complaint before the Superintendent of Police, Murshidabad on the incident of illegal arrest and illegal detention of his father Mr. Haidar Ali by the involved police personnel of Jalangi Police Station. But no step was taken on his complaint till date.

 

On 9.4.2014 at about 11 am about 6/7 police personnel of Jalangi Police Station out of whom 4/5 were civic police personnel came to the residence of Mr. Haidar Ali along with Mr. Joydeb Sannasi being the Sub – Inspector of Police of Jalangi Police Station without any lady police person. The police personnel arrested Mr. Babu Mondal without disclosing any reason and without issuing any Memo of Arrest. they also allegedly snatched one mobile phone and cash of Rs.2700/- from his possession. At the time of arrest he was brutally arrested by the police personnel and he sustained bleeding injury due to the assault. The police personnel took him away on a motorbike. The civic police personnel further humiliated Ms. Jorabhan Khatun, daughter of Mr. Haidar Ali by pulling her wearing clothes. On 10.4.2014 he was produced in court in connection with the above referred criminal case and the police of Jalangi Police Station by making prayer to the court took him to police custody. Mr. Babu Mondal is at present detained in police custody at Jalangi Police Station and his family members alleged that he has been undergoing mental and physical torture in the police custody.

 

On 9.4.2014 at about 8.38 am our fact finding team contacted with the Duty Officer Mr. Mir Jalaluddin of Jalangi Police Station and he was asked whether the victim Mr. Haidar Ali was arrested by civic police personnel on 31.3.2014 and he answered in reply that the police can arrest a person on criminal charge. He was also asked whether Mr. Haidar Ali was illegally detained in Jalangi Police Station from 31.3.2014 and he stated in reply that he could say anything after seeing the records. He was asked whether Mr. Haidar Ali was subjected to torture in police custody and in reply he stated that if there is any allegation of torture then file complaint and step would be taken on the complaint.

 

The family members of the victims stated that Mr. Morjem Hossain, son of Mr. Haidar Ali married with the daughter of Mr. Sajahan Mondal namely Ms. Ayesha Khatun @ Dazi Khatun and the marriage was duly registered under Muslim rites and custom. The said Ms. Ayesha Khatun also affirmed through an affidavit that she out of her own willing and voluntary married with Mr. Morjem Hossain. She also stated in the affidavit that she was not kidnapped by her husband and his family members and she is about 18 years and 2 months old. The family members of Mr. Haidar Ali stated that Mr. Sajahan Mondal being the father of Ms. Ayesha Khatun @ Dazi Khatun could not take the marriage and out of grudge he filed false complaint against them for subjecting them to police harassment.

To see the documents, please see the attached file (pdf). 


Kirity Roy
Secretary
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
(MASUM)
&
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor)
Balaji Place
Shibtala
Srirampur
Hooghly
PIN- 712203
Tele-Fax – +91-33-26220843
Phone- +91-33-26220844 / 0845
e. mail : [email protected]
Web: www.masum.org.in

 

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