13 May 2017
National Human Rights Commission,
Manav Adhikar Bhawan,
Block-C, GPO Complex, INA,
New Delhi- 110023
I lodge this present complaint seeking your intervention where the following persons being Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar were arrested on 16.04.2017 by the police of Bongaon Govt. Railway Police Station (GRPS), District-North 24 Parganas, West Bengal.
The particulars of those persons as recorded in the police record are as follows:-
(1) Md. Ayub (aged-30 years), son of Late Dil Mahammad of along with two minor children namely Ajida Begam (female, 5 years) and Ajijul Barman( Male, 5 years old).
(2) Ms. Sayada Begum (age-27 years), wife of Md. Ayub with a baby girl namely Urmi Habiba (3 years old).
(3) Md. Sultan (age-40 years), son of Late Abdul Salam with one minor boy namely Rafique Alam (5 years old).
(4) Ms. Muslima Begam (age-20 years) wife of Usman Gani with one baby girl namely Marium Begum (1 year old).
All of them were from village Owara Jongludai, Police Station & District- Buchidang, Myanmar.
Mr. Bidyut Safui, SI of Police, Bongaon GRPS (Govt. Railway Police Station) along with force arrested the aforesaid persons and in this regard lodged complaint before the Officer-in-Charge of the said police station inter alia stating that those persons were arrested in a running train compartment of Bongaon-Sealdah local train and thereafter they were taken to Bongaon GRPS and on interrogation there, they disclosed that they entered into Indian territory through Bangladesh, through Putkhali Border on 16.04.2017 morning in clandestine manner for searching any job in India. They could not produce any Passport or Visa in support of their entry into Indian Territory.
The said complaint was treated as FIR vide Bongaon Govt. Railway Police Station (GRPS) Case no.26/2017 dated 16.04.2017 under section 14 of Foreigners Act.
In the same complaint Mr. Bidyut Safui, SI of Police, Bongaon GRPS also stated for handing over to Child Line, Bongaon of three minor children namely Nur Mahammad (age 15 years), son of Md. Sultan; Babul Sadar (age-14 years), son of Md. Sultan and Md. Hamid (age-14 years) son of Abu Kalam, all from village Owara Jongludai, Police Station & District- Buchidang, Myanmar for their rehabilitation and shelter.
On 17.04.2017 the aforesaid persons were produced before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bongaon and the magistrate sent them to judicial custody at Bongaon Sub-Correctional Home, as routine manner. Later Rafique Alam (Male, 5 years old) was handed over to Child Line Bongaon.
The prosecution was registered against them merely on the allegation that they entered into India without any valid document but the law enforcement agency failed to appreciate the fact that those aforesaid persons belong to Rohingya Muslim Community which is an oppressed ethnic minority community in Myanmar. In Myanmar, Rohingyas are not considered full citizens and are systematically and officially robbed of their basic civil, political, social and cultural rights. They are routinely subjected to killings, arbitrary arrest, torture and forced labour. In view of the prevailing circumstances in Myanmar, the Rohingya people had no alternative except to flee Myanmar. In this regard, I hereby attaching few news links; –
Hereby I want to recall that by agreement, Indian state is is part of UNO; as Article 51 ( c ) of Indian Constitution states, Art. 51. The State shall endeavour to—
(c) foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with one another;
The police, the judiciary has to pay respect to the Constitution of India. It’s should not be a “police state”.
The law enforcement agency also ignored that they are stateless persons who shall suffer death, bodily injury or other grave human rights violations if repatriated to Myanmar after serving the sentence if any pronounced against them in the prosecution. As per Article 3 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment as was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10th December, 1984 to which India is a signatory, the law enforcing agency is obligated not to forcibly repatriate them to Myanmar; as Indian state signed the UN resolution, though not ratified yet.
They have the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution and such right flows from Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and thus denying them of such right is an absolute violation of the principles enshrined under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 which the Government of India is bound to respect and follow having ratified the same.
From the police report it is clear that the aforesaid persons are from Myanmar and being Rohingya Muslims. They displaced from Myanmar came to India to save their lives and making a living. They are stateless as Myanmar disowning them, they were dying and homeless. In the absence of a national legal framework for refugees in India, UNHCR-India conducts refugee status determination under its mandate for asylum seekers who approach the Office. The UNHCR says approximately 14,000 Rohingya are spread across six locations in India. It has given Refugee Status certificates to approximately 11,000 Rohingyas in India; the remaining 3,000 are “asylum seekers”. But more importantly, the Indian government has given Long Term Visas to 500 Rohingyas. Through the order passed by the Indian Courts, I am, hereby approaching before the governance to make a position where the victims can feel safe, not as an accused. We are hereby approaching to NHRC, Supreme Court of India, Calcutta High Court. I, as a citizen of India, hereby want to remember – http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/69/538 the pledge taken by State of India. As a citizen, I am obliged, to follow the obligations of our Constitution.
I am requesting your goodself to consider my appeal.
I hope that the victims in this case will be equally treated and be provided with equal opportunity to seek refugee status from UNHCR-India instead of rotting behind the bar.
I lodge this present complaint seeking appropriate intervention from the Commission for the above stated victims being Rohingya Muslims and I hope that the Commission shall consider the following demands of justice for the victims:-
- The concerned authorities must be directed to make a through enquiry on the situation of the victims and they should be given proper opportunity to seek refugee status from UNHCR-India.
- The prosecution registered against the victims should be withdrawn immediately considering the facts and circumstances of the victims.
- The victim women should be kept in a shelter home instead of the correctional home.
- Any other action as the Commission may deem fit and proper.
National Convener, PACTI