Monday, September 05, 2011

Human Rights Defender Faizuddin Biswas faces threat to life and flees to MASUM shelter

Kirity Roy
Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)
National Convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI)

40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor), Balaji Place, Shibtala, Srirampur
Hooghly 712203
West Bengal

Faizuddin Biswas, 87 year old son of Late Nasheruddin Biswas, of Dayarampur Village, under Jalangi P.S. of the Murshidabad district, is an old friend, well-wisher, supporter of MASUM and is an active Human Rights Defender. He has been instrumental in Human Rights campaigning in his locality from 2005.

On, 26.08.2011 at around 2.30 pm, the last Friday of the Ramadan month, Faizuddin Biswas while returning home with family members after saying tributary payers to the dead at the village grave yard as a customary among the Muslims, witnessed that a group of smugglers had come to their neighbourhood and were indulging in a fight with the locals. A rift had occurred between a group of smugglers the details of which are not known. However, a group of smugglers tried to enter the house of one Rajitulla and a heated argument was going on. Faizuddin Biswas’s daughter-in-law, Ms. Surjan Bibi @ Sukjan (wife of Ahitulla Biswas) fearing bloodshed in the neighbourhood shouted on seeing the smugglers. The smugglers immediately left the site only to return after half an hour, this time armed with swords, knives and sticks. The armed smugglers came to Faizuddin Biswas’s house and started beating his daughter-in-law Ms. Sukjan Bibi. On seeing this in an attempt to save her Faizuddin Biswas’s other daughter-in-law Ms. Jarina Bibi (wife of Mohitulla) came to the rescue of her sister-in-laws and the smugglers started beating her up too. Again, another daughter-in-law Runa Bibi (wife of Rintu Biswas) came to rescue her two sisters-in-law from being assaulted. As a result, all the three ladies were brutally assaulted by the armed smugglers. Mr. Rejaul @ Rejabul Biswas aged about 34 years, son of Moizuddin Biswas also was assaulted. They brutally beat up all the three women members and brother-in-law of Faizuddin Biswas. All the victims got seriously injured as a result of the assault. 

Medical treatment:
The three injured were rushed to the Sadikhandiar Block Medical Health Center, which falls under the Jalangi PS. of the Murshidabad district and were provided with immediate medical treatment. Then Surjan Bibi, who had undergone fatal injuries, including an arm bone fracture had to be shifted to the Baharampur, New General Hospital, under the Baharampur P.S. of the Murshidabad district, for further treatment (the details of the medical report/prescription has been attached here with).

Police an alley to the crime:
Soon after looking into the medical treatment, the family members including Faizuddin Biswas went to the Jalangi police station to file an FIR against the smugglers. But the police namely (Anup Deb, Assistant Sub-inspector) did not take their complaint. Though it was a serious cognizable offence still the police did not file and FIR, instead registered a general diary (Jalangi P.S. G.D.E number 1603/11 dated 27.08.2011). However, the police now claims that the general diary papers are missing and is suggesting that a fresh complaint be filed.

Surprisingly, it was later found out from none other but from the group of smugglers itself, that the smugglers have come to a mutual understanding with the police and that the police had taken a bribe of Rs. 30,000 from the smugglers to overlook the incident and remain inactive. Now, the smugglers are making the rounds and are claiming that the victims’ family that is Faizuddin Biswas and his sons pay back the bribe money that the smugglers had to give as bribe to the police to remain inactive against the complaint filed.

A glimpse of the area: Smuggler - Administration nexus:

The area he comes from is a smugglers den and continuous smuggling takes place here. It must be mentioned that the BSF, police, administration, customs, elected representatives, political parties and influential persons are either directly or indirectly instrumental in cross border smuggling. The proximity goes beyond the border to district, states and countries with international involvement. The commoners are often forced or in exchange of little trivial are used as couriers, who risk their lives in carrying the smuggling goods. Actual kingpins and masterminds remain behind curtains and closely observe the movement. The BSF accept money, alcohol and sexual favour from women for overlooking or guarding the smuggling process. A huge amount of money transacted between the actual kingpins and BSF for illegal transportation of goods. All of it is not unknown to district administration and police and they also get their percentages. If a rift occurs between the kingpins and the BSF or other involved bodies, the local people fall prey to bullets; they are sexually assaulted, illegally detained, arrested or framed under false charges. The kingpins however remain untouched. On the contrary the local people residing in the area are vulnerable to rampant raids and frisking. The kingpin, BSF and police nexus are deeply involved in cross border trafficking of woman and children, drug peddling and illegal infiltration. 

Faizuddin Biswas escapes smugglers:

In an attempt to save his life Faizuddin had to flee to MASUM short shelter. He is unable to go back to his home, since the smugglers have threatened to kill him if he doesn’t return the bribe money. MASUM is presently providing shelter to Faizuddin Biswas and we cannot let him go until and unless we have some assurance from the police, regarding his protection and security.

We at MASUM are anticipating that the smugglers are masterminded by the kingpins who run the smuggling racket because Mr. Faizuddin always raised his objection against the smuggling nexus. The security of our friend HRD Faizuddin Biswas is at stake. Secretary of MASUM has called Jalangi police station at around 12.15 pm on 5th September, 2011 and spoke to the Officer-in-charge, Mr. Debashis Sarkar and. asked the OC to take immediate intervention and take the necessary steps according to law to be taken into the dreadful incident.

Police spear heads smugglers defense and manipulates victim:
At around 4pm on the 5th of September, 2011, four policemen ( three police men in uniform and one policeman in civil dress) reached the residence of Mr. Faizuddin Biswas and in his absence forcibly takes away left thumb impression of Surjan Bibi on a blank paper, which proves the ill motive of the police to manufacture documents. 


·  Immediate intervention of the police administration, necessary legal action be taken and perpetrators be brought to book
·   Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the incidents with a view to bring those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
· Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological security and integrity of the victim so that he can carry his livelihood peacefully.
·  Protection and security be provided to Human Rights Defender Mr. Faizuddin Biswas and his family members
·   Adequate compensation for the victims

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