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ACHR Press Release
ACHR Index: PR/IND/AS/01/12/03
24 November 2003

ACHR condemns attacks on the innocents in Assam and Bihar

Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today condemned the assaults on the innocent North East passengers in Bihar and subsequent killings of innocent Bihari civilians by the armed opposition groups in Assam; and also the attacks on Bihari candidates in Mumbai by the Shiv Sena. About 50 persons have been killed in Assam in the last nine days.

ACHR charged that the Bihar government allowed the situation to deteriorate because of its failure to take appropriate and prompt actions against systematic and organised assault on the North East passengers from 10 to 12 November 2003. These North East passengers were attacked simply because of their physical features and had nothing to do with the driving out of the Bihari candidates from the examination halls in Assam. On 13 November 2003, a Naga girl was gang raped and paraded naked in a running train; and another Mizo girl was molested in front of her brothers. Only after a backlash against the innocent Bihari civilians started that Bihar government took belated actions of providing security to the train passengers.

At the same time, the retribution against the Bihari civilians in Assam simply on the basis of their ethnic origin and who are as innocent as the train passengers from the North East is a contemptible act.

"The deliberate and indiscriminate killing of Bihari civilians by armed opposition groups in Assam violates the basic principles of international humanitarian law, in particular, the provisions of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and their Additional Protocol II relating to the protection of civilians and non-combatants." - stated Suhas Chakma, Director of ACHR.

The ACHR appealed for peace and communal harmony; and urged the concerned state governments to take appropriate actions, including against the Bihar Police personnel and Railway Police personnel who refused to take action against the hooligans who attacked the North East passengers and register the FIR of the rape of the Naga girl. "It is only through the enforcement of the rule of law by identifying and punishing those guilty of the crimes whether in Bihar or Assam that the sense of security can be provided."[END]

For more information please call Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights in New Delhi, India at +91-11-25503624 or 25620583

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