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  • Assam

    1. Overview. 1
    2. Human rights violations by the security forces 2
    a. Violations of the right to life. 2
    b. Arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture. 4
    3. Violations of international humanitarian laws by the AOGs 5
    a. Killings 5
    b. Extortion. 6
    4. Ethnic conflicts 7
    5. Violence against women. 8
    a. Cultural cruelties: Witch killing. 9
    6. Violations of the rights of the indigenous/tribal peoples 10
    7. Violations of the rights of the child. 12
    a. Trafficking. 12
    b. Juvenile justice. 12
    8. Violations of the prisoners' rights 13
    9. Status of the Internally Displaced Persons 14


    1. Overview

    Ruled by the Indian National Congress party, Assam intermittently observed cease-fire with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) throughout 2005. On 25 May 2005, the National Democratic Front of Bodoland signed a ceasefire pact with the Centre and Assam Government with effect from 1 June 2005.[1] However, no such agreement could be signed with ULFA. The enforced disappearance of at least 12 ULFA leaders and cadres after their alleged arrest by the Bhutan Royal Army during the “Operation All Clear” of December 2003 remained one of the bones of contention. In July 2005, the Guwahati High Court, in response to a habeas corpus petition filed by Gyanma Moran, wife of missing ULFA member Ponaram Dihingia, issued directive to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Defence Secretary, the General Officer Commanding in Chief, Eastern Command of the Indian Army and Home Commissioner of Assam government to provide information about the “missing” ULFA leaders.[2]

    The other key armed opposition groups active in Assam included United People's Democratic Solidarity (anti-talk and pro-talk factions), Kuki Revolutionary Army, Hmar People's Convention, Dima Halam Daogah and National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac-Muivah and Kaplang factions), Karbi National Volunteer, Adivasi Cobra Militants of Assam and the Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front.

    Assam continued to be a miniature of India in terms of human rights violations.

    The government deployed large number of security forces to contain insurgencies. They were responsible for arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and other abuses during cordon and search operations. Innocent people were often taken into custody without any arrest memo or warrant, held in illegal detention without being produced before the court and tortured for alleged links with the armed opposition groups or to extract information about the movement of the armed opposition groups.

    The armed opposition groups in Assam were responsible for gross violations of international humanitarian laws especially by targeting the civilians through explosive devices. The armed opposition groups were also responsible for hostage taking, extortions and issuing other threats.

    In 2005, ethnic conflicts flared up in Karbi Anglong district causing internal displacement of more than 44,000 Karbi and Dimasa tribals. These internally displaced persons were sheltered in temporary relief camps in Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills districts in most deplorable conditions.

    Prison conditions were deplorable. According to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), there were a total of 7,565 prisoners against the total sanctioned capacity of 6,215 prisoners, thereby resulting in 21.7% overcrowding as of 31 December 2004. The undertrial prisoners (4,297) constituted 56.8% of the total prisoners.[3] The NHRC registered 11 deaths in judicial custody in the state during 2004-2005.[4] The sick prisoners allegedly did not receive proper medical treatment. On 30 August 2005, Robin Handique, a leader of the ULFA, died while being detained in Tezpur jail allegedly due to lack of proper treatment.[5] Assam also made history by imprisoning one Machang Lalung at LGB Regional Institute of Mental Health in Tezpur for 54 years without any trial. Machang Lalung was released in July 2005 following NHRC's intervention.[6]

    2. Human rights violations by the security forces

    a. Violations of the right to life

    The NHRC registered 4 deaths in police custody, 2 deaths in the custody of the army/paramilitary forces and 1 death in encounter in Assam during 2004-2005.[7] The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of the Government of India failed to record any death in police custody during 2005 in its 2005 Annual Report. Asian Centre for Human Rights documented two deaths in the custody of the police during 2005.

    On the night of 25 January 2005, Dwipen Bayan, a popular sportsperson and social worker of Udalguri area, allegedly died in the custody of Udalguri police station in Udalguri district. He was picked up earlier in the day by the Officer-in-Charge Sub Inspector Mahesh Nath from the Ganesh market area of Udalguri town.[8]

    On 21 December 2005, a tribal identified as Buru Bhumij died due to alleged torture by the police during custody at Mathurapur police station in Sivasagar. The deceased was arrested on 20 December 2005 on non-bailable offences. The deceased's wife claimed that she saw blood oozing out of her husband's mouth when she visited him in the police lock-up on 21 December 2005. The police allegedly allowed the deceased to go home after finding his condition to be serious, although he had been arrested on a non-bailable warrant. Soon after reaching home Bhumij died.[9] The Sivasagar district administration ordered a magisterial inquiry into the death.[10]

    The security forces were responsible for killing of civilians in dubious encounters. The inability to make distinction between civilians and armed groups was highlighted by the fact that on 6 January 2005, Assam police commandos shot dead two army personnel identified as Major Mukesh Chaurasia and Bikash Sensowa (who were in civvies) mistaking them to be ULFA cadres at Na-Khongia village under Tengakhat police station in Dibrugarh district.[11]

    The security forces also killed many alleged innocent civilians as suspected members of the armed opposition groups. The victims included a farmer identified as Deven Lahkar who was killed by the army personnel at Burburi village under Ghograpar police station in Nalbari district on 18 January 2005,[12] two civilians who were killed by the army personnel in civil dress during a search operations at Sialmari Chaur area under Hajo police station in Kamrup district on 25 January 2005 in which the state government of Assam ordered a probe,[13] and alleged ULFA cadre Utpal Das alias Milkha Singh who was killed by the police in an alleged encounter at Sagalpara in the Lokhara area in Guwahati on the night of 12 March 2005.[14]

    The security forces also indiscriminately used firearms. According to National Crime Records Bureau, 8 civilians were killed in police firing during 2005.[15] On 24 September 2005, a tea labourer identified as Ramesh Tangla[16] was killed and three others injured in indiscriminate firing by the police on a mob of workers demanding higher Durga Puja bonus at Monabari Tea Estate in Sonitpur district.[17] Two members of Joint Forest Protection Committee identified as Insaf Ali and Saifuddin Ahmed were also killed in police firing at Boropara under Sipajhar police station near Mangaldoi on 14 May 2005.[18]

    b. Arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture

    Arbitrary arrest, illegal detention, torture and other abuses during cordon and search operations were perpetrated regularly across Assam. Often, the victims were taken into custody without any arrest memo or warrant, held in illegal detentions without being produced before the court and tortured for alleged links with the armed opposition groups or to extract information about the movement of the armed opposition groups. Both the police and the army personnel were responsible for such atrocities.

    The victims who were allegedly subjected to torture at the hands of the security personnel included Alok Basumatary, President of Jharbari unit of All Boro Students' Union (ABSU) who was tortured on 4 May 2005,[19] Mahendra Phukan, headmaster of Sakai Khangia High School in Elengmora area in Jorhat who was tortured on the night of 2 August 2005,[20] Jitul Saikia, Nripen Saikia, and Sonti Saikia who were tortured by the police in May 2005,[21] and a senior citizen identified as Gawhiaindi Daolagupu who was tortured on 9 April 2005 during a search operation in Diphu.[22]

    In May 2005, the Kuki Women Association (KWA) submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Karbi Anglong, demanding immediate intervention into the inhuman atrocities committed by the Assam Police commandos and the CRPF jawans during so-called ‘anti-insurgency operations' to nab the cadres of Kuki Revolutionary Army at various areas in Diphu. Giving some “horrifying examples of inhuman nature” of the security forces, the KWA alleged that minor girls including Hoibem and Vahnu (both 11 years) and Hatsi (13 years) were made to strip naked in front of the CRPF and Assam Police during one such combing operations. The KWA also demanded immediate release of the 57 innocent Kuki villagers, including minors and old men, who were arrested by the security forces during anti-insurgency operations.[23]

    Many incidents of torture and harassment were protested by the civilians. On 22 March 2005, hundreds of men, women and children gheraoed the Deputy Commissioner of Golaghat to protest against atrocities meted out to them by the police in the name of search operations against the armed opposition groups.[24]

    Those who were caught in conflict had to endure sufferings. On 31 August 2005, the 2nd Mountain Division of the army launched operation against the ULFA cadres inside the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park in Tinsukia district and put the two main forest villages, Laika and Dodhia, with a population of about 10,000 people under siege.[25] The villagers had been kept under virtual house arrest as they were not allowed to move out of their villages freely even to fetch the basic necessities such as food and medicine.[26] On 10 September 2005, 8-year-old girl identified as Kajaluati Mili, daughter of Bhadreshwar Mili of Laika, reportedly died due to lack of medical treatment.[27] It was only after the intervention of the Assam State Human Rights Commission[28] and the Guwahati High Court that supply of essential commodities and medicine to the villagers was resumed.[29]

    3. Violations of international humanitarian laws by the AOGs

    The armed opposition groups were responsible for violations of international humanitarian laws especially by targeting the civilians through explosive devices.

    a. Killings

    The United Liberation Front of Assam reportedly claimed responsibility[30] for the serial blasts at Jonai, Mangaldoi, Nazira, and Chagolia on 19 January 2005 in which one person identified as Nirmol Roy was killed and six others seriously injured;[31] and the serial blasts on the night of 8 March 2005[32] in which one police personnel identified as Sub-Inspector Dipak Deori was killed and seven others were injured.[33]

    No armed group claimed responsibility for the grenade blasts on 11 March 2005 carried out in Guwahati and Sivasagar in which one person was killed and at least 20 others injured,[34] and the blasts near Hotel Ambarish at Ganeshguri area in Guwahati on 1 April 2005 in which at least five persons including Pradip Borkoch, Paresh Barua, Manu Barua and Ajit Kalita were seriously injured.[35] The ULFA was suspected of carrying out these blasts.

    The ULFA was also suspected of killing a former ULFA man identified as Lahon Baruah at Barichowka under Patharighat police outpost in Darrang district on 28 February 2005[36] and Sukleswar Medhi, a leader of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), at Balitara village under Ghograpar police station in Nalbari district on 30 August 2005.[37]

    The Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) armed cadres also killed many innocent civilians while enforcing their strikes. On 27 May 2005, three civilians were killed and three others were seriously injured when the members of the KLNLF ambushed their vehicle at Silveta under Howraghat police station in Karbi Anglong district for plying on the road despite a bandh (strike) called by them in protest against the killing of its General Secretary, Harsing Timung.[38] On 30 May 2005, a 7-year-old girl identified as Y Mangaleima, daughter of Prof. Dr Y Jayachandra of Central Agriculture University, Manipur was killed and her mother was injured when KLNLF cadres fired at their vehicle (MN 1K 1210) near Deopani under Bokajan Police Station in Karbi Anglong district despite a bandh called by the outfit.[39]

    b. Extortion

    The armed opposition groups were also responsible for extortion. The Karbi National Volunteers (KNV) and the United People's Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) were widely blamed for extortion.[40]

    Despite signing a ceasefire agreement,[41] the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) allegedly did not end extortion. The construction company engaged to build the 22-km Kokrajhar-Ramfalbil road and the 18-km Gaurang Tinali-Patgaon road in Kokrajhar district had to cease work following alleged extortion demand of Rs 1 crore from the company and intimidation to its workers by the NDFB militants.[42] In Nalbari and Baksa districts, the NDFB cadres reportedly moved about freely with their arms and served extortion notices to service holders and businessmen. The armed opposition group demanded Rs 5 lakh from the District Elementary Education Officer (DEEO), Nalbari, Nagen Ch Boro. On 11 July 2005, some NDFB cadres were caught by the office staff of DEEO and handed over to the police when they came to collect the money.[43]

    4. Ethnic conflicts

    Assam continued to be plagued by unprecedented ethnic conflicts especially in Karbi Anglong district during 2005. While the control over land, resources and establishment of homeland based on ethnicity were some of the root causes, the clear involvement of both the State and the non-State actors had exacerbated the conflicts leading to loss of lives and internal displacement.

    In the conflict between the Karbis and Dimasas which began on 26 September 2005, about 90 persons were killed before the conflict was brought under control by the first week of November 2005. The victims included 76 Karbis, 11 Dimasas, 1 Bodo, 1 Bengali and 1 Nepali.[44] An estimated 1,014 houses - 534 houses of Karbis, 469 of Dimasas, and 1 of Nepali were burnt down.[45] The conflict displaced over 44,000 persons.

    The ethnic clash started on 2 October 2005 following the killing of three Dimasa autorickshaw drivers on 26 September 2005. On 2 October 2005 at around 1.00 am suspected members belonging to the Dima Halom Daoga (DHD) allegedly barged into the house of the headman of Karbi village of Hemari Terang under Diphu police station in Karbi Anglong and asked all the male members of the family to come out. The five family members Sing Terang, Jacod Terang, Risobasa Terang, Chandra Terang and Sar-im Terang were then taken to a nearby paddy field and their hands were tied up before they were hacked to death using machetes and crude implements.[46]

    On 8 October 2005, eight Karbis, including women and children were killed at Walingdisa village under Dhansiri police station. About 60 houses were also burnt down in the village by a group of around 150 miscreants dressed in army fatigues. The victims were identified as Kolomsing Rongpi, Shanti Killingpi (2 years), Rupsing Hanse (16 years), Bilat Killingpi, Paniram Engleng, Elish Englengpi, Tensing Killing and Kison Killing (5 years).[47]

    On 9 October 2005, seven Karbis and one Nepali were killed and about 130 houses, all belonging to Karbi people, set ablaze in twelve different villages including Monsing Ingti gaon, Bura Terang gaon, Kangthar Kro gaon, Norik Teron gaon, Diliram Terang gaon and Longso under Diphu and Bokajan police stations. Those killed were identified as Mr Kamising Tisso, Master Sanjib Tisso alias Bishnu (5 years), Mr Bura Phangchao, Mr Sar Timung, Mr Hemar Terang, Mr Sarthe Kramsa and Mr Klaret Dera and Mr Ram Prasad Sharma.[48]

    The Karbi armed groups reportedly hit back by killing at least five Dimasa tribesmen, including women and torching of 63 houses in Kheroni village early in the morning of 10 October 2005. A group of about 20 armed Karbis accompanied by over 200 villagers, armed with sharp weapons, allegedly attacked Khenori village and shot dead five Dimasas besides setting ablaze 63 houses.[49] The deceased were identified as Ms Rahila Diphusa, Mr Archikgra Hasnu, Ms Saibodi Doulagajau, Mr Ronga Sing Diphusa, Mr Thramparam Daulagupu. Eighty six houses - 15 at Loringlangso, 40 at Bijoy Rongpigaon, 15 at Mensing Hanse gaon near Doldoli, eight at Dokiju Dimaja gaon near Borlangpher villages and seven in Diphu town under Diphu Police Station were reportedly set on fire by miscreants during the night of 10 October 2005 and in the morning of 11 October 2005.[50]

    The orgy of ethnic violence between the Karbis and Dimasas further escalated on 17 October 2005 with 34 more persons being killed and four injured by members of the armed opposition groups at Charchim. The mayhem began at 6.40 am when about 20 to 25 members of the armed opposition groups in military fatigues armed with sophisticated weapons reportedly stopped two buses numbering (AS-09-3896) and (AS-09-4743) at Charchim village and asked the Karbi passengers to get down and line up on the road. Five passengers of bus No. (AS-09-3896) that was going from Mokailum to Hamren were shot dead and the bus was then set afire which claimed five more lives. Ten passengers of the other bus (AS-09-4743), bound for Diphu from Mokailum, were also reportedly hacked to death with sharp weapons. The members of the armed opposition groups then attacked two villages of Waingdisagaon and Disagisamgaon and killed 14 more persons and injured four others. About 26 houses were burnt down in Waingdisagaon and four more in nearby Disagisamgaon.[51]

    During the night of 17 October 2005, seven more Karbi youth were shot dead allegedly by Dimasa armed cadres at Doyangmukh village while a young boy was killed at Barlongfar. In an immediate retaliatory action, Karbi miscreants burnt down about 130 houses belonging to the Dimasas at Tumprang in Hamreng sub-division and Barlangfar and Diphu-Manja areas under Diphu police station.[52]

    Asian Centre for Human Rights during its field visit in November 2005 received complaints of the involvement of various factions of the armed opposition groups, UPDS and DHD, in the killings.

    5. Violence against women

    The National Crime Records Bureau recorded 6,027 cases of violence against women in Assam during 2005 which, among others, included 1,238 rape cases, 899 molestation cases, 1456 kidnapping cases, 99 dowry deaths, 2206 cases of cruelty by husbands and relatives.[53]

    Women continued to be victims of violence across Assam as exemplified by two incidents. First, on 9 January 2005, former minister of Assam, Rajendra Mushahary was arrested for allegedly raping his 12-year-old housemaid in Gossaigaon in Kokrajhar district.[54] Second, on 23 December 2005, the personnel of Indian Reserve Battalion of Haryana shot dead three Boro tribals identified as Thomas Basumatary, Ramen Moshahary, and Raju Basumatary who were protesting against the molestation of eight girls of Gossaigaon College who had boarded the 4056 UP Brahmaputra Mail at Salakati railway station under Basugaon in Kokrajhar district of Assam.[55] On 24 October 2005, the Government Railway Police detained six IRB personnel including two officers and four constables in connection with the incident.[56] Several separate probes into the incident were ordered.[57]

    Women in rural Assam were target of sexual violence by the central security forces and the State police. They were molested, physically assaulted and raped. On 7 February 2005, a 12-year-old girl was allegedly raped by an Assam Rifles constable identified as Gautam Tamang in Karbi Anglong. In her statement before the Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court in Diphu the victim alleged that she had been beaten up, scratched and then made unconscious with sleeping tablets and raped by the Assam Rifles jawan. The victim showed her injury marks to the journalists in the court. Medical examination reportedly confirmed repeated sexual assault.[58] The accused Gautam Tamang and his two women accomplices were arrested.[59]

    On 11 March 2005, a jawan of 122nd Central Reserve Police Force identified as Brij Kishore Shah was arrested by the police from Chandmari, Guwahati, on charges of molesting a woman activist of the Bharatiya Janata Party after a group of BJP activists including the victim were detained by the security forces at the Assam Engineering Institute playground. The accused CRPF jawan who was on duty took the victim to a corner of the playground and allegedly molested her. A case was registered against the accused at Chandmari police station under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code. The Kamrup (metropolitan) district administration ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.[60]

    a. Cultural cruelties: Witch killing

    In Assam, the practice of “witch killing” was rampant, particularly in Adivasi and Bodo-dominated tribal areas under Bodoland Territorial Council. In February 2005, a Bodo tribal couple was killed for allegedly practising witchcraft and the killers even carried the two severed heads in the streets as trophies at Alengi Bazar village in Kokrajhar district.[61] This was followed up by the alleged rape and murder of Anjula Basumatary and Nani Basumatary by some youths on 16 April 2005,[62] and killings of Ms Jengreng and her daughter Phedaf in Chirang district on 24 April 2005 on the charges of being “witches”.[63]

    Between May 2005 and 9 September 2005, at least 17 persons, including five couples, were reportedly killed on the charges of practicing black magic in Bodoland areas.[64] The victims included Pulen Basumatary and his wife Gonsi of Kathalguri village who were killed in Kokrajhar in June 2005,[65] Nanda Wary  and his wife Anila Basumatary at Longkapara village in Kokrajhar in August 2005,[66] Dulal Basumatary of Badarpur forest village at Jharbari under Serfanguri police station on 4 September 2005.[67] Another person identified as Chatu Tirki was killed in connection with witchcraft at No. 1 Daolabari village in Kokrajhar on 17 November 2005.[68]

    Several cases of witch killing were also reported from areas outside the Bodoland Territorial Council. These included killing of one Dega Basumatary by three villagers - Somnath Basumatary, Adei Basumatary and Sanjoy Basumatary at Kamaradshia near Indo-Bhutan border under Patacharkuchi Police Station in Barpeta district in August 2005,[69] and killing of Mr Pinpina Turi and Ms Golapi Bhumij at Rajmai Tea Estates in Sivasagar on 20 November 2005.[70]

    In some cases, the innocent villagers were expelled from the village territory on the charges of practicing black magic. In October 2005, the villagers of Boromalga under Salkocha police station in Kokrajhar passed a resolution asking one Rohendra Basumatary to leave the village on the charges of practicing witchcraft. The powerful All Bodo Students' Union, Kokrajhar district unit, tried to intervene but a group of villagers armed with sharp weapons reportedly ransacked Rohendra's house and threatened to kill him and his family members if they failed to leave the place immediately. Rohendra had to flee to save his life.[71]

    6. Violations of the rights of the indigenous/tribal peoples

    Assam is the land of hundreds of indigenous communities who are divided into two main groups - plain tribes and hill tribes. Many tribal groups who were excluded from the Scheduled Tribes list have been demanding for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes list.

    Rampant corruption and misuse of funds meant for the development of tribal areas continued to plague the affirmative action programmes. The Bodo Sahitya Sabha alleged that an amount of Rs 25 lakh was sanctioned under a tribal welfare scheme for 25 schools in Jalukbari, Guwahati; but not a single school in the tribal areas was benefited from the project. Similarly, Rs 1,20,50,000 was sanctioned for a tribal welfare project in August 2004; but the fund allegedly never found its way to the tribal communities.[72]

    The funds allocated for development of tribal areas was diverted for use in non-tribal areas. The Plains Tribes Development Department had approved a project worth Rs 77,83,600 from which about 80 per cent was diverted for use in non-tribal areas. From that amount Rs 35,83,600 was diverted for the construction of a community assembly hall in Sualkuchi which did not have any tribal population.[73] The tribals have been deprived of the benefits of the Integrated Tribal Development Project of Dhemaji district. The allotment of work meant for the tribal people was allegedly given to non-tribal people.[74]

    The state government of Assam also failed to fill up a total of 29,792 backlog posts reserved for the scheduled tribes.[75]

    Land alienation continued unabated in Assam. According to a report of The Sentinel of 7 April 2005, a report tabled before the State Assembly on 6 April 2005 stated that over 2.20 lakh bighas of tribal land has either been transferred to or encroached upon by non-tribals in the state. This included tribal land measuring 1,77,082 bighas in Lakhimpur, 518 bighas in Goalpara , 4,867 bighas in Nalbari , 4,451 bighas in Barpeta, 14,895 bighas in Dhemaji, 417 bighas in Morigaon, 5,366 bighas in Dhubri, 2,21,257 bighas in Udalguri and 196 bighas in Kamrup district.

    On 22 February 2005, the Gauhati High Court pursuant to a Public Interest Litigation filed in 2002 reportedly granted land rights to the 500 Garo refugee families settled in Kharikhana village of Karbi Anglong after they fled the then East Pakistan during the partition of the country in 1947.[76]

    During eviction drive in June-July 2005 by the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council and the Forest department against the indigenous peoples at Doldoli Reserve Forest, 97 houses were demolished, including 52 houses of the Bodo community, 29 houses of the Karbi community, 10 houses of the Nagas and six houses of the Nepali community.[77]

    7. Violations of the rights of the child

    Children continued to be victims of violence, trafficking and lack of institutional mechanisms for administration of juvenile justice. The National Crime Records Bureau recorded 199 cases of crime against children in Assam during 2005 which included, among others, 12 murder cases, 90 rape cases and 18 kidnapping cases.[78]

    a. Trafficking

    An estimated 500 women and minor girls are trafficked from the state of Assam every year. Only 22 cases were registered with the police during 2000-2005 based on which 44 people were arrested. Guwahati has been identified as the main transit point for trafficking of women from North Eastern states to other parts of the country, particularly Siliguri, Kolkata and New Delhi. A study conducted by an NGO, Global Organisation for Life Development, found that 48 per cent of sex workers at Khalpara in Siliguri were from Assam and three per cent from the other North-Eastern states. As many as 70 per cent of these girls were found to be below 20 years of age.[79]

    More than 670 children, including 349 girls, were reportedly trafficked from Assam during 2004. Only 217 of them could be traced by the police. 684 children were reported missing in 2003, 679 in 2002 and 1065 in 2001 from different parts of Assam.[80]

    b. Juvenile justice

    The security forces seldom respect the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2000. On 21 January 2005, the Black Panthers of Assam Police arrested ten-year-old Rishra Basumatary, a student of Class III, on the “charge of playing with a toy gun” and kept him in the lock-up in Howraghat police station throughout the night.[81]

    The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act provides for establishment of juvenile homes but the State government failed to establish such homes in sufficient number. Those which had been in existence were in shambles. The Juvenile Home in the Fatasil Ambari area of Guwahati had virtually been in ruins without even the basic amenities.[82] The Dagaon Nirachroyee Sishu Bhavan in Jorhat, an orphanage established in 1975, had not received any aid for functioning from the State Government since 1994. The orphanage had been running on voluntary donations.[83]

    8. Violations of the prisoners' rights

    Prison conditions remained deplorable in Assam. According to NHRC, there were a total of 7,565 prisoners against the total sanctioned capacity of 6,215 prisoners, thereby resulting in 21.7% overcrowding as of 31 December 2004. The undertrial prisoners (4,297) constituted 56.8% of the total prisoners.[84]

    The NHRC recorded 11 deaths in judicial custody during 2004-2005.[85]

    In a case of judicial delay and gross negligence of the administration, in July 2005 the Kamrup Chief Judicial Magistrate released Machang Lalung on a token personal bond of Rupee 1 from LGB Regional Institute of Mental Health.[86] Lalung was an under-trial for 54 years and he was never produced before any court. The National Human Rights Commission had intervened with regard to Lalung and four other under-trials at the LGB Regional Institute of Mental Health - Khalilur Rehman, an under trial for 35 years, Anil Kumar Burman, an under trial prisoner for 33 years, Sonamani Deb, an under-trial prisoners for 32 years, and  Parbati Mallik for 32 years.[87]  On 11 November 2005, the Supreme Court issued notices to the state government of Assam questioning the illegal detention of Lalung.[88]

    In June 2005, it was reported that a fact-finding delegation sent under the direction of the Gauhati High Court to examine the state of affairs of Kokrajhar district jail in Assam reportedly found, among others, that the jail wards were utterly filthy, the inmates were being served poor quality food, forced to drink water directly from the tube-wells, and deprived of speedy justice. The latrines, urinals and the septic tanks released horrible stench. Mosquitoes created havoc for the inmates, yet they were not provided with mosquito nets. There was lack of even primary medical facilities. A woman detainee had been suffering for a long time with multiple diseases but she was not getting proper attention. A male inmate with grenade splinters injury had not been taken to Guwahati Medical College Hospital despite the doctors referring his case. There were 189 prisoners, including 185 males and 4 females in the Kokrajhar district jail.[89]

    Assam State Human Rights Commission criticized the denial of proper treatment to two detained ULFA leaders, Mithinga Daimari and Ramu Mech. On 3 September 2005, Assam government decided to shift Ramu Mech, who was suffering from acute eye ailment to all India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.[90]

    On 30 August 2005, Robin Handique, an advisor of the ULFA, died while being detained in Tezpur jail. Handique, who was suffering from kidney ailments and diabetes, was brought to the Guwahati Medical College Hospital for treatment two weeks earlier but was taken back to Tezpur Jail immediately after his condition showed signs of improvement.[91] In September 2005, Assam Human Rights Commission ordered a magisterial enquiry into the death of Robin Handique.[92]

    9. Status of the Internally Displaced Persons

    Assam had large number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) including 33,362 persons in Kokrajhar district and 74,123 persons in Gosaigaon district.[93] In addition, about 44,071 Karbi and Dimasa tribals were displaced during the Karbi-Dimasa ethnic conflict which began in September 2005 in the Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills districts.

    On 1 February 2005, General Secretary of the Jaraintola Reserve Khasi Punjee, Mr Labanmon Pohthmi stated that the Assam Government's eviction drive had forced 881 Khasi families to flee the Borghat Forest Reserve areas in South Cachar Hills to seek alternative shelter in Meghalaya. These families, despite having lived there for decades, did not possess any official document or land patta to prove the ownership of their land holdings.[94]

    The Assam government also failed to rehabilitate those displaced in Bodoland areas. According to All Assam Minority Students' Union (AAMSU) president Nazir Uddin Ahmed, about 450 people had died due to lack of proper food and healthcare facilities in the camps.[95] The Assam Government released Rs 3.52 crores vide government's leter No BRR 17/200/05 dated 25 April 2005 for rehabilitation of the Muslim refugees living in various relief camps in Bongaigaon district since 1993. According to Deputy Commissioner of Bongaigaon district, Mukesh Sahu, out of 1,760 displaced families in Bongaigaon district, 209 families of Tapattary area were given settlement by providing one house each under the Indira Awaz Yajona in government land. Moreover, Rs 10,000 were paid to each of the 1,551 families to return to their respective areas. In reality about 1,006 families had not left the camps by October 2005.[96]

    The IDP camp conditions were deplorable across Assam. During its field mission in November 2005, Asian Centre for Human Rights found camp conditions to be extremely deplorable in Karbi Anglong district. The camps were extremely overcrowded, and most inmates had to sleep in the open. Apart from rice, dal and chirra, the government had not provided adequate clothes, cash doles to buy vegetables or firewood. In Karbi Anglong district, there were 32,871 inmates as of 30 October 2005 but the State government had provided only 8,504 plates. Therefore, four IDPs had to share a plate. The government had failed to take preventive measures against the spread of malaria. There were about 200 pregnant women in the relief camps without any medical facilities and babies were delivered inside the camps. Out of the 44,071 inmates, 17, 971 or overwhelming 40.78% were listed as minors. A large number of them were babies and infants. Yet, no baby food was supplied. The state government had provided only 6,964 blankets for 44,016 internally displaced persons. In addition, out of 53 camps in Karbi Anglong, 32 were schools thereby affecting the right to education across the district.



    [1]. NDFB signs truce pact, The Assam Tribune, 26 May 2005 

    [2]. HC seeks info on ‘missing' ULFA leaders, The Shillong Times, 28 July 2005 

    [3]. NHRC's prison population statistics

    [4]. 2004-2005 Annual Report of NHRC of India 

    [5]. Activists demand probe into ULFA advisor's death, Deccan Herald, 1 September 2005

    [6]. SC issues notice to State Govt over jail inmate, The Assam Tribune, 12 November 2005 

    [7]. 2004-2005 Annual Report of NHRC of India

    [8]. Probe ordered into killing of Dwipen Bayan, The Assam Tribune, 31 January 2005

    [9]. Detainee dies in police assault?, The Sentinel, 25 December 2005

    [10]. Probe into ‘torture' death, The Telegraph, 26 December 2005 

    [11]. Armymen shot in Assam goof-up, The Statesman, 8 January 2005 

    [12]. Army killing sparks furore in Nalbari, The Assam Tribune, 19 January 2005

    [13]. Two shot dead by Army, The Deccan Chronicle, 27 January 2005 

    [14]. AHRC asks DGP to submit report, The Sentinel, 17 March  2005

    [15]. 2005 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [16]. Killing of Monabari TE labourer in police firing - Foul cry over probe process, The Sentinel, 1 December 2005 

    [17]. Tea worker killed in police firing, The Sentinel, 25 September 2005

    [18]. Adequate compensation to police firing victims urged, The Assam Tribune, 28 May 2005

    [19]. Protest over ‘torture' of Absu leader, The Telegraph, 5 May 2005

    [20]. AASU, AJYCP flay Army ‘action' against school teacher, The Sentinel, 6 August 2005

    [21]. Atrocities of Merapani police, CRPF condemned, The Sentinel, 17 May 2005

    [22].  ‘Atrocities' on civilians condemned, people threaten stir, The Sentinel, 22 April 2005 

    [23]. Minor girls were made to strip naked: Kuki Women Association - ‘Atrocities' of Assam Police, CRPF on Kukis alleged, memo submitted, The Sentinel, 9 May 2005

    [24]. Golaghat DC gheraoed over police atrocities, The Assam Triune, 25 March 2005 

    [25]. Common people hit hard by Army action, The Assam Tribune, 26 September 2005 

    [26]. Protest against Army rigidity continues - Mishap toll 4; Miliki joins rally, The Sentinel, 24 September 2005 

    [27]. Army operation against ULFA ultras brings untold miseries for Tinsukia villagers - Villagers caught between devil and deep sea, The Sentinel, 14 September 2005 

    [28]. AHRC demands report on rights violation - Army operation in Dibru-Saikhowa, The Sentinel, 27 September 2005

    [29]. AGP censures Army; wants Rights panel to intervene, The Indian Express, 30 September 2005 

    [30]. ULFA owns up serial blasts, The Assam Tribune, 21 January 2005 

    [31]. Blasts, grenade attacks, arson rock Assam, The Sentinel, 20 January 2005

    [32]. Bomb attacks on, ULFA claims responsibility, The Sentinel, 11 March 2005

    [33]. Serial blasts rock State; 1 killed, 7 hurt, The Sentinel, 10 March 2005 

    [34]. 1 killed, 20 hurt in grenade blasts in city, Sivasagar, The Assam Tribune, 12 March 2005 

    [35]. ULFA terror run returns, The Sentinel, 2 April 2005 

    [36]. SULFA man shot dead, The Sentinel, 1 March 2005 

    [37]. RSS leader gunned down by ULFA militants, The Sentinel, 31 August 2005 

    [38]. KLNLF kills 3 at Howraghat, The Sentinel, 28 May 2005 

    [39]. Minor girl shot dead by ultras, The Assam Tribune, 2 June 2005 

    [40]. Extortion by Karbi rebels worries Jaintia villagers, The Sentinel, 2 March 2005 

    [41]. NDFB signs truce pact, The Assam Tribune, 26 May 2005 

    [42]. Extortion slur on NDFB, The Telegraph, 30 June 2005 

    [43]. NDFB extortion on despite ceasefire, The Assam Tribune, 16 July 2005 

    [44]. Findings of Asian Centre for Human Rights

    [45]. 72 lives lost, 1,014 houses burnt: Govt, The Sentinel, 20 October 2005 

    [46]. Tribals kill five in ethnic clash in Assam, The Hindustan Times, 4 October 2005 

    [47]. 8 killed, 60 houses burnt as KA bleeds, The Sentinel, 9 October 2005

    [48]. Six more killed in Karbi Anglong violence, The Assam Tribune, 10 October 2005

    [49].  ‘Shift DHD designated camp from Dhansiri' - Karbis hit back, kill five Dimasas, The Sentinel, 11 October 2005 

    [50]. 86 houses set ablaze in Karbi Anglong, The Assam Tribune, 12 October 2005 

    [51]. 34 massacred in Karbi Anglong, The Assam Tribune, 18 October 2005 

    [52]. Assam bleeds as Karbi killings continue, The Shillong Times, 19 October 2005 

    [53]. 2005 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [54]. Former minister arrested for rape, The Telegraph, 10 January 2005

    [55]. 4 killed in firing at Salakati - IRB personnel molest college girls in train, The Sentinel, 24 December 2005 

    [56]. GRP detains 6 IRB personnel, The Assam Tribune, 25 December 2005 

    [57]. Govt sets up panel to probe incident, The Assam Tribune, 25 December 2005 

    [58]. 12-yr-old raped by AR constable, The Sentinel, 10 February 2005 

    [59]. Rape taints Assam Rifles again, The Telegraph, 10 February 2005 

    [60]. Molestation charge on jawan, The Telegraph, 12 March 2005 

    [61]. Two lynched for witchcraft, The Asian Age, 6 February 2005 

    [62]. BTC fails to tackle witch hunting cases, The Sentinel, 9 September 2005 

    [63].  ‘Witches' killed in Assam, The Telegraph, 27 April 2005

    [64]. BTC fails to tackle witch hunting cases, The Sentinel, 9 September 2005 

    [65]. Witch craft: couple killed, The Sentinel, 12 June 2005

    [66]. Couple killed for ‘practising witchcraft', The Sentinel, 12 August 2005 

    [67]. BTC fails to tackle witch hunting cases, The Sentinel, 9 September 2005 

    [68].  “Witch hunt” claims one more life?, The Sentinel, 20 November 2005 

    [69]. One killed for witchcraft, The Sentinel, 11 August 2005 

    [70]. 2 killed for ‘witch craft', The Sentinel, 22 November 2005 

    [71]. Witch hunting: Life threat to man, The Sentinel, 17 October 2005 

    [72].  ‘Dissolve tribal devp project', The Assam Tribune, 5 January 2005 

    [73]. Ibid

    [74]. Anomalies in tribal welfare fund alleged; Narah under scanner, The Sentinel, 7 April 2005 

    [75]. 29,792 backlog posts for ST yet to be filled up - Tribal body flays Government indifference, The Sentinel, 17 December 2005 

    [76]. HC verdict favours land rights for tribals, The Assam Tribune, 14 April 2005 

    [77]. Eviction drive in Karbi Anglong - ADSU flays eviction of indigenous people, The Sentinel, 5 July 2005 

    [78]. 2005 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [79]. Assam turns into hub of women, child trafficking, The Telegraph, 14 September 2005 

    [80]. State's missing children falling prey to immoral trafficking, The Assam Tribune, 28 September 2005 

    [81]. Ten-year-old arrested, The Sentinel, 24 January 2005 

    [82]. Juvenile home brims over with woes, The Telegraph, 9 May 2005 

    [83]. Jorhat orphanage running without Govt aid, The Sentinel, 4 November 2005 

    [84]. NHRC's prison population statistics

    [85]. 2004-2005 Annual Report of NHRC of India 

    [86]. SC issues notice to State Govt over jail inmate, The Assam Tribune, 12 November 2005 

    [87]. Ibid

    [88]. 54 yrs without trial in jail, SC issues notice, The Sangaiexpress, 12 November 2005

    [89]. Kokrajhar jail authority's apathy adds to inmates' woes, The Assam Tribune, 29 June 2005  

    [90]. Rights body pulls up Assam jail admin, The Shillong Times, 6 September 2005

    [91]. Activists demand probe into ULFA advisor's death, Deccan Herald, 1 September 2005  

    [92]. AHRC orders probe into Robin Handique's death, The Assam Tribune, 3 September 2005 

    [93]. Assam's paths of violence, BBC, 9 December 2005, available at  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4511378.stm  

    [94].  ‘Assam evicted hundreds of Khasis', The Sentinel, 2 February 2005 

    [95]. Fates of 25,000 refugee families in doldrums - Rehabilitation of riot-hit victims:  AAMSU to move AHRC, The Sentinel, 2 March 2005 

    [96]. State Govt sanctions Rs 3.5 Cr, The Sentinel, 30 October 2005  

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