• Tripura

    1. Overview. 1
    2. Human rights violations by the security forces 1
    3. Violations of international humanitarian laws by the AOGs 3
    a. Deprivation of the right to life. 3
    4. Violence against women. 4
    5. Status of the Internally Displaced Persons 5
    6. Special Focus: ESCRs of the tribals 5
    a. Right to health. 6
    b. Right to education. 6
    c. Right to food. 6

    1. Overview

    Ruled by Communist Party of India, Tripura witnessed serious human rights violations perpetrated by both the security forces and the armed opposition groups in 2005.

    According to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, 21 alleged members of the armed opposition groups, 11 security forces and 28 civilians were killed in Tripura in 2005.[1]

    Violence against women increased during the year. According to official estimates, as many as 41 cases of crime against women including dowry death and sexual harassment were reported in July 2005 alone.[2] In March 2005, the National Human Rights Commission informed Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) that pursuant to the ACHR complaint (5/23/2003-2004-WC) pertaining the rape of a minor tribal girl, three Special Police Officers Sudhir Mullick, Sudip Saha and Surjya Das were arrested and that victim was awarded compensation of Rs 50,000 by the State Government of Tripura.

    Tripura also faced serious displacement problem. According to an official source more than 100,000 tribals and 300,000 non-tribals were displaced over the past decade due to insurgency.[3]

    The tribals continued to suffer from lack of access to education, health care and food.

    2. Human rights violations by the security forces

    The National Crime Records Bureau of the Government of India recorded two deaths in police custody in Tripura during 2005.[4] The NHRC had registered 1 death in police custody during 2004-2005.[5]

    Often, custodial deaths were dismissed as suicide deaths. On 11 August 2005, Amar Chandra Das, employee with State Bank of India, was allegedly tortured to dead by sub-inspector Dipen Debbarma and constable, Ranjit Debbarma who had beaten him with belt and clubs at Subroom police station in South Tripura district. The deceased was picked up by the police while returning from Dak Banglow on the previous night.[6] The deceased's body reportedly bore deep cut marks and bruises including in the head and genitals. However, the police claimed that he committed suicide using his shirt.[7]

    The security forces were responsible for extrajudicial killing of civilians during anti-insurgency operations. The victims included Budhu Debbarma, a school student, who was killed when police fired at a tribal mob at Mandai under Jirania police station of West Tripura demanding withdrawal of two Tripura State Rifles (TSR) camps in the area on 31 January 2005;[8] an unidentified tribal youth who was killed by Tripura State Rifles personnel allegedly in cold blood after using him as a guide in Sadar subdivision on 22 March 2005;[9] and Akkas Ali who was killed by Border Security Force (BSF) personnel while working at his field near the border in North Tripura on 1 July 2005.[10]

    The police were responsible for indiscriminate use of fire-arms. According to National Crime Records Bureau, 18 civilians were killed and 9 civilians injured in police firing in the state during 2005.[11]

    In March 2005, Jhantu Das, a lorry driver, was killed and three others were injured when BSF personnel led by Assistant Commandant W Rajendra Singh of 46 Bn BSF resorted to indiscriminate firing at the premises of Kalamchoura police station in West Tripura district. The deceased had reportedly gone to the police station to lodge a complaint against the BSF personnel.[12] On 2 April 2005, the Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM) of Sonamura in West Tripura district, Manik Lal Chakraborty issued an arrest warrant against six BSF personnel including Assistant Commandant W Rajendra Singh on the charge of killing Jhantu Das.[13]

    Arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture were common. In September 2005, Rajesh Debbarma, resident of Dayarampara in West Tripura district, reportedly sustained injuries after being tortured by jawans of Tripura State Rifles after being arrested on fake charges.[14] On 6 September 2005, Zasimuddin, son of Hasemuddin, local CPM leader of Nayapara, was reportedly tortured in custody by sub-inspector Suman Acharya attached to Kadamtala police station under Dharmanagar sub-division in North Tripura district on charge of theft. The policeman was reportedly suspended.[15]

    3. Violations of international humanitarian laws by the AOGs

    a. Deprivation of the right to life

    The armed opposition groups were also responsible for deprivation of the right to life. As many as 39 people were killed in 41 insurgency related incidents in 2005.[16]

    The victims included Parimal Sukladas, truck driver, who was killed by the cadres of National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT-Biswamohan faction) at Bagaigota in West Tripura district on the night of 21 January 2005;[17] tribal youth Alindra Tripura who was killed with a sharp weapon by unidentified men at his house at Rambadra under Natunbazar police station of South Tripura district on 5 March 2005;[18] two railway workers who were killed by militants while returning from work at Swapnabari under the Atharamura Hill ranges in West Tripura on 16 April 2005;[19] Dominic Hrankhawl, an engineer with the Oil and Natural Gas Commission who was killed by alleged All Tripura Tiger Force at Montfort village in West Tripura district on the night of 17 April 2005;[20] Ashok Kumar Chakma, Swapanjay Chakma, Bakrabahu Chakma, Sushanta Chakma and Arogya Chakma who were killed by alleged NLFT militants in remote villages of Jorendrapara and Madanjaypara under Raisyabari police station in Dhalai district on the midnight of 10 May 2005;[21] tribal CPM leader Kishore Debbarma who was killed by alleged National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) militants belonging to the Biswamohan faction at Shanitola under Sidhai police station in Sadar (north) district on 15 May 2005;[22] Manoj Debbarma who was killed by alleged National Liberation Front of Tripura militants in West Tripura district on the night of 23 May 2005;[23] Premadamoyee Debnath, Amulya Debnath, Amar Chan Debnath, Aurobindo Debnath (4), Nirodh Debnath, Fulkumari Debnath (female), Niva Debnath (female) and Chapala Debnath (female) who were killed by alleged Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) at their village near Bridabanghat in West Tripura district on 25 September 2005;[24] two CPM leaders Kartik Tripura who was killed by NLFT militants for defying their diktat in Manughat in Dhalai district and Bidya Debbarma from Champaknagar who was killed by Tripura Tiger Force militants in October;[25] Anil Kanti Sen who was killed by alleged NLFT cadres at his house at Kanchanpur under Ambassa police station in Dhalai district on night of 30 October 2005;[26] and Santarai and Laxmi Debbarma who were killed by alleged Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT-BM) in Khowai subdivision in West Tripura district on 28 December 2005.[27]

    The AOGs also kidnapped many people. Those who were kidnapped included Paltu Banik, Ramani Deb and Debendra Sarkar who were kidnapped by alleged National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT-BM) cadres at Ranasaipara under Ambassa police station on 17 January 2005;[28] Ashok Paul who was kidnapped by alleged National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT-BM) at Basanaroujapara under Manu police station on 26 January 2005;[29] Pradip Deb and Ranjan Paul who were kidnapped by NLFT-BM cadres at Dewanbari village under Killa police station on 1 April 2005;[30] Subrata Sil and Suman who were kidnapped by NLFT cadres at Hildi in North Tripura district on the night of 9 May 2005;[31] Nabalata Debbarma and Sukhini who were kidnapped by All Tripura Tiger Force at Jyotilalapara under Jirania police station in West Tripura district on 25 May 2005;[32] Dipankar, son of Ramani Debnath who was kidnapped by alleged NLFT-BM cadres at Bagber under Kalyanpur police station in West Tripura district on 7 June 2005;[33] Five teachers, Phanindra Shil, Parimal Deb, Ms Rita Paul, Bijay Debbarma and Akhil Debbarma, who were kidnapped by alletged All Tripura Tiger Force from Utalbari under Khowai subdivision on 27 July 2005;[34] defeated congress candidate Prasenjit Debbarma from Ramchandragahat Assembly constituency who was kidnapped by alleged ATTF outfits from Manaicherra under Khowai police station in West Tripura district on 8 September 2005;[35] Ram Mohan Tripura and Suwel who were kidnapped by National Liberation front of Tripura cadres at Chayakumarpara under Langthorai valley police station in Dhalai district on 4 October 2005;[36] and Jantrana Tripura, tribal CPM leader and chairman of village development committee under the Autonomous District Council in South Tripura who was kidnapped by alleged National Liberation Front of Tripura on 2 November 2005.[37]

    4. Violence against women

    The National Crime Records Bureau recorded 840 cases of violence against women in Tripura during 2005, which included 162 rape cases, 161 molestation cases, 43 kidnapping cases, 34 dowry death cases, 439 cases of cruelty by husbands and relatives, among others.[38]

    Although the state government made the Marriage Recording Act mandatory, it failed to bring down dowry cases. The state government reportedly announced a plan of Rs 149.82 crore to improve the living condition of women through various schemes.[39]

    The security forces were responsible for sexual abuses. In December 2005, two Tripura State Rifles personnel were arrested for raping a tribal housewife under the guise of NLFT militants.[40]

    The women were victims of trafficking. On 24 May 2005, police reportedly arrested five Panjabi businessmen allegedly engaged in trafficking[41] and rescued two tribal girls identified as Fulkumari Tripura and Debanjana Tripura of Raishyabari from being trafficked to a brothel in north Indian states.[42]

    5. Status of the Internally Displaced Persons

    There were over one lakh people displaced due to militancy in the state. The government failed to rehabilitate them.[43]

    The ongoing project of barbed wire fencing along the Tripura-Bangladesh border also uprooted about 40,000 people from their homes.[44] They were not provided rehabilitation. About 11,375 hectares of cultivable land belonging to farmers fell outside the international border due to the border fencing.[45]

    6. Special Focus: ESCRs of the tribals

    Although the Government of India announced several schemes for the development of the tribals and the Karbong tribals of Tripura were on the verge of extinction due to government's apathy. Only 23 families comprising of about 100 members of Karbong tribe were reportedly surviving. They were extremely poor, illiterate and without basic amenities. The only primary school in Karbong Para village was set up in 1989 by the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council, but it started to function only from 1993. Three teachers were appointed and fifteen students enrolled in the first batch. However, most of the students left the school even before they reached the third standard due to financial problems.[46]

    In October 2005, the State government announced a plan to regroup over 5,883 tribal families. In Dhalai district, over 3000 families had been identified as beneficiaries.  The beneficiaries were to be engaged in different cultivations like medicinal plants, bamboo & cane etc for their livelihood.  As many as 1326 families, mostly poor and jumma people would be rehabilitated around the Rohidapara Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC) in the district, while Naitongcherra, Hathimatha and Jeolcherra JFMC were being identified as other rehabilitation places.[47]

    Although the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) comprises two-third of the state's total area and the tribals formed one-third of the state's total population, the TTAADC remained under developed. The TTAADC had always been denied its due share of fund.[48]

    a. Right to health

    The tribals had little access to healthcare facilities. Despite claim by the State Health Minister Tapan Chakraborty in September 2005 that only 11 persons died of malaria,[49] independent sources stated that enteric Malaria and other water borne disease claimed about 50 lives during the last two weeks of March 2005 alone.[50] In June 2005, seven persons reportedly died of malaria and enteric diseases in Kamalpur and Dharmanagar sub-divisions.[51]

    In many rural areas the health centres did not function properly due to insurgency and shortage of adequate doctors and para-medical staff. As many as 1,062 health sub-centres and 72 primary health centres were reportedly not functioning as on 1 April 2005. There were 227 vacancies for the posts of doctors.[52]

    b. Right to education

    Schools in Tripura especially in tribal dominated areas were in deplorable conditions. There were serious shortages of teachers. Besides, as many as 38 schools in tribal areas were being used by security forces as security camps to counter insurgency. There was no school at Shivbari village in North Tripura district where about 73 Reang families lived. The only school run under the Sarba Shiksha Abhijan scheme was closed down since long.[53]

    c. Right to food

    In July 2005, at least nine persons reportedly died due to starvation and many others were in severe food crisis in three tribal dominated villages in North Tripura. However, the state government claimed that the deaths were not starvation deaths but due to malnutrition. According to the villagers, they were surviving on wild foods due to non-existent of stable ration. These alleged deaths had occurred despite implementation of rural development scheme.[54]

    In August 2005, some of those who died due to starvation included Mallika Munda of Mohanpur tea garden,[55] Krishna Bhim of Laxmilunga tea estate and Lalu Orang of Tufanialunga in West Tripura district. However, the government dismissed these starvation deaths.[56]

    Many mothers had to sell their children due to extreme poverty. On 11 August 2005, Mani Rishidas reportedly sold her newborn baby within 24 hours of delivery for Rs 2000 in Agartala.[57]

    [1]. Annual Report 2005, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India

    [2]. NCW for more teeth to Women Commission, The Tripurainfo, 5 August 2005

    [3]. NLFT attacks trigger exodus, The Telegraph, 4 August 2005

    [4]. 2005 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [5]. 2004-2005 Annual Report of NHRC of India

    [6]. 2 suspended over death in custody, The Telegrpah, 13 August 2005

    [7]. Prisoner found dead, judicial probe sought, The Tripurainfo, 12 August 2005

    [8]. Student shot dead, many injured in police-people clash, The Sentinel, 3 February 2005

    [9]. Youth's killing sparks row in Tripura, The Telegraph, 23 March 2005

    [10]. Bandh against BSF firing, The Sentinel, 3 July 2005

    [11]. 2005 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [12]. Strike over driver murder hits normal life in Tripura, The Assam Tribune, 28 March 2005

    [13]. Warrant against 6 BSF men in murder Case, The Assam Tribune, 3 April 2005

    [14]. Police atrocities: INPT threatens agitation, The Tripurainfo, 9 September 2005

    [15]. Custody torture politicized, The Telegrpah, 15 September 2005

    [16]. Militancy claims 39, The Tripurainfo, 31 May 2005

    [17]. NLFT kills truck driver, The Sentinel, 23 January 2005

    [18]. Tribal villagers killed at Nutan Bazar, The Tripurainfo, 9 March 2005

    [19]. Militants shoot dead 2 railway workers, The Sentinel, 17 April 2005

    [20]. Ultras kill ONGC engineer, The Assam Tribune, 19 April 2005

    [21]. NLFT rebels kill five Chakma tribesmen, The Telegraph, 12 May 2005

    [22]. Rebels kill Tripura CPM leader, The Telegraph, 17 May 2005

    [23]. Tribal killed, The Telegraph, 25 May 2005

    [24]. NLFT guns down eight in Tripura, The Statesman, 26 September 2005

    [25]. Militants kill CPM leader - NLFT hacks Tripura activist to death for defying diktat, The Telegraph, 29 October 2005

    [26]. Rebels kill two, injure five, The Shillong Times, 1 November 2005

    [27]. Ultras launch fresh offensive in Tripura by killing 4, The Assam Tribune, 30 December 2005

    [28]. NLFT abducts three labourers, The Shillong Times, 19 January 2005

    [29]. Villager kidnapped in Manu, The Tripurainfo, 27 January 2005

    [30]. Two contractors kidnapped, The Tripurainfo, 2 April 2005

    [31]. Rebels kidnap three in Tripura, The Shillong Times, 10 May 2005

    [32]. Surrendered militant's wife, daughter kidnapped, The Tripurainfo, 27 May 2005

    [33]. Schoolboy kidnapped, The Assam Tribune, 8 June 2005

    [34]. 5 teachers abducted in Tripura, The Telegraph, 28 July 2005

    [35]. Tribal villager kidnapped at Khowai, ultra lays down arms, The Tripurainfo, 13 September 2005

    [36]. 2 construction workers kidnapped, The Assam Tribune, 5 October 2005

    [37]. Rebels abduct CPM leader, The Telegraph, 14 November 2005

    [38]. 2005 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [39]. NCW for more teeth to Women Commission, The Tripurainfo, 5 August 2005

    [40]. Jawans held for raping housewife, The Asian Age, 7 December 2005

    [41]. Traffickers held in Tripura, The Telegraph, 25 May 2005

    [42]. Two Tripura girls conned and abducted, The Deccan Herald, 25 May 2005

    [43]. Displaced Tripura villagers demand rehabilitation, The Deccan Herald, 22 May 2005

    [44]. Tripura seeks Rs 93-cr for fence victims, The Deccan Herald, 23 August 2005

    [45]. 35,000 families evicted due to border fencing, The Shillong Times, 8 October 2005

    [46]. Only 23 families still surviving, The Sentinel, 25 June 2005

    [47]. Regrouping to rehab 5883 tribal families, The Tripurainfo, 14 October 2005

    [48]. Cong slams Tripura govt over apathy towards tribals, The Assam Tribune, 25 February 2005

    [49]. Tapan confirms 11 deaths due to malaria, The Tripurainfo, 7 September 2005

    [50]. Lack of medical attention claims 50 lives in Tripura, The Deccan Herald, 1 April 2005

    [51]. Malaria claims five in Tripura - Dharmanagar sub-division worst affected by disease, The Telegraph, 30 June 2005

    [52]. Lack of medical attention claims 50 lives in Tripura, The Deccan Herald, 1 April 2005

    [53]. Tribals go hungry, The Statesman, 23 July 2005

    [54]. Malnutrition deaths hamper Tripura's rural development, The Sentinel, 16 July 2005

    [55]. Another tea worker dies, The Telegraph, 25 August 2005

    [56]. Starvation spectre in Tripura tea belt, The Telegraph, 22 August 2005

    [57]. Mother sells newborn for Rs 2000, The Tripurainfo, 13 August 2005

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