TODAY -

Police officers open fire at peaceful protestors in Tripura : Appeal
Date : January 22, 2018



ISSUES: Administration of justice, civil and political rights, freedom of association, freedom of expression, indigenous people, police violence, right to life, right to redress,

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from Youth’s Forum for Protection of Human Rights (YFPHR) regarding the indiscriminate firing upon civilians by the security forces in Tripura. The citizens were participating in a peaceful assembly against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 on 8 January 2019, when police opened fire without any warning. Five protestors were hit with bullets and are now in hospital.

CASE NARRATIVE:

On 8 January 2019, the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) had called for a total shut down across all the seven states in the North Eastern region of India, to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016. This was the date the Bill was to be presented in parliament, and has now been passed. Despite strong opposition from almost all the ethnic communities and indigenous people in the North East, the Bill has been passed. The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 will grant citizenship to persons belonging to minority communities namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This could alter the demography of the region and even destabilize it.

Participating in the January 8 shut down, some indigenous youths came out on the street and assembled peacefully at the Madhab Bari area. There were a large number of police personnel deployed in the area to control any untoward incidents during the peaceful protest. While the protestors have gathered on the street of Madhab Bari area, two to three police vans arrived and started firing indiscriminately toward the protestors without any provocation. The police did not even issue any warning before opening fire to disperse the gathering. They did not use batons, water cannons or any other means; they took recourse to direct firing.

In the firing, one youth named Mr. Sumit Debbarma was hit by two bullets which passed through his lungs, and his condition is now critical. Another protestor named Mr. Lalit Debbarma was also hit by two bullets on his chest, and he too is in a critical condition. Mr. Shakar Debbarma was hit by a bullet on his hips, and the bullet is still stuck inside his body. Mr. Pahar Debbarma and Mr. Ravi Debbarma were hit by bullets in their legs. All five of them are still under observation at the GB Hospital, Agartala.

Further, while the aforementioned injured persons were being taken to the Hospital in Agartala, some miscreants supporting the Bill attacked their vehicle. The attackers left five more protestors injured, who are now admitted in Kherengbar Autonomous Council Hospital. Ironically, this attack took place right in front of the police who were deployed to control such clashes, but the police did nothing to stop the attack. Rather, the police detained a journalist recording the incident, and confiscated his phone and memory card.

Since late evening on the same day, the Internet service and SMS have been shut down in Tripura.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

The AHRC calls for an immediate inquiry to investigate the firing and prosecute and punish the guilty officers. The authorities must also provide medical assistance to the victims.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the Special Rapporteur on the rights of the indigenous peoples seeking her intervention.

To support this case, please click here: <http://www.urgentappeals.net/support.php?ua=AHRC-UAC-002-2019>

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

INDIA: Police officers open fire at peaceful protestors in Tripura

Name of victims:

1. Sankar Debbarma aged about 30 years
2. Lalit Mohan Debbarma
3. Sumit Debbarma aged about 19 years
4. Pahar Debbarma aged about 29 years
5. Rabi Kumar Debbarma aged about 29 years

Names of alleged perpetrators: Tripura State Police

Date of incident: January 08, 2019

Place of incident: Madhab Bari, West Tripura. 15-20 km away from Agartala City, India

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the police firing on peaceful protestors opposing the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Madhab Bari, Agartala in Tripura on 8 January 2019.

On 8 January 2019, the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) had called for a total shut down across all the seven states in the North Eastern region of India, to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016. This was the date the Bill was to be presented in parliament, and has now been passed. Despite strong opposition from almost all the ethnic communities and indigenous people in the North East, the Bill has been passed. The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 will grant citizenship to persons belonging to minority communities namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This could alter the demography of the region and even destabilize it.

Participating in the January 8 shut down, some indigenous youths came out on the street and assembled peacefully at the Madhab Bari area. There were a large number of police personnel deployed in the area to control any untoward incidents during the peaceful protest. While the protestors have gathered on the street of Madhab Bari area, two to three police vans arrived and started firing indiscriminately toward the protestors without any provocation. The police did not even issue any warning before opening fire to disperse the gathering. They did not use batons, water cannons or any other means; they took recourse to direct firing.

In the firing, one youth named Mr. Sumit Debbarma was hit by two bullets which passed through his lungs, and his condition is now critical. Another protestor named Mr. Lalit Debbarma was also hit by two bullets on his chest, and he too is in a critical condition. Mr. Shakar Debbarma was hit by a bullet on his hips, and the bullet is still stuck inside his body. Mr. Pahar Debbarma and Mr. Ravi Debbarma were hit by bullets in their legs. All five of them are still under observation at the GB Hospital, Agartala.

Further, while the aforementioned injured persons were being taken to the Hospital in Agartala, some miscreants supporting the Bill attacked their vehicle. The attackers left five more protestors injured, who are now admitted in Kherengbar Autonomous Council Hospital. Ironically, this attack took place right in front of the police who were deployed to control such clashes, but the police did nothing to stop the attack. Rather, the police detained a journalist recording the incident, and confiscated his phone and memory card.

Since late evening on the same day, the Internet service and SMS have been shut down in Tripura.

The AHRC urges you to take note of the situation urgently, and order an immediate inquiry to investigate the firing, and prosecute and punish the guilty officers. The AHRC also urges you to ask the authorities to provide the necessary medical assistance to the victims.

Yours Sincerely,

……………….

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Justice H.L. Dattu, Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission
Manav Adhikar Bhawan
Block-C, G.P.O. Complex, INA
New Delhi-110023
Email: cr.nhrc@nic.in

2. Shri Biplab Kumar Deb
Chief Minister
Tripura Cm Office, Agartala, Agartala
Tripura 799001
INDIA
FAX: 91-381-241-320
Email: cmoffice-tr@gov.in

3. Shri. Lalit Kumar Gupta
Chief Secretary
Government of Tripura,
New Secretariat Complex,
PO:Secretariat-799010,
Agartala, West Tripura.
INDIA
FAX: +91381 2414013
Email: cstripura@gmail.com

4. Shri Akhil Kumar Shukla, IPS
Director General of Police, Tripura
Police Headquarters,
Agartala – 799001,
Tripura
INDIA
FAX: +91381-232-4970 (Fax)
Email: dgptripura@yahoo.co.in

5. Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta
Chairperson
Tripura Human Rights Commission
Kunjaban Township Agartala,
West Tripura District, Pin-799006
Tripura
INDIA
FAX: +9123812353529
Email: thrc16agartala@gmail.com

6. Ms. Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz
Special Rapporteur on the rights of the indigenous peoples
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in
Geneva: OHCHR United Nations, 1211 Geneva 10
SWITZERLAND
Tel: +41 22 917 94 13
Fax: +41 22 917-90 08
Email: indigenous@ohchr.org

Asian Human Rights Commission
G/F
52 Princess Margaret Road
Ho Man Tin, Kowloon
Hongkong S.A.R.
Tel: +(852) 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) 2698-6367
Web: www.humanrights.asia
twitter/youtube/facebook: humanrightsasia


* This info was sent to e-pao.net by Asian Human Rights Commission who can be contacted at www.humanrights.asia
This Post is webcasted on January 23 2019

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