Women in Governance (WinG)-India, Women Alliance on Violence Against Women and Family members of Majoni Das
We will not allow Majoni to be the next in the list of those disappeared from custody mysteriously in this region. The family members have the right to know the whereabouts and safety of their daughter. The Police should provide the information ~ Bondita Acharya, WinG-India
Guwahati Feb. 20, 2013.
Enforced disappearances have been a very severe and a common human rights issue especially in North East India. The special powers entrusted upon the armed police and Police administration either by AFSPA or other draconian laws like UAPA has led to severe violation of human rights of common people resulting into disappearances, extrajudicial killings, mental harassment, rape as well as sexual assault.
Majoni Das, a woman activist, teacher, writer from Sibsagar has been a victim of enforced disappearance in suspicion of having links with insurgent groups. Majoni Das, D/O Mr. Dimbeswar Das, aged 30, was an active member women movement Nari Adhikar Suraksha Samiti (NASS) and also involved with fortnightly news paper namely AMI. Due to the poor financial condition of the family she was working with Purva Bharati Educational Trust, Jorhat, for last 13 months as a warden of the hostel run by Purva Bharati Educational Trust, Jorhat Assam.
On 6th February 2013 she went to her parent’s home at Demow, Sibsagar district, Assam to attend some family function. When she reached home local police sent messages to her several times to come over to Sibsagar SP office. She informed her colleagues about the calls and sounded very worried and tensed. On 8th February Pritam Das police officer of Nitai Pukhuri outpost along with a lady police officer came to their house to detain her. At that time she was not at home and then they left a message for her to come over to SP office in Sibsagar. At 9 pm that night she informed two of her neighbors that she would visit the SP office the next day. On 10th February morning around 9 am she left home to meet SP of Sibsagar district and since then she is missing.
Later FIR was filed in Jorhat PS by the Purva Bharati Educational Trust and in Demow PS by family members. Meanwhile the family and hostel authority made several visits to the SP office in Sivsagar requesting police to trace Majoni. SP informed that Majoni has joined the underground armed group United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and left for Nagaland. Police also instructed the father of Majoni to visit Nagaland and trace her.
Police is not revealing any information about her; the reason why police wanted her to report to the SP office is not clear and they are giving different sorts of answers which is making the case complex. Meanwhile in an attempt to gain public support, police reported the case to media branding the she has joined ULFA and left home on her way to Myanmar via Nagaland. Family is worried about her whereabouts as in several such missing cases earlier the missing person was found dead or involuntary disappeared.
The question arises whether Police administration is responsible for the sudden disappearance of Majoni Das or was it her choice? The answer is still a mystery. But whatever be the answer it should be backed by certain evidences which needs to be transparent to the family members.
We urge the following demands :
1. Police should immediately disclose information on whereabouts of Majoni Das and present her to the family members.
2. Police should step up the investigation and provide updated information about the process of investigation.
3. Put an immediate end to the continuous harassment of the family members by the police officials.
4. Effective protection to the members of the family of Majoni Das.
5. Immediate action against the senior police officials of the Sibsagar district for their negligence of duty to disclose the whereabouts of Majoni Das.
6. Immediate action against the senior police officials of the Sibsagar district who pressurised the family members to talk to members of Underground Group and also to go to Mon district of Nagaland to trace Majoni Das.
7. Ensure legal support to the family members for the case.
8. Ensure the safety of all colleagues and associates of Majoni Das during the follow up.
9. Police (Superintendent of Police of Sibsagar District) should provide explanation for calling Majoni Das repeatedly to his office without proper notice.
10. As Majoni Das belongs to SC community, the FIR should be changed under the provision of SC/ST PoA Act.
~ Bondita Acharya and Anjuman Ara Begum, WinG-India, Phone: 9864323337, 9954082155
~ Bharati Hazarika, Majoni Das‘s sister, Phone: 7896065140.
[Via Asha Kowtal]