INDIA: Rape As Torture

From:    William Bowles
To:      All                                      Msg #288, 09/16/91 03:48pm
Subject: INDIA: Rape As Torture

5:11 pm  Sep 12, 1991
Source: Peacenet
(Fido:250/222) igc:aicoord
Rape as Torture

INDIA: Shrimati Siso


The Human rights of Sikh people living in India's Punjab
state are under attack. Thousands have been arrested by
Indian police and security forces in Punjab since 1983 when
armed Sikh opposition groups first emerged demanding an
independent Sikh state in Punjab.

The human rights violations reported from Punjab have taken
place in the context of police attempts to counter the
widespread and often discriminate violence to which armed
Sikh groups have increasingly resorted in their campaign to
establish a separate state. Women have often found
themselves caught in this struggle: on the one hand,
threatened and attacked by armed Sikh groups, and on the
other hand, detained and tortured by Indian police and
security forces.

Sikh women as well as men, are arrested on the mere
suspicion that they are linked to armed secessionist groups.
The mothers and sisters, fathers and brothers of suspects
have frequently been detained and tortured in order to
extract information about their relatives whereabouts or
activities. Women have been arrested and tortured simply to
deter them from giving food and shelter to Sikh militants.

In addition women in the Punjab have been targets of attack
by Sikh secessionist groups either because they disobey
orders, or because they are seen as "bad characters." Sikh
groups have also imposed penalties on women and men deemed
to not have complied with directives related to various
matters of public policy and social behavior.

Case Action:

SHRIMATI SISO, a resident of Paili village, complained to
the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Hoshiapur, on July 25, 1989,
that four police officials at Balachaur police station, had
illegally detained her and raped her. The officers allegedly
involved were the Station House Officer (SHO), the Moharrir
Head Constable and two other head Constables, all from their
Balachaur police station.

On February 9, 1989 these four police officials came to
Shrimati Siso's house and questioned her regarding the
whereabouts of her cousin, Hazura Singh. Unable to provide
information, she was arrested and taken to Balachaur police
station, where she was asked to sign a blank piece of paper.
She refused and was then kicked and beaten by  the Station
House Office and the Moharrir Head Constable. At about
midnight on February 9, she claims these two men returned
and raped her. Later that same night she said she was raped
by the other two Head Constables. She also claimed that the
Station House Office threatened to implicate her in a crime
or to kill her if she told anyone about the rape. She was
released on February 10, 1989.

After her release Shrimati Siso said she was refused a
medical examination by the Senior Medical Officers at the
Civil Hospitals in Balachaur, because, she thinks, they
feared retaliation by the police. On February 13, she
complained to the Governor of the Punjab against the four
police officers alleged to have raped her. Shrimati Siso and
witnesses were summoned to the Punjab Secretariat and the
Deputy Superintendent was order to record their statements
on July 17, 1989.

Amnesty International does not know the outcome of the
investigations. No action is known to have been taken
against the police involved, and no case was registered
against them.

Action Request:

Write courteously worded letters to the government of India
and send copies to the Indian Embassy in Washington, DC;
-express your concern about the arbitrary arrest and alleged
torture of Shrimati Siso;
-express your concern about the extensive reports that women
in India are raped by police while in custody. Point out
that torture is prohibited by both Indian law and the UN
Convention Against Torture and that it is the responsibility
of the government to investigate all allegations of torture
and to bring those responsible to justice.
-ask the government to provide information on why there has
apparently been no investigation into the alleged rape and
torture of Shrimati Siso.

Appeals to:

P.V. Narasimha Rao, The Prime Minister of India, Office of
the Prime Minister, South Block, Gate No. 6, New Delhi 110
011, India

Copies to:

Ambassador Abid Hussain, Embassy of India, 2107
Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008