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"drastic changes" in the Constitution without a national debate. Among the many proposals being circulated is one to create a Superior Council of the Judiciary. This would supercede the authority of the Supreme Court.
Early in March 1976 the Congress (R) Party set up a two-level committee to investigate the possibility of changing the Constitution. It will submit its report, including draft amendments, by May 1976. Earlier the Congress at its annual plenary session resolved that "our Constitution be thoroughly re-examined in order to ascertain if the time has not come to make adequate alterations to it so that it may continue as a living document effectively responding to the current needs of the people."
The All-India Congress Committee in June approved recommendations to amend the Indian Constitution. This would include duties of citizens as well as rights. It would add 64 more laws to the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution which automatically removes them from purview by the High Court. It would make possible the creation of a State of Emergency in particular areas of the country as well as in the country as a whole. The amendments would add education to the list of subjects on which the Central Government can legislate, but it would eliminate agriculture. These amendments have not yet been presented to the Parliament, but could easily be adopted in the present climate.
APPENDIX B. NOTES
1. India June XXVI. Washington: The Embassy of India, 1975.
2. "Prime Minister Indira Gandhi Responds to Charges that Democracy in India is Dead." An Interview in The Saturday Review. August 9, 1975.
3. The National Malady: Root Cause, by Jayaprakash Narayan. Wardha: Sarva Seva Sangh. 28 pp.
4. Cited in I8 JP The Answer? by Minoo Masani, Delhi: Macmillan, 133 pp. 1975. p. 51.
5. Mansani. Op Cit. p. 29.
6. "The Crisis in India," by Kumar Mehta. This is a privately-issued, eightpage memorandum. The author is Professor of Engineering Science at the University of California at Berkeley.
7. "The Great Writ," by S. J. Sorabjee, Seminar (New Delhi), December 1975. 8. The Saturday Review, Op. Cit.
9. The Review. Geneva: International Commission of Jurists. No. 15, December 1975.
10. The Economist (London), January 24, 1976.
11. Newsweek February 16, 1976.
12. Swaraj (London). No. 14. (January) 1976.
13. "Whip of the New Raj," by Ved. P. Nanda. The Nation. February 21, 1976. 14. Timely Steps. New Delhi: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. August 1975. 77 pp. p. 11.
15. S. J. Sorabjee, Op Cit.
16. Freedom First. Bombay: Democratic Research Service. No. 278. January 1976.
17. "Press Freedom," by R. K. P. Shankardass. Seminar. December 1975. Also "Please Kill: Withdrawn by Censor,'" by J. Anthony Lucas. (More) (New York). February 1976.
18. "The 'Express' Affair: New Delhi's Story," by Lawrence Lifschultz. Far Eastern Economic Review. January 23, 1976. "Indira's Fifth Column," by Denzil Peiris, Ibid., Feb. 20, 1976.
19. Le Figaro (Paris). January 23, 1976.
20. Indira's India: Anatomy of Dictatorship, by George Fernandes. London: Free JP Campaign Publication. December 1975. 22 pp. p. 18.
21. Far Eastern Economic Review. Feb. 20, 1976.
22. Everyman's Weekly. April 20, 1975.
23. Le Figaro. Op. Cit.
24. The Overseas Hindustan Times. March 4, 1976.
25. Nanda, Op. Cit.
26. The full text is in The Far Eastern Economic Review. Feb. 20, 1976.
27. The New York Times, Feb. 29, 1976.
28. Asahi Evening News, Tokyo. June 27, 1975.
29. Far Eastern Economic Review. Feb. 20, 1976. Op. Cit.
30. Suggestions for re-establishing confidence within India and even changes
in the polity and Constitution of India are beyond the scope of this pamphlet.
Rajni Kothari in "End of an Era" brilliantly describes the breakdown of the consensus in India today and how if Mrs. Gandhi were not convicted in the High Court of Allahabad, some other development would likely have produced a crisis, resulting in the Government's bringing to a virtual halt the constitutional processes. Asserting that "it is not enough to return to the status quo ante as it prevailed before June 26," Kothari urges the launching of a "Second Republic" with a new constitution, but one that is "more democratic, more socially purposive, more institutionalized at the grass-roots and intermediate levels, and one that liberates the Indian people from the clutches of a narrow-based and self-aggrundising elite." Seminar. January 1976.
31. "Democracy in a Poor Country," by Ved Mehta. The New Yorker. March 22, 1976.
Reports of Ill-Treatment of Political Prisoners Held Under Emergency
Legislation in India
The general situation on detention conditions of political prisoners held under recently declared emergency regulations in India has been briefly described in Page 5 of the "Background to the Large-Scale Arrest of Political Prisoners in India Following the Emergency Declaration". More recently, members of parliament of several opposition parties in India have requested that independent judicial inquiries be made into two incidents which reportedly took place recently and which relate to the ill-treatment of political prisoners in New Delhi's Tihar Jail and the death of one political prisoner in Madhya Pradesh, while in detention. We have reason to believe that both reports are correct, but the incidents should be seen in the light of general overcrowding in prisons as characteristic of Indian prisons since thousands of political prisoners were arrested after the June 1975 declaration of an emergency.
I. THE TIHAR JAIL INCIDENT
On 6 October 1975, five members of parliament 1 appealed to the Home Minister, H. E. Brahmananda Reddy, to institute an independent inquiry into reports that political prisoners had been seriously beaten in New Delhi's Tihar Jail on 2 October 1975. As a result, three political prisoners, including Dr. Muikraj Juneja, Shri Kishan Lal and Shri Dayal Singh Bedi (all ex-Municipal Councillors of Delhi), had to be taken to hospital. The incident has caused the decision of Charan Singh (Chairman of the India Socialist Party), Atma Singh and Prakash Bada (all detained in Tihar Jail) to go on hunger strike until they are allowed to meet the injured prisoners.
According to a Reuters report of the same day, the opposition leaders in New Delhi alleged that political prisoners in Tihar Jail were beaten with belts, canes and iron rods by prisoners serving long sentences. As a result, seven political prisoners had allegedly to be taken to hospital. Tihar Jail reportedly holds 4,000 prisoners, of which 600 appear to be held for political reasons only.
Two days after the Reuters report, the Indian government cut off telex and telephone lines to the Reuters office (Times, London, 9/10/75). The Chief Censor informed the news agency that the action had been taken because of its report on the beating of political prisoners in Tihar Jail. The government did not deny the Reuters report, but maintained only that the publishing of the report contained a serious violation of censorship rules.
II. THE DEATH OF MR. BHAIRAV BHARATI IN M. Y. HOSPITAL, INDORE On 24 September 1974, 14 members of parliament of several opposition parties made a request to the Home Minister to institute a judicial inquiry into the death of Mr. Bhairav Bharati, who died in M.Y. Hospital (Jail Wing), Indore on 18 September 1975. Mr. Bharati, who is a former member of the Legislative
1 Among them. Mohan Dharia, M.P. for the Congress Party, but recently expelled; Samar Mukhergee of the Communist Party, of India (Marxist); T. N. Singh of the Congress (Opposition) Party; and Jannath Rao Singh, M. P. of the Jana Sangh Party.
Namely: Tridib Chaudhuri, M.P.; Samar Mukherjee, M.P.; H. M. Patel, M.P.; K. Mathew Kurian, M.P; Jagannatharao Joshi, MP.; T. N. Singh, M.P.; Veerendra Patil, M.P. N. G. Goray, M.P.; Balakrishia Pillai, M.P.; Krishnakant, M.P.; Era Sezhiyan, M.P.; O. P. Tyagi, M.P.; Mrs. T. Lakshmi Kanthamma, M.P.; and Digvijaya Narain Singh, M.P.
Assembly and a trade unionist, died in the hospital's jail wing reportedly without his family having been informed of his illness or the circumstances of his death. Mr. Bharati was arrested on 26 June 1975 at 1:30 a.m. from his residence at Matisoova. He was first detained in Merugarh jail and held under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act. In the first week of August, he was detained in Ujjain Jail where he reportedly developed jaundice. On 26 August he was transferred to Indore Jail, and the following day transferred to the jail ward of M.Y. 'Hospital, where he died on 18 September. During the whole period of the prisoner's detention, the family, concerned about the prisoner's health, had been denied permission to visit him; the family has not been informed about the circumstances of his death.
Whereas the latter report does not suggest that this particular incident has occurred because of deliberate neglect, it is important that the government, which bears the overall responsibility for the treatment of its prisoners in jail, retains the public confidence in discharging its duties. Particularly in situations where an additional burden is being placed upon the prison administration-a situation which exists since the arrests of many political prisoners since the June emergency-it is important that customary rights such as the right of prisoners to regular visits by their families and lawyers, be maintained. Only in this way can otherwise unreported incidents which indicate a decline in detention conditions be acted upon in a responsible way.
14 October 1975.
SHRIMATI INDIRA GANDHI,
Prime Minister of India, New Delhi.
DEAR MADAM PRIME MINISTER: We have already addressed a few letters to the Home Minister regarding the ill-treatment of the political detenues in various jails. We have not received any reply to these letters so far. For your information we enclose a copy each of these communications.
Some more facts have come to light regarding the ill-treatment of political detenues in various jails, according to information available to us. In Muzaffarpur Central jail in Bihar, where a large number of professors and political workers are detained under MISA and DIR, these political detenues are not allowed to meet each other. It has been reliably understood that when the political detenues in this jail demanded that they should be allowed to mix with one another, a lathi charge was made on 9/9/1975 by the jail authorities and criminal convicts were let loose upon them. A large number of them received injuries, some of them serious. The injured persons included: Prof. Thakur Prasad Sinha, Head of Department of Mathematics of S.H.D. College, Muzaffarpur, Prof. Shyan Sunder Das of L.S. College, Muzaffarpur, Shri Yashwant Kumar Chaudhary, Ex-MLA, Vice-President, Bihar BLD, Shri Sarbadhikeshwar Mishea alias Babban Babu, Shri Ranjit Singh and Shri Satya Narain Pesari. Sitamarhi. While Shri Ranjit Singh has filed case in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate. Muzaffarpur, Shri S. Mishra who was brutally assaulted has sought for time from C.M. to file an application as he is not able to do so due to physical disability following lathi charge.
Another case of lathi charge in Bejusarai Jail is reported where Shri Ram Jiwan Singh, Ex-MLA who was recently operated for Hernia received head injuries. Another Ex-MLA Shri Hukamdev Yadan and Shri Ram Bahadur Sharma of Bachwara were badly treated in jail.
On August 15, police arrested one Shri Anupi Raut whose son is a jawan in the Indian army. He was brutally assaulted while being taken to prison, as a result of which he died on August 26, 1975. The police, in the first instance. refused permission for postmortem, but when the relatives approached C.M. the postmortem had to be performed. His son has also filed a case in the court.
We are seeking your intervention not only because the House Minister did not reply to our letters earlier, but because we feel that a political detenue is not a person who has been convicted for any offence and therefore his detention in jail should not amount to a punishment. In this connection we are quoting the following passage from Judgement by the Bombay High Court delivered on 1/9/1975, in Bhanudas Krishna Gawde and others vs. K. G. Paranjpe and others:
"That a detenue is not a convict, that the power to detain is not a power to punish and that the restrictions which can be placed upon the liberty of a citizen in cases of preventive detention must, consistently with the effectiveness of the detention, be minimal."
In view of the above we feel that the Bihar Government has violated the basic principles of justice and law. It is incumbent on the Central Government to intervene and set matters right.
N. G. GORAY.
K. S. CHAVDA.
SALIL KUMAR GANGULI.
Torture of Political Prisoners in India, March 1976
The following reports illustrating cases of physical abuse are excerpted from reports sent by the Lok Sangharsh Samities from the States. The following pattern emerges. A satyagrahi is taken into custody by the police, but no case is registered against him. He is kept in illegal confinement for a few days during which he is subjected to the following kinds of physical torture:
1. Stamping on the bare body with heeled boots.
2. Beating with canes on the bare soles of feet.
3. Rolling a heavy stick on the shins with a policeman sitting on it.
4. Making the victim crouch for hours in a "Z" position.
5. Beating on the spine.
6. Slapping with the cupped hands on both ears until the victim bleeds and loses consciousness.
7. Beatings with rifle butt.
8. Inserting live electric wires into body crevices.
9. Forcibly laying nude on iceslabs.
10. Burning with lighted cigarettes and candle flame.
11. Denying food, water, and sleep and then forcing victim to drink his own urine.
12. Stripping the victim, blackening face and parading him in public. 13. Suspending the victim by his wrists.
14. Hauling him on "Aeroplane". Victims hands tied behind back with long rope, the end hauled over pully, leaving victim dangling in mid-air, swinging.
Mr. Narasinha Reddy was slapped on the ears until be bled and required surgery. On 18 November, 1975, Mr. Ashok of Hyderabad was beaten severely after offering satyragraha at City College. On 4 December, student Rajawardhan mercilessly beaten, until he vomited and became unconscious. Also beaten were student Venkateshwara Rao, student leader Mahendra and Bapu Reddy Vidman Reddy, Supervisor P.W.D. on December 7. Seven teenagers arrested while pasting posters. Three of them were stripped and burned with candle flame. They were taken to Karimnagar District hospital. The Bar association condemned these atrocities in memorandum to Chief Minister. Beatings of satyagrahis also reported from Karimnagar (November 14), Vishakapatnam (November 21). Kakinada (December 4), Hindupur (December 2).
On November 14, Mr. Gopi was beaten in police custody, could not urinate and was taken to Dr. Suresh Chandra Reddi, who was also beaten in C.I.D. office in Nalgonda. Mr. Krishniah and Narsimha Reddi severely beaten by S. I. Murlidhar Rao, the former requiring hospitalisation at the Nalgonda Government hospital for swollen thighs and twisted ankles. On December 8, 33 persons were kept in custody in a small room for three days without toilet facilities. Three of them were detained for 15 days, a 12 year boy being beaten unconscious by S. I. Badri Rai and S. I. Ananda Rao supervised by S. I. Bharatchand. On December 22, Mr. Vaikuntha Chari beaten for 4 days in police custody.
Mr. Krishnayya and other satyagrahis beaten, stripped and made to sleep in biting cold, denied food.
On November 26, at Hanumankonda police station M/s Venkatrao, Sammi Reddi, Veera Reddi, Venkatramma Reddi and Sanpath, all satyagrahis tortured.
On November 14, between 7 pm. and 3 a.m. Constable Azeez brutally beat Edida Raman, Kraleti Krishna, Karra Appala, Narsimha Murthi, Sri Prinadan, Simhachalan, at the police station.
On November 15, Mr. Erraji given electric shocks for writing slogans on the walls.
On November 14, at Kakinada police station, Mr. Koka Kurma Rao, satyagraha leader and Mr. Krishna Prasad were beaten and hanged by their hair until rendered unconscious. On December 2, Satyanayana Chari and K. Ranga were beaten for pasting posters.
On November 14, Shrikant Betageri and Ganpatrao Kulkarni, an industrialist and well-known social worker of Belgaum were beaten. On November 30, Ashok Mutgekar, a college student, was put on the "aeroplane" resulting in Mahindra Shur and Ravindra Desai were beaten at Dharwar. Mr. Anjaneya Shirur, Head Master Model Girls High School, Dharwar was severely beaten.
On November 27, at Hubli Shrikant Desai a final year law student and State Joint Secretary of the Karnatak unit of Vidyarthi Parishad was beaten and put on the "aeroplane". At Harihar M/s Padmanabh and Puttu Swamy were beaten with canes, kicked with boots, not given food and put on the "aeroplane". Mr. Ravi, a student leader from Mysore was arrested on December 2, beaten, kicked and put on the "aeroplane" at the Devraj police station. Udaya Shankar, a student leader of Canara college, Mangalore, was arrested on November 12, at home by S. I. Uttaiah, brutally caned and kicked at Bunder police station, not given food or water, and thrice put on the "aeroplane" all in the presence of Superintendent Chopra. When released was totally covered with bruises and was unable to talk.
Anant Hegde, Pandurang Hegde, and Ganesh Kudwa, three merchants of Mangalore, were taken into custody on November 13, for three days they were caned, kicked and kept without food or water at Bunder police station. They could not walk or even bend their knees yet on the fourth day they were handcuffed and walked to the Magistrate. When Anant requested water he was offered urine. Shri Hari and Narayan Bangera from Kabada village, South Kanara, were kicked and caned into unconsciousness at the police station on November 20, Gopalrao a B.S. student from Bangalore was kept without food or water for two days, brutally beaten and put on the "aeroplane" until he became unconscious released after four days at Seshadripuram police station. Raghupati a M.A. student from Bangalore was arrested and kept without food and put twice on the "aeroplane". Shrinat of National College, Bangalore, arrested on November 27, beaten and placed on the "aeroplane". At Udipi on the 26, and at Shimoga on the 24 November, Lathi (Cane) charges were made on students processions.
On November 26, Mr. Devendra, Municipal Councillor of Narasinharajpura, Chikmagalur District, was brutalized and dragged to the police station whilst leading a procession of satyagrahis. In Kazargod District, Kerala satyagrahis who offered satyagraha at Kasargod, Manjeshwar, Milleria on different days were brutally lathi charged resulting in a number of head injuries requiring hospitalization. Many were driven several miles out of town in vans and then thrown out. No food was provided while in custody. Mrs. Narsamma Garudappa of Bangalore was arrested on August 15, while in an advanced state of pregnancy. While in hospital for delivery she was kept chained to her bed.