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NGO seeks National Human Rights Commission’s intervention in Pellet firing on Bengal woman by Forest Guards

The incident was a "total contravention of Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees protection of life and personal liberty"

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A forest in India, Wikimedia

Kolkata, October 21, 2016: An NGO on Friday sought the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) intervention in alleged firing from pellet guns by forest guards on a woman in West Bengal as she was collecting firewood for household use.

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In a letter to NHRC Chairman Justice H.L. Dattu (retd), Masum secretary Kirity Roy said the forest guards involved in the firing at the Jaldapara National Park recently should be booked in a criminal case and the woman and her family should be given adequate compensation and protection.

“The incident must be probed by your own investigating agency. The accused guards must be booked,” Roy said in his letter to the NHRC.

He sought the investigation into the alleged involvement of Madarihat police station personnel in the case.

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“The accused forest guards did not even consider the woman’s plea to arrest her and paid no need to her saying that she was ready to surrender,” the plea said.

He said the victim was still bedridden and her family was in severe financial crisis.

“Though, her husband made a police complaint, which is duly registered, in an all-out effort to shield the erring forest guards, the police have not arrested them till date,” the NGO’s letter said.

“Rather, they implicated the victim in a criminal case, where initially forest guards lodged a complaint against unknown accused,” Roy said.

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Roy said the incident was a “total contravention of Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees protection of life and personal liberty”.

“The trigger-happy forest guards also violated the international obligations and the basic principles on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials,” Roy’s letter added. (IANS)

Next Story

Seeking Help From Lao Authorities To Get Home Safely: Interview

The woman stranded in Hunan is among 3,000 Laotians known to have been trafficked to China in recent years according to the Lao National Anti-Human Trafficking Commission, which said last October that only 600 of those women have returned home.

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Thai authorities collect identification information from suspected sex workers who were detained during a raid on karaoke bars in Muang Narathiwat, a district in southern Thailand’s Narathiwat province, Nov. 9, 2018. VOA

25-year-old Lao woman from near the capital Vientiane was trafficked to central China’s Hunan Province in late 2018 and sold to a Chinese man for $20,000. She issued an appeal through social media for help getting home and gave an interview to RFA’s Lao Service on April 30, describing how she was misled by traffickers, including a relative, to expect a relatively high-paying job in China, taken across the Lao-China border illegally, married off to a Chinese man who bought her, and then left to fend for herself without proper travel documents. On the same day that RFA spoke to the woman, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her and her family from traffickers, twelve young Lao women, including two that authorities believe were under the age of 18, were rescued from a karaoke bar in the southern Thai province of Narathiwat. The woman stranded in Hunan is among 3,000 Laotians known to have been trafficked to China in recent years according to the Lao National Anti-Human Trafficking Commission, which said last October that only 600 of those women have returned home.

RFA: How did you end up in China?

A: They, the traffickers, lied to me. I came here without any documents. I don’t have ID and I don’t have a passport. They drove me to somewhere near the Boten border gate, then took me across a mountain border.

RFA: So, you crossed the border illegally?

A: Yes, they illegally took me across a mountain, not through the border check point.

RFA: Why did you go with them? What did they say to you?

A: They said they’ll take me here to work. It’s easy; I can go home anytime. If I want to go home, they’ll take me home. I believed them. But once they sold me to a Chinese man who later became my husband, I couldn’t contact them anymore. I didn’t receive any money. I can’t go home because I have nothing in the way of documents.

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My relative at home has asked for money from the traffickers many times; but they keep saying “next month; next month.” Pixabay

RFA: Did you report this to Lao police?

A: My family is too afraid to contact police because they (the traffickers) are now in Laos.

RFA: Who are the traffickers?

A: One of them is a Lao woman who told me that she had relatives in China, and said that work in China was not heavy. I thought I’d make a lot of money, then send it to my mother.

RFA: Did they the traffickers talk to your family first?

A: Yes, they talked to my mother. Actually, one of the traffickers is my relative.

RFA: Is your relative a middle-man or -woman?

A: Yes, she is actually the ‘small wife’ (misstress) of a Chinese man who brought me here to China.

 

RFA: What happened to you in China?

A: They sold me to a Chinese man who wanted to have a Lao wife.

RFA: How does your husband treat you?

A: We lived together as a normal couple, and sometimes I’d go to work. But later, when I wanted to go back home, I couldn’t and I could not contact those front men at all.

RFA: Why can’t you go home?

A: Because I don’t have any documents. That’s why I’m asking for help from an organization called ‘Sisters for Laotians’.

RFA: Are there any other victims like you in China?

A: Three of us came together. One of us, who is my cousin, was able to escape last month, and now she is already in Laos. The other woman is also trying to escape as well. There are many other Laotians around here. Most of them are illegal. Some have passports, but the passports are expired, so they became illegal now.

RFA: How do you communicate with your husband?

A: I don’t speak Chinese, so, we use a telephone (app) to translate.

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Yes, she is actually the ‘small wife’ (misstress) of a Chinese man who brought me here to China. Pixabay

RFA: Do you personally know the traffickers?

A: Yes, I know them, but I can’t contact them now.

RFA: What are you going to do once you get home?

A: I’m going to report to the police that the traffickers promised me that I’ll get a salary of more than 1,000 Yuan ($150) a month. I now get nothing.

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RFA: How much were you sold for?

A: For 130,000 yuan ($20,000), but some others may fetch 150,000 Yuan. I received no money, and I don’t have any money to send to my mother. My relative at home has asked for money from the traffickers many times; but they keep saying “next month; next month.”

RFA: Why didn’t you report this to Chinese police?

A: The police would send me back to my husband. That’s why I’m requesting help from Lao authorities and hoping they can get me home safely. (RFA)