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UA 261/94 - India: fear of torture / fear of "disappearance": Ajit Kumar Bhuyan

, N° d'index: ASA 20/021/1994

In the early hours of 5 July 1994 police reportedly arbitrarily arrested Ajit Kumar Bhuyan at his home in Guwahati, Assam. His current whereabouts are unknown. He is the editor of the mass circulation Assamese language weekly "Saadin". He is also a coordinator of the Human Rights Struggle Committee and a founder member of the Assam Union of Working Journalists.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 20/21/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 261/94 Fear of torture / fear of "disappearance" 6 July 1994
INDIA Ajit Kumar Bhuyan (39), journalist and human rights activist
In the early hours of 5 July 1994, police reportedly took Ajit Kumar Bhuyan
away from his home in Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. His current
whereabouts are unknown. Amnesty International fears that he is at risk of
torture or "disappearance".
Reports indicate that the police forcibly entered Mr Bhuyan's home and searched
it for two hours, finding nothing. The family obtained a written statement
from the police stating that they had found nothing in the search. However,
the police, despite having no arrest warrant, took Ajit Kumar Bhuyan to Chandmari
police station, where he was reportedly held for several hours before being
moved to an undisclosed location. Fellow journalists who have expressed
concern to the police at his whereabouts, have apparently been told that he
has been taken away for interrogation.
Ajit Kumar Bhuyan is editor of the mass circulation Assamese language weekly
"Saadin". He is one of the coordinators of the Human Rights Struggle Committee
and a founder member of the Assam Union of Working Journalists.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Ajit Kumar Bhuyan has been picked up by police on several occasions in the
past. He was detained for two months in March 1992 under the National Security
Act, reportedly for writing articles about alleged human rights violations
by the Indian army in Assam. The last time he was reportedly arrested was
in December 1993 for his involvement in trying to convene a meeting to observe
World Human Rights Day. He was released after one day.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes and airmail letters
either in English or in your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of Ajit Kumar Bhuyan following his reported
arrest by police, and expressing the fear that he may "disappear" in police
custody as the police are refusing to disclose his current whereabouts;
- seeking assurances that if he is in police custody he be allowed immediate
access to relatives and legal counsel and be brought promptly before a
magistrate;
- seeking assurances that, if in custody, he is not being tortured or
ill-treated;
- urging that, if he is not to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence,
he be released immediately.
APPEALS TO
Mr Hiteshwar Saikia
Chief Minister of Assam
Office of the Chief Minister
Guwahati
Assam, India
Telegrams: Chief Minister Saikia, Guwahati, Assam, India
Faxes: +91 361 565 455/561 515
Salutation: Dear Chief Minister
Mr S.B Chavan
2
Minister of Home Affairs
Office of the Minister of Home Affairs
North Block
New Delhi 110 001, India
Telegrams: Minister Home Affairs, New Delhi, India
Telexes: 3166427 REND IN
Faxes: +91 11 301 6781 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Salutation: Dear Home Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Mr S.V. Subramanian
Director General of Police
Police Headquarters
Dispur, Assam, INDIA
and to diplomatic representatives of India accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 16 August 1994.

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