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Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Addendum: communications to and from governments, A/HRC/11/6/Add.1, 26 May 2009: India

Response from the Government to an allegation letter sent in 2007 Allegation letter

239. On 03 December 2008, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, sent an allegation letter concerning the harassment, arrest and detention of five members of the NGO Sangama, an NGO working on issues related to the human rights of persons belonging to sexual minorities, especially hijras (male-to female transsexuals).

240. According to the information received, on 20 October 2008, M. M., D. F., K., S. B. and S. S. went to the Girinagar police station as they had received news about five hijras who had been arrested and detained, and allegedly beaten by members of the Girinagar police. As they tried to inquire about the detention of the hijras, the members of the Sangama crisis intervention team were assaulted and detained at the Girinagar police station, and later at the Banashankari police station. They were accused of offences punishable under Section 143 (unlawful assembly), (joining unlawful assembly ordered to be dispersed), 147 (rioting), and 353 (obstructing government officials in performing their duty) of the Indian Police Code. They were brought before a magistrate and placed in judicial custody later that evening. All five crisis team members were subsequently released on bail on 22 October 2008.

241. On the evening of the 20 October 2008, approximately 150 human rights activists and lawyers gathered in front of the Banashankati police station to peacefully protest against the arrest and detention of the Sangama crisis team members and to try and negotiate their release. Six delegates among the protesters were detained for about four hours at the police station and were subjected to physical and verbal abuse. Reportedly, members of the Banashankati police also attacked the peaceful protesters with sticks and subjected them to physical, verbal and sexual assault. Thirty-one human rights activists were placed into a small police van, and kept there for approximately seven hours.

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