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Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received, A/HRC/10/12/Add.1, 4 March 2009: India

1244. On 3 December 2008, the Special Rapporteur, together with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and the Special Rapporteur on  violence against women, sent a letter of allegations to the Government concerning Madesh M, Dil Faraz, Kokila, Sahana Bangena and Savita S, members of the Sangana crisis intervention team. Sangana is an NGO working on  issues related to the human rights of persons belonging to sexual minorities, especially hijras (male- to-female transsexuals).

1245. According to the information received, on 20 October 2008, Madesh M, Dil Faraz, Kokila, Sahana Bangena and Savita S went to the Grinagar police station as they had received news about five hijras being arrested and detained, and allegedly been beaten by members of the Grinagar 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 Grinagar police station, and later at the Banashankari police station. They have been  accused  of offences punishable under Section 143 (unlawful assembly), 145 (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 released on bail on 22 October 2008.

1246. In the evening of 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 detentionof the Sangama crisis team members and to try and negotiate their release. Six delegates from the protestors had been detained for about four hours at the police station and  were  subjected  to  physical  and  verbal   abuse.  In  the  meantime  members  of  the 375. Banashankati police attacked the peaceful protestors 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 about seven hours.

1247. Concern was expressed that the harassment, arrest and detention of the five members of the NGO Sangama may  have been  solely related to their peaceful activities  in defence of human rights, especially their work on the rights of sexual  minorities,  including  hijras. Further concern was expressed that this may have formed part of an ongoing campaign of intimidation of the Bengaluru policeforce regarding hijras and NGOs acting in their defence.

Link to full text of the report: Summary of cases-SR Human Rights Defenders-2009-eng