Violation of human rights, dignity & reputation

via Press Release published on November 22, 2008

New Delhi: A delegation of 81 eminent citizens comprising retired army officers, retired police officers, lawyers, media persons and social workers today marched to the office of the National Human Rights Commission and presented a petition seeking enquiry into the violation of human rights of Sadhvi Pragya and others accused in the Malegaon blast case.



Led by former Punjab Director General of Police, Mr. K.P.S. Gill, the delegation met Justice G.P. Mathur, Member, NHRC and presented a memorandum.



Mr. Gill told the Commission that prima facie a gross violation of human rights has taken place as Sadhvi Pragya was illegally detained for nearly 13 days; physically assaulted and mentally tortured in police custody with no female police officers present; robbed of her dignity by officers who questioned her chastity; interrogated and transferred from one place to another without the presence of female police officers; and worst of all, denied access to her family and lawyers.



The delegation expressed astonishment that despite the affidavit of Sadhvi Pragya being widely covered in the media, and even published in its entirety in one newspaper, the Commission had taken no notice of the case. Justice Mathur assured that the Commission would study the memorandum and follow the due process in the matter.



Other members of the delegation included Mr Balbir Punj, MP Rajya Sabha; Mrs. Nancy Kaul; Brig R.B. Sharma; Mr. Praful Goradia, former MP; Prof. J.S. Rajput; Prof. Makkhan Lal; Mr. K.N. Govindacharya; Mr. Kanchan Gupta, Mr. Jay Bhattacharjee; Mrs. Meenakshi Lekhi, Mr. Rajesh Gogna, Mr. Tarun Vijay, Mr. R. Balashankar; Mr Deepak Rath; Mrs. Jaya Jaitly; Mr. K.R. Phanda and Ms. Sandhya Jain.



Later, a smaller group visited the National Commission for Women and presented a similar petition demanding intervention in the violation of human rights and illegal detention of Sadhvi Pragya, on the basis of her sworn affidavit in a Nashik court.



A copy of the petition to the NCW is attached below.



21 November 2008




Dr. Girija Vyas


National Commission for Women

4 Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg

New Delhi




Sub: Violation of human rights, dignity & reputation of Sadhwi Pragyan Singh Thakur



Dear Madam,



We the undersigned citizens of India are appalled by the gross abuse of Sadhvi Pragyan Singh Thakur’s human rights, dignity, civil liberties, and reputation, by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad.



We are extremely disturbed about the cavalier fashion in which the ATS ignored the law of the land and various judgements of the Hon’ble Supreme Court while inquiring into allegations against Sadhwi Pragyan Singh Thakur and others who have been arrested and are, since 20 November 2008, being held under MCOCA after repeatedly seeking and securing their remand on charges for which no evidence has as yet been put forward.



Sadhwi Pragyan Singh Thakur submitted a sworn affidavit in the Nashik court on 17 November 2008. Prima facie the affidavit reveals serious violations of her rights and those of others named in her statement.



Some points that should be of concern to the National Commission for Women include:


1.      She was illegally detained for 10 days and shifted from one place to another.


2.      She was physically assaulted and mentally tortured in custody.


3.      She was robbed of her dignity by the ATS which questioned her chastity.


4.      No female police officers were present during her interrogation and transfer from one place to another.


5.      She was denied the right to contact her family and her lawyer.



So immense was her trauma that she even contemplated committing suicide. She was subjected to narco-analysis and brain-mapping tests without her consent; these methods of interrogation are used to make accused persons incriminate themselves, and they were continued even though they repeatedly failed to achieve this objective.



A copy of her affidavit is attached to this petition. We have also attached a copy of The Pioneer, published from New Delhi , dated November 19, 2008, which has reproduced the text of the affidavit.



We believe the National Commission for Women should inquire into the issues raised in the affidavit, especially as Sadhwi Pragyan Singh Thakur and others have been detained under MCOCA. Not to do so would be to deny her right to liberty, dignity, and reputation to which she and other accused are entitled.



Thanking you


Yours sincerely


(The undersigned citizens of India )


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