Justice for M. Landhoni- fasting lady in the custody!

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By  G.S.Oinam Silent but hunting for about one ill-fated mother and her two children! How a private school teacher (strict in attendance and teaching) having two children, one is 6 month old baby to look after, can be an active member of outlaw organisation as charge sheeted under case No. 01/2010 under section 120(B), 121(A) 122 IPC & section 16, 17, 18, and 20 of UA (P) Act, 1967 as amended in Act 35 of 2008 which implies  imprisonment may extend to 2 years and shall liable to fine  under UA (P) Act. And, how can she do systematic war against India” and trying to bring Maoists and three other outfits of Manipur under one umbrella to “destabilize” the country? What is her qualification and experiences or any other skills? Her love and affection of her husband and ignorance of law being women is human nature, perhaps, like to meet her husband, member of UNLF (outlaw organisation listed under UAPA). Even in the Case of Binayak Sen, sympathizing with nexals does not amount to sedition, says Supreme Court. And he was released on bail. The worry is about the trouble lives of M. Landhoni Devi’s two children. For the god sake, justice must be given to her and her children. Possible options are re-appealing for bail out to trial court / High Court or Supreme Court notification to trial court. But the question is, a woman drawing private school salary about Rs2000/- per month can move the case to higher court? From the government side, state government intervention and law commission revisit laws relating to UAPA. May the home ministry kindly re-examine the case as a special one?
Justification–Landhoni told to The Telegraph (Kolkata base newspaper) correspondent on March 28, “After the police arrested me, I applied for bail. The court had passed an order that if the NIA failed to file a charge sheet against me within 180 days of my judicial custody, I would be granted bail. Since the NIA filed the charge sheet a day after expiry of that period, I should have been released. Not only is the investigating agency detaining me illegally, but it is also delaying my court hearing. My hearing was supposed to take place today. Instead, I was shifted to the hospital.” Landhoni decried the silence of the State Government when she was re-arrested by NIA after she was granted bail for six months by the Court. For any unwanted consequence resulting from the fasting, the Central Government, the State Government and the NIA should be held responsible, Landhoni asserted.
Background: Khwairakpam Jiten alias Khomba ‘Lieutenant’ of UNLF and his wife Khwairakpam (O) Moirangthem Ningol Landhoni Devi were among nine alleged UNLF cadres arrested in Guwahati from one particular place by a combined team of the CRPF and the Assam Police. On the same day 10 other UNLF cadres were also arrested from other parts of Guwahati. The date was August 18, 2010. All 19 arrested were taken into custody by the NIA. Landhoni was arrested on August 18 when she went to meet her husband and on August 20, she was produced before the CJM Court of Cachar. At the time of the arrest, the only possession on Landhoni was a mobile phone, news reports said.
Regardless of an earlier bail granted by the Court, Landhoni Devi has been booked by NIA charging her to be a member of the proscribed outfit. Landhoni decried the silence of the State Government when she was re-arrested by NIA after she was granted bail for six months by the Court. Bail application filed by Landhoni’s counsel was rejected by the NIA Court on March 7 subsequent upon which the detainee resolved to launch the democratic protest inside the jail. She has also been fasting for sometimes in protest against the false charges against her. Decrying the charges leveled against her by the NIA, she started fasting from March 8, a day after she was produced in the special NIA court in Guwahati. Her bail petition was rejected by the court on the same day. Taking the stir seriously, jail authorities are trying to force feed her. But she is remaining firm on her decision to continue with her stir, the report said. In the meantime, family members of Landoni have strongly condemned the jail authority in Guwahati for not allowing meeting her. She was sent back to the Gauhati Central Jail from Gauhati Medical College on March 25 after the doctors declared that her physical condition has started showing signs of improvement.
Counsel of Landhoni, Asim Talukdar while speaking to the media said that, Landhoni who has been moved to the Gauhati Medical College after she launched a fast unto death agitation to protest her confinement is now determined to approach the Guwahati bench High Court to seek redressal for wrongful confinement. The bail which was moved earlier was heard and squashed on March 14 by the NIA Landhoni yet to give up fight, to approach High Court, said the Counsel. With other no other options left, Landhoni has decided to approach the Gauhati High Court said Talukdar. Necessary documents, including certified copies from the NIA court have been obtained, said the counsel.
A memorandum to this effect has also been sent to the Union home minister and the chief minister of Manipur, seeking intervention in the release of Landhoni. The memo termed the arrest of Landhoni from Guwahati on August 18, 2010, as “falsely implicated”. Appeals for her release have been made by rights bodies and civil organisations and various news channels reports about the development, but to no avail.
Various news reportsImphal Free Press published that Landhoni was arrested along with one Kh Jiten alias Khomba from Guwahati on the night of August 18, 2010, when they went to meet her husband and that Landhoni is a house wife not involved with any proscribe organization. The spokesperson further mentioned that separation from her two children for about the past seven months has created a lot of suffering to her children and further mentioned that the hunger strike which Landhoni has proceeded with might be due to this separation from her child. The long separation may even caused permanent disorientation to her eldest daughter who is presently suffering from mental depression.
Landhoni needs help (Hueiyen Lanpao daily paper editorial) – Is Landhoni a hard core ultra who deserves an unbailable detention? Posing this question would lead to splitting hairs on the issue. The moot question is, can this woman be denied access to her children by the NIA? The question needs no answers. This is a sort of situation where the meaning of sympathy, empathy, humanitarianism and human rights impacts everybody’s minds. We have to read between the lines here. She is the mother of two children of whom one is just six months old. She said she is a teacher in a private school and mother of two young children who need her constant attention and has no time to be involved in acts of sedition and that she should be released. The women bodies say she has been deliberately implicated in the case on the basis of a statement of one Amusana Devi who was also intimidated to do so. Under the circumstances the release of Landhoni can be secured only by intervention of the state government.
Sangai Express (editorial) – Landhoni critical– With the condition of Moirangthem Landhoni Devi, who has undertaken a fast unto death strike inside the Gauhati Central Jail since March 8 in protest against detention over alleged trumped up charges by NIA, deteriorating day by day, staff of the hospital in the jail had to put in extra efforts and work as locating her veins had become a tough task. According to information received from inside the jail, Landhoni has completed 25 days of fasting today…. Regardless of an earlier bail granted by the Court, Landhoni Devi has been booked by NIA charging her to be a member of the proscribed outfit.
Manipur Mail-The signatories of the memorandum also staged a sit-in today at Tera Lukhrakpam Leikai in Imphal West in protest against the act of detention. The united women organizations that are at the forefront of the protest are Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup (AMKIL), All Manipur Women’s Social Reformation and Development Samaj (NUPI SAMAJ), Universal Mothers’ Organization (UMO), All Manipur Tammi Chingmi Apunba Nupi Lup (Tammi Chingmi) with support from meira paibis from Tera Lukhrakpam Leikai, Amudon Akham Leikai, Khuraijam Leikai etc
The Telegraph Kolkata –Protest threat –The Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup, a women’s organisation, today threatened to launch a statewide agitation if Moirangthem Landhoni Devi, the wife of a UNLF cadre was not freed unconditionally by the National Investigation Agency. Landhoni was arrested along with some other cadres from Guwahati while she went there to meet her husband Moirangthem Jiten, a UNLF cadre, in August last year. She claimed she was not a militant and pleaded innocent. Landhoni has been fasting for many days after her bail was denied. She is now in Gauhati Medical College and Hospital. “Landhoni committed no crime. She is only wife of a militant and she was arrested while going to meet her husband. If she is not released unconditionally we will launch a mass movement in Manipur,” Ph. Sakhi, the president of the women’s organisation, warned today.
E-paper Telegraph–Woman rebel on fast hospitalized; Guwahati, March 11: A suspected United National Liberation Front (UNLF) cadre, M. Landhoni Devi, was admitted to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) today, following her refusal to touch food since the past four days. Laldhoni, who has been alleging that Assam Police and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have been detaining her illegally in the Guwahati Central Jail, resorted to the hunger strike to reiterate her demand for bail. Since she has been refusing to eat, the police,
The North East Today( Shillong) -The call for the release of Moirangthem Ningol Landhoni who has been ‘falsely implicated’ and lodged in Guwahati Central Jail for over seven months now has grown shriller with united women front drawn from Meira Paibi Lups (women torch bearer association or activists) of Manipur throwing their weight around the issue. The united women voice has given the State and the Central government to respond positive to its demand within 3 days from April 6 failing which the association will explore different forms of agitation .A memorandum to this effect has also been sent to the Union home minister and the chief minister of Manipur, seeking intervention in the release of Landhoni.
Gauhati Medical College and Hospital – Silo breaker: Woman rebel on fast hospitalized. Guwahati, March 11: A suspected United National Liberation Front (UNLF) cadre, M. Landhoni Devi, was admitted to the Gauhati Medical collage and Hospital.www.silobreaker.com/gauhati-medical-college-and-hospital-11_86773436
Morung Express (Nagaland)-She has also been fasting for sometimes in protest against the false charges against her. The Meira Paibi Lup stated that Landhoni is just a school teacher having two children to look after and is not connected to the activities of underground…
Eastern Mirror, Nagaland- the Meira Paibi Lup stated that Landhoni is just a school teacher having two children to look after and is not connected to the activities of underground organization. “She is not even a member of the UNLF and also not connected with any activities of the said organization,” they said.
The signatories of the memorandum also staged a sit-in today at Tera Lukhrakpam Leikai in Imphal West in protest against the act of detention. The united women organizations that are at the forefront of the protest are Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup (AMKIL), All Manipur Women’s Social Reformation and Development Samaj (NUPI SAMAJ), Universal Mothers’ Organization (UMO), All Manipur Tammi Chingmi Apunba Nupi Lup (Tammi Chingmi) with support from meira paibis from Tera Lukhrakpam Leikai, Amudon Akham Leikai, Khuraijam Leikai etc. Ima Ramani, president of Nupi Lup, said in the sideling of the protest that with the detention of Landhoni on false charges, the right of her students to get education has been deprived.
Legal Provision under UAPA: Under Unlawful activities (Prevention) Act, 1967—the ministry of home affairs lists on its website 32 organisations which are banned under UAPA, amended in 2008 to include terrorism-related activities. Prominent among the banned one are Al-Qaida, Maoist and Nexal groups and north east groups. Once an organisation is termed” unlawful”, serious consequences follow, even for mere members under Section 10 in the offences and penalties chapter of UNPAS. This provision says, “Where an association is declared unlawful by a notification issued under Section 3, a person who is and continues to be a member of such association shall be punishable with imprisonment for term which may extend to 2 years and shall also be liable to fine. Under UAPA, the person need not indulge in or incite violence to be treated as a criminal. With the statute clearly providing that it is a crime to become a mere member of a banned organisation, could the Supreme Court have changed the law without even considering the effect?—Times of India reported.
Case of Binayak Sen: sympathizing with nexals does not amount to sedition, says Supreme Court. The order which emphasized that merely being sympathetic to an outlawed organisation does not render one guilty of sedition.” We are concerned at the implementations of the trial court judgment. From the evidence on record, no case of sedition is made out. At the worst, he can be said to be sympathizer that is all”, a bench of Justice H.S. Bedi and C.K. Prasead said before granting bail to Sen, who was taken into custody on December 24 last year. Binayak Sen was arrested for carrying message between Piyush Guha, a businessman and Narayan Sanyal, a Maoist ideologue-remanded to custody-bail deny. Police filed charge sheet against Sen under UAPA–second bail deny and dismissed. Binayak sen’s wife Ilina Sen and two daughters seek asylum (political) outside India because of the political establishment in Chattisgarh is against them. Sen’s counsel and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani said the trial court was guided by the colonial concept of sedition and its judgment violated at least two Supreme Court judgments enunciating what constitution sedition.
After the SC order, Law minister Veerapa Moily said “sedition laws were ‘outdated’ and needed a‘re look’; SC order on Sen had thrown up many issues. I will consult the home minister and after that law commission could be asked to revisit laws relating to sedition. We can have it re looked”.
Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act : Full judgment of the Supreme Court: mere membership of a banned organisation will not make a person a criminal, in which ruling, came has conveyed the judicial abhorrence towards police employing third degree methods (torture) to extract confessions from suspected accused.
ARUP BHUYAN Appellant (s) VERSUS -STATE OF ASSAM Respondent(s) Criminal appeal no(s) 889 of 2007-Mere membership of a banned organisation will not make a person criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or creates public disorder by violence or incitement to violence, the Supreme Court held on Thursday.A Bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra gave this ruling, setting aside a designated court judgment which convicted Arup Bhuyan under Section 3 (5) of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act of being a member of the United Liberation Front of Asom.
Justice Katju quoted a U.S. Supreme Court judgment which said: “Mere advocacy or teaching the duty, necessity or propriety of violence as a means of accomplishing political or industrial reform, or publishing or circulating or displaying any book or paper containing such advocacy, or justifying the commission of violent acts with intent to exemplify, spread or advocate the propriety of the doctrines of criminal syndicalism, or to voluntarily assemble with a group formed to teach or advocate the doctrines of criminal syndicalism is not per se illegal. It will become illegal only if it incites to imminent lawless action.”
 Arup Bhuyan was convicted under the TADA Act of being a member of the banned ULFA, on the basis of a confession which is admissible evidence under the TADA Act. Allowing the appeal against this judgment of the Designated Court, Assam, in Guwahati, the Bench said the appellant denied that he was a member of the banned outfit. “Even assuming he was a member of the ULFA, it has not been proved that he was an active member and not a mere passive member.” On confessional statements, the Bench said “Torture is such a terrible thing that when a person is under torture he will confess to almost any crime. Even Joan of Arc confessed to be a witch under torture. Hence, where the prosecution case mainly rests on the confessional statement made to the police by the alleged accused, in the absence of corroborative material, the courts must be hesitant before they accept such extra-judicial confessional statements.”
WEAK EVIDENCE:The Bench said: “Confession is a very weak kind of evidence. As is well known, the widespread and rampant practice in the police in India is to use third degree methods for extracting confessions from the alleged accused. Hence, the courts have to be cautious in accepting confessions made to the police by the alleged accused.”
The judges said: “Unfortunately, the police in our country are not trained in scientific investigation (as are the police in western countries), nor are they provided the technical equipment for scientific investigation, hence to obtain a conviction they often rely on the easy short cut of procuring a confession under torture.”
In the instant case, “the prosecution case mainly relies on the alleged confessional statement of the appellant made before the Superintendent of Police. We are of the opinion that it will not be safe to convict the accused on the basis of alleged confessional statement.” Section 3 (5) of TADA could not be read literally; doing so would be violative of Articles 19 (right to freedom) and 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution. The Bench acquitted the appellant of all charges.
Rights of the Public:1. Article 21 of the Constitution provides that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. Every person has the right to live with human dignity which include guarantee against torture and assault.2. Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution gives the individual protection against self incrimination.3. Right to be informed of the grounds of arrest (Section 50, 55 and 75 of the Cr.P.C. & Supreme Court Judgment in Writ Petition (Crl) No. 539 of 1986 D.K. Basu Vs State of West Bengal. 4. Right not to be subjected to unnecessary restraint (Section 49 of Cr.P.C.).5. Right against arbitrary or illegal detention in custody (Section 56, 57 and 76 of Cr.P.C.). 6. Right to be released on bail if arrested (Section 436, 43, 50(2) and 167 of Cr.P.C.)7. Right to obtain receipt when property is seized (Section 100(6) and (7) of the Cr.P.C.).8. Right not to be detained for more than 24 hrs after arrest without judicial scrutiny (Section 57 of Cr.P.C.). 9. Right to medical examination at his behest to disprove the commission of an offence by him or to establish commission of an offence against his body by others (Section 54 of the Cr.P.C.).10. Right to a fair and speedy investigation (Sec. 309 CRPC). 11. Right to legal aid at the expense of the State in certain cases (Sec. 304 of the Code). 12. Any person when arrested has the right to inform his friend/relative of his arrest or detention (Supreme Court Judgment in Writ Petition (Crl) No.539 of 1986 D.K. Basu Vs State of West Bengal). 13. Any person arrested/detained without reasonable grounds has the right to take shelter of the Court U/S 220 IPC. 14. Nothing is an offence which is done in the exercise of the right of private defence (Sec. 96 of IPC). Rights of Women: 1. Every woman has a right to lodge a complaint in the police station, if she is forced to have sexual intercourse against her will (Sec. 376 of IPC). 2. Every woman has a right to take legal action against any person who assaults or tries to outrage her modesty by any deliberate constant gesture or physical force (Sec. 354 of IPC).3. A woman has the right to lodge a complaint if she is being harassed, even teased and passed rude remarks in public places like buses, trains, roads etc. (Sec. 354 of IPC).4. Every woman has a right to take legal action against her husband if she is being tortured both physical and mentally or tortured for not agreeing to the demand of money or valuables (Sec. 498(A) of IPC).5. If the relations of the husband of a woman or her mother-in-law or any other relatives, torture her and demand money, valuable articles from her parents, she can lodge a complaint against them. (Sec. 498 (A) of IPC). 6. If a woman has been kidnapped and either forced against her will to marry any person or to have sexual intercourse, a crime has been committed and she has the right to lodge a complaint. (Sec. 366 of IPC).7. If any person demands or requests for sexual favours, passes sexually coloured remarks, or verbally or non-verbally conducts himself in a sexual manner to the woman at her work place, then she has the right to complain against this harassment to her employer and the complaint would be lodged through as per procedure/guidelines of the Supreme Court. (Supreme Court judgment in Writ Petition No-666-700 of 1992 in Vishaka and others Vs State Of Rajasthan).8. A woman if she is a witness has a right to be examined in her own house in the presence of her close relatives (Sec.160 of Cr.P.C.). 9. A woman should not sign the FIR unless she is satisfied that it is accurate. (National Commission for women). 10. If the officer concerned refuses to register the FIR, a copy of the complaint should be sent to the Superintendent of Police immediately (N.C.W.).11. Every woman has the right to take legal action by approaching the Court if the officer in charge does not take any action on the complaint (N.C.W.).
Rights of child: The UN convention on the Rights of Child which lndia ratified in 1992, lists the following as the Rights of the child. 1. The Right to survival: According to the convention, the “Right to survival includes the right to life, the attainable standard of health, nutrition and an adequate standard of living. It also includes the right to a name and nationality”. These rights seek to ensure that the children have nutritious food, potable drinking water, a secure home and access to health facilities. 2. The Rights to Protection: According to the convention, this right includes freedom from all forms of exploitation, abuse and inhuman or degrading treatment. This includes the right to special protection in situations of emergency and armed conflict. The aim is simple, to protect vulnerable children from those who would take advantage of them and to safeguard their minds and bodies. 3. The Right to development: The right includes the right to be educated, to receive support for development and care during early childhood and to social security. It also includes the right to leisure, to recreation and to cultural activities. This right seeks to ensure that children can study and play with whomever they want, practice their own religion and culture and accept their own uniqueness of other cultures and religion. 4. The Right to participation: According to the convention, the Rights to participation accord the child access to appropriate information and the freedom of thought and expression, conscience and religion. In addition to this, one ought to respect the views of the child. The aim here is to see that the children are able to develop their own set of values and principles and that they have the opportunity to express themselves and their own opinions. Apart from the Rights of Child lay down by the U.N. Conventions following are some of the Rights of child laid down by different Acts & the Indian Constitution: 1. No person below eighteen years of age shall be allowed to work in any mine or part thereof (The Mines (Amendment) Act 1983). 2. No child who has not completed his fourteenth year shall be required or allowed to work in any factory (The factories Act, 1948).
The Juvenile Justice Act, 1986:The Juvenile Justice Act was enacted to provide for the care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of neglected or delinquent juveniles and for the adjudication of certain matters related to and disposition of delinquent juveniles.
 

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