LONDON: The well-known activist and high court jurist justice Ajit S. Bains has been in custody for nearly a month. Arrested April 3 and charged under India’s in famous TADA for a speech he allegedly made at Anandpur Sahib Justice Bains has denied endorsing violent opposition groups and claims he was threatened with torture

Since his arrest his wife was allowed to see him for about five minutes. He reported to her that he had been beaten shortly after his arrest. The case against him is apparently based on Three FILR.s (First Information Repons) that do not even list his name. Held in Bural jail Chandigarh he was not produced in court when his writ of habeas corpus was heard. Unfortunately under TADA a detainee can be held in judicial custody for investigation for up to one year without formal charge.

W.S.O. president G.S Dhillon said (that) “the action of arresting Justice Bains is in human when Beant Singh came to power he took the sarpanch into custody to insult them. When you insult the head of the village you insult the whole village.

Next he put human rights activists in jail and allowed them to be tortured. This is below human values. People like this (Beant Singh) don’t deserve to live in the world nor do they deserve the respect of 9 true leaders since in this case Singh was elected by only 10% of the population while 90% refused to vote.”

Dhillon adds his appeal to other organizations to take notice of the reprehensible action against Justice Bains and to take whatever Strong actions are possible

Also the I S.Y.F. issued a press release that will add its name to the growing list of these speaking for Bains saying” We the International Sikh Youth federation would like to bring to your attention once again how India treats anyone who speaks about Human Rights and Democracy.

Justice Ajit Singh Bains is a former High Court Judge of Punjab 8 well as Haryana and is now currently head in a Human Rights group based in Chandigarh He Was arrested at Chandigarh under the Terrorist and Disruptive Act (ADA)

A member of his family Manmohan Singh (Brother-in law) spoke on a three way line to Chandigarh via Vancouver Toronto Chandigarh with president of I.S.Y.F (Canada) Subunit Vancouver and wife of Justice Bains Rachhpal Kaur. During that discussion it was revealed that Ajit Singh was arrested and hand cuffed while his house was illegally searched. No papers for his arrest and no warrant for the house search were provided

This case is a prime example of what the Indian Government has to say about Human Rights groups. His only crime was that he was gathering evidence of Human Rights abuses and supplying Amnesty International with proof of these violations.

Recently Amnesty International printed a 195 page book tiled Rape Torture and abuse in Police Custody” in which it clearly tells us of the gross violations of Human Rights that occur in Police custody. It documents over 400 cases of torture and deaths as well are rape;

Amnesty Int. has now issued an Urgent Action appeal. The appeal recommends that the public unknown the following efforts:

(1) Expressing concern about the exports that Ajit Singh Bains was reportedly taken away on April 3192 by Punjab police for unknown reasons;

(2) Urging that reports of his arrest be investigated and that he be-allowed immediate access to lawyers and relatives and be brought before a magistrate forthwith.

(3) Seeking assurance that Ajit Singh Bains is being humanely treated and is granted full legal safeguards while in custody

(4) Expressing concern that Justice Bains has been charged under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act under which he can be held in judicial custody for up to one year without formal charge and that this contravenes international human rights standards

(5) Urging that he be immediately released if he is not to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence.

Appeals to:

1) Beant Singh

Chief Minister of Punjab Office of the Chief Minister Chandigarh Punjab India Telegrams Punjab Chief Minister Chandigarh Punjab India DKPS Gill Director General of Police Headquarters (Chandigarh Punjab India Telegrams Director General Police Chandigarh Punjab India 23)Surinder Nath Governor of Punjab Office of the Governor Chandigarh Punjab India Telegrams Punjab State Governor Chandigarh Punjab India. Copies of your appeals to: Punjab Human Rights Organization (Regd) Head Office H No. 22 Sector 2 Chandigarh (U-T.) Punjab India and to diplomatic representatives of India in your country.

Please send appeals immediately check with the International Secretariat or your section office if sending appeals after May 19 1992.

Background information

Amnesty International regularly receives reports that officials fail to acknowledge the detention or whereabouts of people arrested on suspicion of being members or sympathizers of one of the Sikh opposition groups advocating 4 separate Sikh state “Khalistan.” Previously the Punjab press carried several articles in which Ajit Singh Bains alleged that he had received death threats from the Punjab police warning him to cease his activities with the Punjab Human Rights Organization w he chairs. Detainees are often not brought before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest a8 required in all cases under the provisions of section 57 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Sometimes people are held in illegal detention for weeks and sometimes months under special legislation granting the security forces arbitrary powers to arrest and detain people without ordinary legal safeguards during the initial period of detention detainees are often held incommunicado and tortured or ill-treated. In some cases the detainees are eventually found to have died in custody while others are found to have been deliberately killed in custody although official reports say they denied in “encounters” with the police.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 8, 1996