India: Kidnapping and re-trafficking of 12 year old Shama Parween

Re: Kidnapping and re-trafficking of 12 year old Shama Parween

To: Director General of Police, 1-Tilak Marg, Lucknow; District Magistrate, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh; and others

From: Trisha Apland, LRWC Member

Date: 2009-08-06

Dear Sirs:

Re: Kidnapping and re-trafficking of a twelve-year-old girl
Date of Incident: 16 June 2009

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”) is a committee of Canadian lawyers who promote human rights and the rule of law on an international level.

We write to voice our concern for the welfare and safety of the child, Shama Parween, also known as Shamanaz or Munni, aged 12 years, daughter of Shamsunisha, resident of Dulhipur village, Muhgalsarai Police Station, Chandauli district. We are informed that she is possibly the victim of re-trafficking and mishandling by the local police.

We have information that Shama Parween was kidnapped for the purpose of trafficking and subjected to physical abuse by the following perpetrators (collectively the “Perpetrators”):

1. Mr. Mehndi
2. Mr. Haider
3. Chanda, wife of Mr. Haider

The Perpetrators are residing at Doshipura under the jurisdiction of Jaitpura Police Station, Varanasi. We are informed that Shama Parween had been rescued from the Perpetrators but then put in the custody of her father and may now be the victim of re-trafficking.

Failure to protect and properly investigate violations of the rights and freedoms of Shama Parween constitutes an egregious breach of India’s duties under binding international laws and principles including those set out by the United Nations Declaration on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

We are informed that on June 16, 2009 Shama Parween’s mother, Shamsunisha, resident of Dulhipur village, under the jurisdiction of Muhgalsarai Police Station, Chandauli district, requested authorities to immediately rescue her daughter and register a case against Perpetrators. This complaint was made at the office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police (the “DIG”) in Varanasi. The DIG received the complaint and instructed Shamsunisha to go to the Jaitpura Police Station where the officers were instructed by the DIG to investigate the case.

We are informed that the Jaitpura Police Station failed to take immediate action as directed by the DIG to recover Shama Parween. As a result, Shamsunisha had to repeatedly attend the DIG’s office and plead for action. In particular, it is reported that:
1. After attending the DIG, Shamsunisha attended the Jaitpura Police Station on or about 11 am June 16, 2009, but was sent home and told to return the next day when action upon her complaint would be taken.
2. Shamsunisha, rightfully concerned, went back to the DIG’s office to urge the superior officer that immediate action must be taken due to the serious nature of the possible danger to her daughter, and that should such action fail to occur, her daughter may be transported to another place. Consequentially, the DIG again directed the Jaitpura Police Station to take immediate action.
3. Shamsunisha knew the location her daughter was being held and informed the Jaitpura Police Station she would guide the police to the exact location, however, the Jaitpura police did not take the necessary action that day.
4. Shamsunisha once again sent another application to the DIG urging immediate action.

We are informed that on or about10:00 am June 17, 2009, Shama Parween was finally recovered from Doshipura, a place within the jurisdiction of Jaitpura Police Station. However, the Jaitpura Police Station continued to mishandle the case resulting in further victimization: The police failed to register a case against the Perpetrators; no medical examination of Shama Parween was conducted upon her rescue to assess her physical state; and contrary to the required rules and guidelines, she was not presented before a magistrate in order to record her statement.

We are also informed of alleged corruption on behalf of the Jaitpura Police Station. In particular, despite Shamsunisha request that Shama Parween as a minor, be held in a women’s police station, the police refused to transfer her to such a facility. Instead, the Station House Officer at Jaitpura Police Station threatened that unless Shamsunisha form a compromise with the Perpetrators he would hand Shama Parween over to her former husband Mr. Abbas, who would then sell her back to the Perpetrators for child trafficking. The Station House Officer offered Shamsunisha a sum of money in exchange for such a compromise; Shamsunisha refused.

We are further concerned that on June 18, the City Magistrate of Varanasi passed an order giving immediate custody of Shama Parween to her father, Mr. Abbas, neglecting to follow the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Children Care and Protection) Act 2000. We are told the magistrate also failed to arrange a medical examination for Shama Parween and rejected the testimony of Shamsunisha without good cause. Since Mr. Abbas took custody, Shamsunisha has no knowledge of her daughter’s whereabouts.

Requested Action
This matter requires immediate attention and we therefore request you to take all appropriate steps:

1. To ensure the safety and welfare of the victim, Shama Parween as to her current
condition and whereabouts, including the reopening of custody hearings;

2. To inquire into the entire case and investigate the actions and the handling of the case by the Jaitpura Police Station; and

3. Jaitpura Police Station and officers undertake a full investigation of those involved in this criminal activity.

Please advise LRWC by mail, e-mail or fax of the steps you are taking to immediately meet the above and stop the victimization of Shama Parween.