This year has been full of activities, and the society diversified its activities. The major activity has been initiating a treatment and rehabilitation center for the victims of torture and violence We started the center at Noida with the help and cooperation of IMA Noida Branch. Later Municipal Corporation of Delhi allotted to our society Basti Vikas Kendra at Srinivaspuri in Delhi. This has been a big achievement for our society. Our society is an informal top of Social Scientists, Artists, Medical practitioners and Educationists who together pool in their resources and expertise for the promotion of social welfare services. We started activities in different areas of the society this year. They are as follows:
1. Survey Work
Our society has been very active in conducting various surveys in the community. These surveys helped us to know more about they community and the people. The work conducted by our research workers in the study of Anganwadis of the Rajasthan State was remarkable as it was done in the summer when the temperature is extremely high. We had done the detailed survey of all the activities of the anganwadi and interviewed many beneficiaries. This work continued for a considerable period of time.
Another survey work was done by our people to study the impact of torture and it's consequences on the refugees and local population. This was very technical work and involved various experts. It required various scientific instruments in conducting the survey. This survey helped us to understand about the problems faced by the poor and underprivileged section of the community. We will be in much better position to organise the health and other services for these poor people. Another very important activity conducted by our center was the survey in the community to study the torture and post traumatic stress disorders. This survey was conducted in areas of Delhi and Noida. In Delhi the refugee community is not stationed in one camp but it is scattered all over. We had identified few patients and did random sampling. This survey has helped us a lot in continuing the work of our center. This survey created much needed awareness in the community.
This survey is one of its first kinds to be conducted in Delhi. This helped us to identify the Torture victims who needed our help very badly. Initially there were lot of difficulties in conducting the survey. The local population refused to cooperate and participate in the survey. Our teams contacted key leaders of the community and explained the purpose of the survey and importance of our services for the community. They were told that the torture victims will get free treatment, counselling and rehabilitation services from our center and the information provided by them will be kept strictly confidential. The lack of trust on our team was another issue, which was tackled very effectively by our team. The regularity and consistency of the services of our center created a sense of trust and dependability in their eyes. Another problem with refugees was that, they initially identified us as a part of Government, but later they cooperated with us.
Among refugees there were other problems. Initially the refugees community did not welcome our team for survey because they had lot of apprehensions. The Afghani Community in India is viewed with lot of suspicion because in recent years there has been involvement of Afghani Militants in the terrorist activities in India. Also in the recent Kargil Conflict in India there was apparent involvement of these militants. The Afghani Community initially thought that we are from the government and want to gather information from them. To tackle this problem we interacted with the key persons in their community with whom we had some contact earlier also. They were taken into confidence and were provided with the detailed information regarding our activities. This convinced the key leaders about the aims and objectives of our center. We also took the Afghani persons as the investigators in our survey team. These actions instilled the confidence among the refugee population. They were quite open in discussing in details about the Torture suffered by them. Since we are able to establish very good contacts with refugee population we will continue to focus on them, as this will provide enough exposure to our team to the problems of torture victims and also it will help us to build the image of our center.
2. Public Awareness Programmes
Our society has been very active in organising various activities, which increases the public awareness and educates them about various issues. We have organised workshops, seminars, lectures and training programmes. These have been appreciated by the people. We have organised various lectures in the University colleges also. This has been done to increase the awareness among college students and teachers. To mention few of these programmes as follows, we organised a lecture on "stress management" at Vivekananad College. This was done to increase the knowledge of staff and students about the stress. It was told that how they should manage the stress.
We organised a workshop of NGO's working in Delhi on "Human Rights & Role of NGO's". This is a burning topic and there are several instances where Human Rights of lower class people are violated. The NGO's are not very clear how they should manage these issues. This workshop helped in clearing various doubts and showed ways by which NGO's could work.
Another lecture was organised of "Depression and Anxiety among females". This is a very common problem among females. This causes lot of morbidity and work problems about which people are to aware.
A workshop was organised on "Child Abuse a growing menace". The children of backward and lower socioeconomic strata suffer a lot of because of child abuse. Work has not been done in this area. Our society took initiative in this field and worked for this cause. Another purpose was to create a networking among various NGO's working with children.
3. Management of Torture Victims
The people of lower socioeconomic strata are usually denied of their Human Rights. They are tortured by authorities as well as people of higher socioeconomic strata. These affected people are mostly neglected by others. No body thinks about them. No help comes to them. Seeing the plight of these people our society decided to start a center to rehabilitate these victims of torture. The center provides them rehabilitation free of cost. The victims are provided medical, psychological, social, psychiatric and physiotherapy treatment free of cost. These services help these victims to start their life again in proper manner. A very dedicated trained professional people are managing this center. The torture victims which were identified by our survey team were immediately provided the help. These victims were immediately examined by the Psychologist, Psychiatrist and the physician. The physician assessed the general physical condition of the victim, and provided the necessary medical help to the victims. The physician also assessed the need of other specialized doctors for the victims. The psychologist assessed the psychological needs and provided them the necessary assistance in consultation with the psychiatrist.
Our Center provided medical, psychological, social and physiotherapy management to victims of torture and violence. The victims were greatly benefited by such help. These victims were not aware that specialized help is available for such kind of problems. Nobody in the past ever thought of asking about these problems what to talk about providing remedial measures. They continued to suffer silently. We could see a change in their behaviour and attitude after providing them proper care and help. Their perception towards life changed from negative to positive view. Our center provided these refugees an emotional outlet where having several physical as well as psychological problems. They could get medical help for their physical problems in the past, but they never got any help for the psychological problems. Very few people could afford the help of private Psychiatrists and Psychologists initially but later they also could not continue with it, as they did not have enough money to afford the services of Private Psychiatrist or Psychologist. The center was able to provide help to Seventy Eight torture victims during the project period.
The victims were benefited very much by the comprehensive services provided by our center. The victims also needed much required help of physiotherapist. The physiotherapist made several home visits and provided his specialized services to the victims. The victims were provided relief in their joint pains and backache. The victims were very happy to get such good care. The victims were able to move around more freely. Their intake of painkillers were reduced to a great extent.
In the initial stages the victims did not have confidence and trust on our center. They hesitated in visiting our center overcome this problem our center staff visited them at their residence. The visits of social worker, physician, psychologist and psychiatrist to their residence created the much needed confidence and trust among them for our center. They started visiting our center regularly. When our team visited their houses their family members also came forward with their complaints. Our team treated the family members of the victims also. This action of our team created confidence in the minds of the victims that we were really interested in their welfare.
4. Clinical training workshops for health professionals
Several workshops have been organised to train doctors and health professionals to the poor and helpless victims of torture and violence. These workshops have helped the health professionals to develop various counselling skills to help the poor and helpless people and to make the society more livable.
5. Seminars, Conferences and Workshops organised on Torture
Shubhodaya Center observed 26th June, UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture for the first time after it started functioning in April, 2000. These was a lot of enthusiasm and vigor among the staff members of the center to organise activities for this day. The following activities were organised during the week preceding 26th June.
1. PUBLICITY AMONG NGO's
An Information Kit was prepared which was distributed to all the NGO's working in the area of Human Rights in around Delhi and Noida. This kit was prepared on the basis of the information kit provided by IRCT. This kit had information regarding the importance of 26th June, the problems of the torture victims and the role NGO's can play in providing relief to the Torture Victims. The Information about our Center activities and functioning were also distributed to the NGO's. The publicity material which was provided by IRCT was also distributed to the NGO's. They were also encouraged to organise some activities at their end.
2. PRESS CONFERENCE
Press Conference and Media Awareness meeting was organised on 24th June, 2000. The Press Club of India was sensitized and made aware of 26th June and its importance in the movement against the Torture. The Press Club of India responded positively to our initiative and this meeting was organised in collaboration with them. About 30 journalists participated in this conference belonging to National English Dallis as well as Local Language Newspapers. The Press Conference was addressed by Dr. Pradeep Agrawal, Hony. Center Director, Dr. J.C. Sobt, IRCT Liaison Officer, Mr G.S. Bhargav, Senior Journalist. The conference evoked a very good response among journalists and lot of issues were raised and discussed. Next day a large number of National English Dailies and Local Language Newspapers carried news about 26th June. The press coverage made our programme very successful.
3. SENSITISATION AND AWARENESS MEETING FOR DOCTOR'S
To create awareness among Doctor's and to sensitise them about the issues of Torture and the Victims, a meeting was organised on 25th June, 2000 at Noida. The Indian Medical Association, Noida Branch was approached to participate in the programme for 26th June. The Office Bearers in IMA, Noida Branch became very activated and gave their consent to participate in the meeting organised by us. The invitation for this meeting was sent to all the doctor's practicing in an around Noida. Scientific Programme was prepared for this meeting. Dr. Pradeep Agrawal, Hony. Center Director gave a Lecture on various types of Torture and its sequelae. Mr. Ashok Chakraborty, Senior Superintendent of the Police, Investigations, National Human Rights Commission was an invited faculty for this meeting. He explained in detailed about the functioning of National Human Rights Commission. He also discussed in the details the issues related to Human Rights and the role of Doctor's in identifying and helping Torture Victims. Dr J.C. Sobti, IRCT Liaison Officer gave the detailed account of the activities of Shubhodaya Center as well as of IRCT in India. Around 150 Doctor's attended this meeting despite it being a Sunday. The meeting evoked a very positive response among Doctor's and they showed their keenness in helping the Torture Victims. Few journalists were also invited for this meeting. Next day report of this meeting was carrying in National Dailies.
4. SENSITISATION AND AWARENESS MEETING FOR LAW PROFESSIONALS AND NGO'S
The theme of this year UN was Reparation therefore, we thought that we must organise a meeting for people working in the Law Profession. The Indian Law Institute was approached by our center to organise a meeting on 26th June for the Judiciary and Lawyers. A detailed Scientific Programme was prepared to organise this meeting. Eminent faculty was invited to participate in this meeting. The Scientific Session was chaired by Mr. Justice Rajendar Sachar former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court. Mr. Justice Anil Dev Singh Judge, in Delhi High Court, Ms Shyamla Pappu, Senior Advocate Supreme Court of India, Mr. Krishnamani, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Prof. A.S. Narang, Indira Gandhi Open University, Mr. Pradeep Bhargav, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Delhi were the invited faculty for this meeting. Mr. Justice J.S. Verma, Former Chief Justice of India, Chairman National Human Rights Commission inaugurated this meeting. Mr. J.S. Verma emphasis the role of NHRC in protecting the Human Rights in India. He also urged the government of India to ratify the UN convention against Torture. The Lectures by the faculty were excellent and thought provoking. The lecture generated a lot of interest among the audience and initiated a very lively discussion. The meeting was attended by around 200 people belonging to law professionals and NGO's. Dr. Pradeep Agrawal, Hony. Center Director explained in detailed about the activities of our Center and also raised some of the problematic issues faced by our center. The NGO's and the Lawyers present in the meeting assured all of their support for this noble cause. The meeting passed a unanimous resolution to urge the government of India to ratify the UN convention against Torture.
5. National Clinical Training Programme for I.M.A. trained counsellors for Torture Victims
Shubhodaya Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and Violence in collaboration with Indian Medical Association, AKN Sinha Institute a National Clinical Training Programme for I.M.A. trained counsellors for Torture Victims, on 16th December, 2000.
I.M.A. AKN Sinha Institute is running a course for doctors to be trained as counsellors. This course is a correspondence course. There is no practical training for these counsellors. It has been felt over a period of time that these doctors need practical training. There are several queries which are there in the minds of the doctors, who are undergoing this course. These queries must be solved in order to make these doctors as effective counsellors.
There was also a need for the staff members of the Shubhodaya Center to undergo a clinical training programme. This training was needed to increase the counselling skills of the staff members to manage the torture victims more effectively. Some of the staff members also needed practical training to understand about the various types of torture and its consequences. There was also a need to give all the staff members an exposure to various rehabilitation measures, which can be utilized to rehabilitate the torture victims.
Keeping in view of all these needs, Shubhodaya Center thought of organising a clinical training programme in which all the needed components for enhancing clinical skills are present. This would help our staff to undergo the required clinical training from the experts in this field, as will as the doctors who have completed the correspondence course would be benefited. This would also save money, time and efforts to organise such training programmes separately.
Efforts had been started two months earlier as the notice for holding such National Training Seminar was circulated thoughtout India. No registration fees was charged but pre registration was required, so as to enable the organisers to plan the training programme more efficiently and effectively. It was also decided by the Shubhodaya to reimburse the travel cost of the participants. This would enable the participants living in far flung areas to enroll themselves for the training seminar.
The notice of the National Training Programme evoked an overwhelming response. We received a large number of registration forms. The Nation training programme was scheduled on 16th December 2000 at I.M.A. Hall, IMA House, I.P. Marg, New Delhi-110002 at I.M.A. Hall, IMA House, I.P. Marg, New Delhi-110002, from 9.00 to 5.00 p.m.
The programme was inaugurated Dr. A.K. Walia, Honb'le Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Urban Development, Government of NCT, Delhi. Dr. Prem Aggarwal, Hony. General Secretary, Indian Medical Association (H.Q.) was the guest of Honour. As per the availability of the Chief Guest, the inauguration of the National Training Programme was kept at 11 a.m.
The National Training Programme was started at 9.00 a.m. The registration of delegates was done from 9.00 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. Delegate kits and relevant materials were distributed to the registered delegates.
The scientific programme of the National Clinical training programme was as follows:
1. Registration 9.00 a.m. to 9.30 a.m.
2. Human Rights, Conventions 9.30 a.m. to 10.30 a.m.
against Torture, N.H.R.C.,
Role of Doctors
Mr. Shanker Sen, former
Inspector General Police,
Director General N.H.R.C.
3. Discussion 10.30 a.m. - 11.00 a.m.
4. Inauguration 11.00 a.m. - 11.30 a.m.
Dr. A.K. Walia Hon'ble Minister Chief Guest
of Health & Family Welfare
Dr. Prem Aggarwal Guest of Honour
Hony. General Secretary, I.M.A.
5. Tea 11.30 a.m. - 12.00 Noon
6. Counselling skills 12.00 Noon - 1.00 p.m.
Dr. Naresh Goel, Hony. Executive
Secretary, IMA AKN Sinha Institute
7. Lunch 1.00 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.
8. Practice of Torture in India, 1.30 p.m. - 2.30 p.m.
Identification cases in the
Community, Organising Rehabilitation
Service in India
Dr. Pradeep Agrawal, Senior Consultant
Psychiatrist, Hony. Director, Shubhodaya
9. Types of Torture, Identification and 2.30 p.m. - 3.30 p.m.
Forensic aspect of Torture
Dr. N.K. Agrawal, Reader Deptt. of
Forensic Medicine, U.C.M.S.
10. Consequences of Torture, Management and 3.30 p.m. - 4.30 p.m.
Rehabilitation Services for the Torture
Dr. M.S. Bhatia, Reader & Head. Deptt. of
11. Psychotherapeutics skills 4.30 p.m. - 5.30 p.m.
Dr. M. Sahai, Senior Clinical Psychologist
12. Tea 5.30 p.m. - 6.00 p.m.
13. Vote of Thanks & Conclusion of Sessions 6.00 p.m. - 6.30 p.m.
The programme was initiated by Mr. Shanker Sen, who is a former, Inspector General of Police and has been Director General of National Human Rights Commission. There could not be a better person than him to tell about Human Rights and its Violation as he has seen things from both the sides. He had been in the police force and also in N.H.R.C. He explained in a very lucid term, what we understand by Human Rights and its violations. He gave an overview of the situation in India. He dealt in details about various conventions against torture. He said that though India has signed the U.N. convention against torture but it has yet not ratified the convention. But he gave examples of various provisions in our constitution which protects individual against torture. He explained in depth about the functioning of National Human Rights Commission. He also told how a victim or the doctors can approach NHRC to register their complaints. He gave various examples where
NHRC and investigated and granted compensations to the victims. There was active discussion after his talk. There were several queries from the participants, which Mr. Shanker Sen very appropriately answered. Participants highly appreciated his talk.
The next speaker was Dr. Naresh Goel, Hony. Executive Secretary IMA, AKN Sinha Institute. He gave a very important talk on counselling skills. He explained in details about the requirements in an Individual to become a counsellor. He also explained how can some of the skills can be developed in an individual to become an effective counsellor. He then discussed steps, which any counsellor should take in handling the Torture Victims. He said the counselling skills are common when dealing with other types of patients as dealing with torture victims. But there were few skills, which are specifically needed for the Torture Victims. He also explained how an individual can developed a rapport with the victims and how he can extract vital information from him. His talk generated lot of healthy discussion. The participants were highly benefited by the lecture.
After his lecture, Dr. Pradeep Agrawal, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hony. Director Shubhodaya Center, gave his lecture. He gave an overview of the situation of torture in India. He also told which are the states where custodial deaths are maximum and also where the incidences of Human Rights Violation are maximum. He explained at length, how the social workers and doctors can identify victims in the community. He said that one should not expect that victims will reveal information in 1st interview, but it will take few sessions to get the information from them. He also talked in details about organising rehabilitation services for the victims. He also emphasised the need for arranging local resources in organising such services. There were several doubts in the minds of the participants, which were clarified by Dr. Pradeep Agrawal.
Dr N.K. Aggarwal spoke after Dr. Pradeep Agrawal. He is Reader in the Department of Forensic Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences. He spoke in details about various types of Torture. He gave in-depth knowledge about physical, psychological and sexual forms of torture. He showed photographs of various types of Torture. He gave few tips to identify the wounds, which are resultant because of torture. He explained in details about the Forensic examinations and autopsy of the torture victims. He said that if Forensic examination is done properly then the torturers can never escape. The talk was highly appreciated by the participants.
Dr M.S. Bhatia, Reader and Head, Department of Psychiatry, U.C.M.S., spoke after Dr. N.K. Aggarwal. He spoke about various consequences of Torture. He said about physical and psychological consequences of various forms of Torture. He discussed in details about short-term and long-term consequences. He also informed the participants, how they can identify the Torture after going in details about the consequences. He laid lot of emphasis on the psychological consequences as the physical consequences can heal but the former don't. He also gave an in-depth view of organising rehabilitation services for the torture victims. He talk prepared the participants to organise services at their own level, without seeking external aid. Participants highly appreciated his talk and lengthy discussions took place.
Dr. M. Sahai, Senior Clinical Psychologist was the last speaker. His talk on psychotherapy was very important. He initially presented various types of psychotherapies, which can be utilized in treating the torture victims. Later he identified few types of psychotherapeutic techniques, which are very much suitable for Indian conditions. He stressed that for giving psychotherapy in general it is not essential that person should only be a clinical psychologist. Any person who has few skills and has interest in the patient can be suitable person to impart psychotherapy. He presented the steps required in initiating the psychotherapy sessions and how one should continue the sessions. The participants were very keen in learning these skills. There was a very active discussion in the end. The participants thanked Dr. Sahai for such a lucid and interesting talk.
After the teak break, Dr. A.K. Bapna gave the vote of thanks. The participants thanked Shubhodaya Center for organising such National Training Seminar. They said that such seminars should be organised more frequently and if possible they should be organised in various parts of India. This would help more people to be trained to help the torture victims.
6. "Torture and Role of Medical Professionals
Shubhodaya Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and Violence (SCRVTV) organised a symposium in collaboration with Indian Medical Association (E.D.B.) on "Torture and Role of Medical Professionals", at Lajawab Banquet Hall, 25th November, 2000.
Torture ruptures boundaries and fragment an individuals relationship to self. It disrupts wholeness of in the human system. It is one of the most intense forms of Human Rights abuse because it is relational and international. The act of one human being violated by another to such a profound extent is beyond the imagination. It is literally beyond words. The area of Torture is quiet new to India. It is only after establishment of National Human Rights Commission that attention was given to torture and violation of Human Rights. The awareness about Human Right among common man is negligible and among doctors it is very poor. It was with the motive to increase the awareness among doctors about the Human Rights and Torture, Shubhodaya Center thought of organising this seminar with Indian Medical Association (E.D.B.).
Mr. U.K. Chowdhry Addl. Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) consented to be the Chief Guest and Mr. Subhash Chand Kohli, Councillor M.C.D. consented to inaugurate the seminar. The seminar was preceded by the lunch at 1.00 p.m. Dr. Pradeep Agrawal, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hony. Director SCRVTV, DR. M.S. Bhatia, Head, Department of Psychiatry, U.C.M.S. & G.T.B. Hospital and Dr. N.K. Aggarwal, Reader, Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, U.C.M.S. & G.T.B. Hospital were the eminent faculty who delivered the lecture.
Dr. Rakesh Sachdeva, Secretary of I.M.A., E.D.B. branch, welcomed the guests and the members. Dr. Puneet Dhawan, President, I.M.A. (E.D.B.) gave the welcome address. He emphasised the need of such seminars and the requirement such training activities of the Doctors. He also assured that I.M.A. (E.D.B.) would never lag behind in its social obligations. Dr. Pradeep Agrawal, Hony. Director Shubhodaya Center thanked I.M.A. (E.D.B.) in helping to organise such programme. He said that Doctors are usually the first person with whom the Torture Victims comes in contact initially. The Torture Victims usually donot reveal that they have been tortured in first interview. It is only later when they develop rapport and confidence in the doctor they tend to reveal that they have suffered the torture. It also requires that the physician also have some knowledge about torture so that he is able to detect in the initial interviews that the victims has probably suffered tortured. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that Doctors are made aware about such issues. Mr. P. Srikar, General Secretary, Society for Social Research, Art and Culture thanked I.M.A. (E.D.B.) to have helped to organise the seminar. He said that Shubhodaya Center, which is an activity of SOSRAC, would work in close collaboration with I.M.A. (E.D.B.).
Mr. U.K. Chowdhry thanked I.M.A. (E.D.B.) and Shubhodaya Center for inviting him and other Police Officials for this meeting. He also emphasised the need of such programmes, which are very relevant in the present context. He also stressed the need of programmes where the doctors and Police can share a common platform. He said Police force also need awareness about medical issues. It is sometime because of ignorance custodial deaths occurs. He said that a common policeman is not aware of the effects of torture or physical
beating on the psyche of an individual. He also requested I.M.A. and Shubhodaya Center to organise programmes for Police, to increase their awareness about Human Rights and Medical problems.
The scientific programme was initiated by Dr. Pradeep Agrawal, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, L.H.M.C. and Hony. Director Shubhodaya Center. He gave overview of the situation of torture in India. He gave brief description of various forms of Torture. He mentioned about the various activities undertaken by Shubhodaya Center in the area of rehabilitation of Torture Victims. He discussed the role of NHRC and similar other agencies which are working in prevention of Torture.
Dr. N.K. Aggarwal spoke in details about the various types of torture. He told about physical, psychological and sexual types of torture. He also told about some types of torture, which are practiced in India. He also laid emphasis on the forensic aspects of the Torture. He said that by detailed examination one could easily find out whether the person has been tortured or not. He gave few tips to the general practitioner, which they can observe when a victim in brought to them.
Dr. M.S. Bhatia gave a detailed account of the consequences of torture and rehabilitation of the victims of torture. He explained carefully the psychological impact of the torture. He also laid emphasis on the counselling skills of the doctors to handle such cases. He told the audience that physical injuries caused by torture can heal with the passage of time but the psychological consequences never heals an always leave behind a scar. He told the audience that these victims need more of counselling rather than the medication. He gave few practical tips to the doctors of increasing their counselling skills.
There was a very lively discussion at the end of the session. There were several queries from the participants, which were answered by the experts. There were several doctors who volunteered to help the torture victims. A large number of doctors had attended the programme. The meeting ended after the vote of thanks by Dr. R.K. Sachdeva, Secretary of Indian Medical Association (E.D.B.).
7. TORTURE AND ACCOUNTABILITY OF STATE FUNCTIONARIES
Shubhodaya Center for Rehabilitation for Victims of Torture and Violence (SCRVTV) organised a seminar in collaboration with Indian Law Institute on 9th December, 2000 at ILI, Bhagwan Das Road, New Delhi. 10th December is observed as Human Rights Day all over the world. To commemorate this day SCRVTV thought to organise a seminar on this very important topic in collaboration with Indian Law Institute. In past several activities have been organised to highlight the issue of Torture but never the Accountability of State Functionaries was discussed. We cannot curb the menace of Torture unless and until the state functionaries are made accountable.
To make this programme a grand success massive efforts were made by SCRVTV and ILI. The programme was divided into 4 Sessions namely: (1) Police and Armed Forces; (2) Media and Doctors; (3) Role of Judiciary and Legal Professions; and (4) Role of Government and Non-Governmental Organisations. A very high profile faculty was requested to participate in this programme. The invitations to participate in this seminar were sent to all NGO's working in the area of Human Rights, Lawyers, Doctors, Social workers, Police personals and Media professionals. More than 300 participants were present in the programme which in fact made this programme a grand success.
The inaugural session of the programme started at 10 a.m. The programme was inaugurated by Mr. Soli J. Sorabjee, Attorney General of India, the Chief Guest was Mr. Feodar Starcevic, Director, UN Information Center, the Guest of Honour was Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India and it was Presided by Mr. Justice D.P. Wadhwa former Justice Supreme Court of India. A warm welcome address by the Director ILI, Prof. (Ms) S.K. Verma highly venerated the distinguished guests. It was quite heart warming when she introduced the honoured guests whose punctuality was to be commended. Each and every honour of guest was so distinguished in his field that to see all of them seated together at a time was a feast to watch. In her welcome speech, Dr. Verma talked about Torture as a global problem and how the whole of universe is now aware of this and trying to work for this. Inspite of 26th June, being decided as the U.N. Torture Day in support of victims of Torture, the practice has not been abolished. Even now, any confession made before police is not being valued in court of law because of the Torture practice is still perpetuated and persists. She insisted how state functionaries can rectify this through its conventions. Then the guests of honour were given bouquets, which was followed by Dr. Pradeep Agrawal's address. Dr. Pradeep Agrawal being Hony. Director of SCRVTV is also a psychiatrist who is in a better position to understand and analyse the condition of the victims thoroughly.
Dr. Pradeep Agrawal talked on how and for what purpose Shubhodaya Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and Violence became functional in April 2000. Being a psychiatrist himself, Dr. Pradeep Agrawal explained how bad could be the repercussions of the torture as the physical wounds can be treated, but the mental scars never heals. The term torture is so unpleasant even to discuss, it is still practiced in many countries. It is because of which the people are forced to flee from their own homeland and take refugee in other countries. He also went on to make realisation of the fact that torture occurs in mainly poor countries. Here the people are unaware of legalities, there is corruption and violations of law almost everywhere. Hence unless there is accountability of state functionaires there cannot be an end to all the tortures.
Dr. Verma invited Mr. Soli Sorabjee the Attorney General of India to inaugurate the seminar. After thanking everyone, the learned Attorney General of India started his speech on to an apprehension that torture is most brutal, which is nonetheless practiced universally. The term Torture is an international phenomenon, which has seen so many conventions to abolish it till now, but there hasn't been a solution for a complete stop to this malpractice. He regretted that our country still has not improved in anyway despite the universal abhorrence of Torture. Torture in police custody still goes on. Till April, 2000, 109 countries accepted UN convention against torture. The Attorney General of India voiced how the police feel the necessity of Torture to achieve success in solving cases. As also how difficult to hold terrorists who could even blow bridges or bomblast a building. He insisted on educational training where the state some time stops down to the level of terrorists. Mr. Soli Sorabjee also talked about Act. 21, of the constitution which emphasised on giving compensation to the Torture Victim but this is no permanent solution. He spoke about important of article 2 and 3 of constitution which implies absolute prohibition of Torture. To conclude the learned Attorney General said let us thinks the victims as one of our family member and act accordingly. He also praised Shubhodaya Center for its rehabilitation work undertaken for the torture victims.
After thanking Mr. Soli Sorabjee Dr. Verma invited the chief guest of the day. The Director of UN Information Centre, Hon'ble Mr. Starcevic of who else than him of UN official understood the condition of a Torture Victim. He began the speech by reminding that the next day was Human Rights day he thanked the SCRVTV for organising this seminar. He talked of the important of Art 5 of UN Convention against torture. He said Torture is a punishable offence without any justification. Art. 1 clearly prohibits and hence legally defines it as an offence. Mr. Starcevic criticised that in more than 100 countries confessions are made though Torture practice. He stated that its a fact that governments practice Torture to stay in power. The fact that the victims
can never lead a normal life is pathetic. The UN Director for Information Center Mr. Starcevic recalled the conventions made in the world conference. Lastly Mr. Starcevic emphasised the role of NGO's as very important and UN will continue to work against this practice of Torture.
After the UN Director Dr. Verma invited the Senior Advocate of Supreme Court of India Dr. Abhishek Manu Sanghvi. He started with the praise of Soli Sorabjee and his analysis of Torture. He said, it is so easy to condemn Torture but how to actually, stop this practice and hence find a solution for this global problem is difficult. He recalled that Torture is terrible but how low enforcing agencies practice it under the disguise of controlling the law and order. Dr. Abhishek critically expressed as to how to combat the perverse maniac's who think Torture is ultimate weapon and how to eliminate or minimise this. He emphasises on the importance of certain commandments of the D.K. Basu's case guidelines to be followed. He also said that there must be complete abolition of custodial Torture. Dr. Abhishek gave a few suggestions of new type of interrogation rooms. There should be provision of legal aid. Due to monetary disadvantage in our country, the work is restricted. Dr. Abhishek correctly highlighted the role of education in this area at every level beginning from schools and the accountability of state organisations. He also talked of Indian Penal Codes 220, 330, 321 and Art. 95 of constitution. He ended his speech by stating how to end this Torture practice which is worldwide & how universally it should be realised.
Once again after thanking Dr. Abhishek Singhvi, Dr. Verma invited the Hon'ble Mr. Justice of Supreme Court of India, Mr D.P. Wadhwa. In his short speech Mr. Wadhwa started that after hearing everybody's expression about Torture there was noting much to say except how important is state and other functionaries accountability in this regard. He reminded a few case studies such as Chandima of Bangladesh who was gang raped at the Howrah Railway Station and how her case was disposed. She was a foreigner but yet she was granted compensation. He also talked about why police or Army practice this torture for confessions where they may justifying this as this is the only way to deal with Terrorists. Mr Wadhwa praised role of NHRC but compensation is no solution. He also discussed how state functionaries should play a role in dealing with this situation.
The Registrar of ILI, Mr. K.S. Bhatti announced tea break after a brief vote of thanks. After the tea break the scientific sessions were initiated.
Session I: Police and Armed Forces
Justice Arjun Sikri, Delhi High Court was the chairperson of this session. He said when we he wear the word Torture directly or indirectly, positively or negatively we think of Police officials or Armed Forces. Justice Sikri began his speech as to how important is the role of Police in this topic that ensures prevention of crime. Police force should act for protection of human rights especially of women and children, as they are not physically sound but in reality police under pretext of protecting human rights, act by theory of punishment or Torture. He also recalled that Armed Forces are not just to protect the country but also to maintain law and order, peace and rights of a common man. Justice Sikri totally disagreed with the police justification of Torture as the only solution for correct evidence and confession and to maintain law and order. He criticised the custodial deaths. Also in many cases the victims don't die but are tortured so bad that even after the treatment they can't lead a normal life.
Dr. Hira Singh, former director, Institute of Social Defense was the co-chairperson of this session. He said that the condition of Indian prisons is worse on the whole. There is space for 2500 prisoners in Tihar Jail, which is accommodating 12,000--13,000 prisoners. We can just imagine the condition of inmates. Compared to the jails of developed countries our jails are in a very bad shape. Dr Hira Singh himself being Suptt. of Jails
felt that there should be thorough review of who all to be imprisoned and foremost "custodians are not to be so much empower that they might do anything with the criminals. Ending the speech Dr. Hira Singh praised Shubhodaya for its work in Torture Rehabilitation and also requested its Hony. Director Dr. Pradeep Agrawal to raise this issue to reduce custodial Torture in Jails and consequently removal of Torture altogether in from this area.
Prof. M.Z. Khan, Professor of Social Work could; easily analyse that our police are not keeping pace with the changing laws. For Police, it is "law with unlawful means". He quoted experts from the Kautilya period and the then prevailing sense of security in the minds of people. He said balancing is required and the use of 3rd degree torture to get these confessions is no solution. Prof. Khan very correctly said that now police image is totally distorted. He stated the example of one Mr. Ahluwalia a famous witness who witnessed for 1400 cases, in court of law. Prof. Khan concluded his speech by saying that only police official suspensions or transfer are not the solution but there is requirement of fundamental change and revolution in working system of police.
Wg. Cdr. Praful Bakshi himself belonging to army and Advisory to ICRC was the ideal person to analyse the accountability of Police and Armed forces towards Torture. His categorical assertion that Torture is an old as civilisation cannot be denied. He gave events from the Mahabharata period that there was the practice of Torture even at that time. He said that as weaponisation progressed and industrial revolution started taking place, Military Officials defined Torture practice as a necessity in solving major issues. Mr. Bakshi also mentioned that many conventions like the Geneva convention passed against Torture but still the practice of Torture didn't seem to end. Mr. Praful Bakshi also informed that after World War I rules of laws of certain specific usage of weapons were also enforced. Still worse, after the World War II, there was total violation of all rules. The result was Nagasaki Bombardment, causing Japanese destruction. The repercussions of which is spine chilling even today. The Vietnam war again a disaster no rules whatsoever was followed. The universe by this period, had witnessed the mass devilish nuclear power the consequent blood sheds, Tortures deaths etc. Mr Praful Bakshi said in the end, nevertheless that the protocol of Geneva convention, in its Art. 3 emphasised "No Torture in anyway."
Session II: Media and Doctors
This session was for the media and doctors. Mr. Pankaj Vohra of Senior Editor, Hindustan Times took the floor's attention by stating certain concrete facts of human Torture. He started the speech by stating example of a prostituted child who never has seen a school because she is a prostitutes child. He explained as to how this sort of social torture is compared to even custodial Tortures. He offered to extract truth though media, by whatever means hence, as the Police motto, he said "Media is always with you".
The accountability of Doctors towards torture is the most nearest truthful as they are the first ones to be near the victims after their experience of this gruesome ordeal so, it was quite right after When Dr. J.C. Sobti past General Secretary, IMA, aptly aid that doctors are the ones highly vulnerable to human exploitation. He stated that the service of the doctor should not be politically pressurised. He theoretically categorised role of doctors which they should be following and they are :
2. Treating physically as well as mentally ill patients
4. Sophisticated technicalities must be provided and above all
5. They should show interest in educating the people i.e. public awareness.
To conclude he said by following these they will be safeguarding the basic Human Rights. Dr. Pradeep Agrawal himself being a Senior Psychiatrist and Hony. Director for SCRVTV started his short and crisp speech that how a victim whose physical wounds can be treated but psychologically he might always need a support throughout his life. His condition is so vulnerable that he never wants even to discuss these in the society. Here, what a victim needs is a Doctors rapport with which he can be made to come out from his shell and try to lead a normal healthy life. Public awareness, Dr. Pradeep Agrawal emphasised is very important whose co-operation will definitely help the torture victim to come back to rhythm of life. Dr. Pradeep Agrawal is being the Hony. Director of SCRVTV and hence in direct contact with victims of Torture could very well analyse the shortcomings in the life of these people of lesser God, who do not know their basic rights. He also quoted that not all doctors follow the ethical norms. While concluding, Dr. Pradeep Agrawal emphatically insisted for the requirement of Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, which is possible when clinical doctors, psychologists, social workers and public at large join hands together.
Session III: Role of Judiciary and Legal Profession
In Post Lunch Session it was with great expertation one waited for discussion of role of judiciary and legal profession. This section also directly linked to the life of torture victims. Mr. K.T.S. Tuli, Senior Advocate of Supreme Court once again began with the very important topic of the worst kind of Torture, the custodial Torture. He said custodial deaths have always been increasing in a speed, which is worse, because of which the rapport of police is going down day by day. Why this is so, why Supreme Court has failed here? The decisions of Supreme Court is Supreme then why this practice is still on the high, argued the Senior Advocate of Supreme Court. He concluded that there are limitations here also, there is no jurisprudence created to punish custodial deaths. Ultimately, it can only be said that our whole criminal machinery has collapsed-no justification is absolutely straight and smooth ultimately. Mr. Tuli confided that the standard of Judiciary has come down heavily. When talking about the change-the advocate felt the need of dramatic change in judiciary. He argued why a police officer cannot be compensated for his good custodial behaviour. Also very shameful, our system is so meaningless that instant political pressure often hinders police work hence even a straight forward officer has to swallow the wrong orders. Mr. Tuli criticised the working of police and he felt that this could be improved. Still there are no proper interrogation rooms with video recordings or cameras, which should be made available compulsory in every police station. Computers are also very necessary in police stations. So that each and every FIR can be recorded and provide all these modern facilities in police station. Mr. Tuli felt these measures could definitely control custodial crimes considerably.
Very shameful, but as Ms. Kirti Singh, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India raised the topic of custodial rapes, image of police crumbled down which left only a bitter taste. She complained of provision of no proper separate women custodial rooms. She aid procedures are not followed properly by the police officials. Secondly, any defense lawyers have no ethics, their limits to conduct cases are very cheap. All these makes victims of rape to go back to their shell rather than fight for cause. Another point emphasised by Ms. Kirti Singh was that unless and until it is a dowry case, any other harassment is not taken seriously. Not even a FIR is registered, when it is a non-dowry matter. Agreeing to Ms. Kirti Singh complaints, Justice Sareen concluded that there is a need for humanising the police force.
The next speaker was Ms. Mamta Saighal Ex. General Secretary of Delhi Legal Aid Cell and the topic she spoke on was domestic violence. She said that to reduce domestic violence. She said that no reduce domestic violence the girls, before marriage should be properly educated and they should be aware of what marriage is. Also the boys should be made to realise as to why he should loose his self-respect by accepting dowry. In India this knowledge should be directed to children right from the school level so that they take good decisions when they grow up.
Session - IV : Role of Government & Non-Governmental Organisations
Prof. A.S. Narang of IGNOU was the chairperson. This session started with the argument that women working for reforms are often tortured or harassed. It is important that women should be mobilised and educated against Torture. Victims should come out with their experiences without any hesitation and they should not go back in seeking legal and medical help.
Ms. Mamta Saighal here very correctly pointed out that unfortunately the role of NGO starts only after the problem has been their long time. She said the girls and boys do not know the age of marriage above all, the parent's interference makes it even worse. And when after so many egoistic clashes and mistakes by both the families, the NGOs try to intervene and help in some of them but their counsellors are not properly trained. There are monetary setbacks also in the NGO's, as they are not paid well. Ultimately, there are always shortcomings and their problems are not fully resolved.
Then it was the turn for Ms. Bhama, Deputy Secretary National Commission for Women who took the stage. She started by stating few facts abut how a raped women should prove the morality, how difficult it is to register an FIR and above all how the Torture Victim has to face her own family. Ms. Bhama was absolutely near to truth when she said that in our country female is a vulnerable subject who has to be protected either by father brother or husband. Also she criticised how a woman has to undergo silent Torture. But here, Ms. Bhama's hopeful approach enlightened this negative feature of our society. When she said the NCW is playing voluntary role. Women are opening and have started fighting for their cause leaving shamefulness. She said NGO are also helpful in this context. She quoted that now there are Parivar Mahila Lok Adalats where Distt. Magistrates preside over and a positive justice is given. They deal with all kinds of cases such as dowry harassment deaths, police harassment, desertions, rape, molestation's etc. She talked of rapid women seeking police help and there also she faces police molesting here. How hopeless situation for her above all these that she is not accepted by her own husband. This women apathy, Ms Bhama correctly concluded goes beyond torture. Hence, she said whether it is NGO, state functionaries or individuals, all should come and work together for this cause. NCW is always on the go to help them by all means.
Ms. Kamal Singh from the British Council Division began her speech by requesting all NGO's to come together and work, especially for children issues. She talked of how important are Art. 16, 37 & 38A of constitution. She emphasised on how important are teachers for children. Child abuse victims can look upto his teacher for help. Also, here health professionals plays, a key role. She talked of how UK project is playing an important role in Punjab. NHRC has also has done a very good job in Punjab in helping school children to work against the practice of Torture. And the children are doing a good work. She informed how in UK a child can dial 1098 and get any sort of help. She concluded on how successful is the UK Project in Punjab especially for children.
There were very active participations by the audience in every session. Very fruitful discussions took place during the course of sessions. The participants and the faculty highly appreciated the efforts made by SCRVTV and ILI in arranging this very important seminar. Everybody was of the unanimous opinion that to curb the practice of torture in India such seminars should be more frequently organised and faculty from diverse areas should participate. The day ended with a positive note that the awareness against torture in the community is increasing and in near future we may have a torture free society in India.
8. TORTURE AND ROLE OF MEDICAL PRACTITIONER
Shubhodaya Center for Rehabilitation for Victims of Torture and Violence in collaboration with Indian Medical Association (Delhi North Zone) organised a seminar on 4th December, 2000 at Amitabh Hall Bungalow Road, New Delhi. The topic of the Seminar was "Torture and Role of Medical Practitioners".
Torture is a big blot on the human race. Human being committee these acts against their own fellow beings. The torture has permanent effect on the psyche of the individual. The physical wounds heal after some time but the psychological wounds are like cracks in the mirror, whatever we may do, these cannot be repaired. The incidences of torture are increasing day by day. Everyday we find one story or the other regarding torture, appearing in the newspaper.
There has been no special training of doctors to handle the torture victims. These victims require specialised handling to get over the effects of torture. These victims are very fragile and if any wrong measures are taken then they can create more problems rather than alleviating them. Taking this into consideration, Shubhodaya Center thought of organising a seminar for doctors of Delhi to give them exposure regarding torture and its consequences and the management. The books does not provide comprehensive knowledge about the management of victims, more over there are no Indian books, describing management. Therefore these training seminars are very important.
The seminar was held on 4th December 2000 at 2 p.m. The meeting was preceded by Lunch from 1 to 2 p.m. After lunch, there was registration from 2 p.m.. to 2.30 p.m. The participants were registered and the delegate kits were distributed. The inaugural function was held from 2.30 to 3.00 p.m. The seminar was inaugurated by the President of I.M.A. Delhi North Zone Branch Dr. Pradeep Gupta. In his inaugural address, Dr. Pradeep Gupta said that torture and its related problem are increasing day by day. The poor and helpless victims run from pillar to post to get proper help and care. There are no specialist a doctor to help these victims. Sometime because of ignorance more harm is caused to victims rather than providing necessary care. He highly appreciated the efforts of Shubhodaya Center in increasing the treatment skills of the physicians to manage the Torture Victims.
Dr. Mukesh Bhatia, Chairman Scientific Committee also laid emphasis on such training seminars. He said that by organising such seminars we are increasing the skills of the doctors to manage these victims. He said that by treating torture victims, the doctors are fulfilling their social obligations. He said that there is great scarcity of professionals who are experts in managing such poor and helpless victims. He said that doctors who are in private practice should come forward to treat such patients. He said that doctors who are in private practice should come forward to treat such patients. These patients do not get proper attention in government hospitals as they are overcrowded. These patients need individual care which should be provided by private practitioners. He also said that these activities should be on charitable basis as these victims are very poor. He thanked Shubhodaya Center for taking such initiative. He assured Shubhodaya Center that IMA, D.N.Z. Branch will never lag behind in doing such activities.
Dr. Pradeep Agrawal, Hony. Director, Shubhodaya Center, thanked IMA, Delhi North Zone Branch to have helped to organise, this clinical training programme. He said that he was very happy to see so many doctors who had spared their valuable time to attend this important meeting. He said that Shubhodaya Center will always be willing to help the doctors who will be providing care and management to the torture victims.
The scientific programme was started at 3.00 p.m. The first speaker was Dr. Pradeep Agrawal. He gave the
overview of the situation of torture in India. He presented the figures of National Crime Reports Bureau and National Human Rights Commission. These figures presented a very grim picture and it showed the rising trends of torture in India. There was increase in the number of custodial deaths and also there was increase in the number of complaints of Human Rights Violation, which NHRC received, in previous years. He showed photographs of various types of torture. The participants were shocked to see the barbaric acts which one human being can inflict on the other human being. He also discussed the current situation of torture in India. He suggested some measures how these practices can be minimised. He also laid emphasis on the role of doctor in not only management of such cases but also in prevention of such acts.
After Dr. Agrawal's talk, Dr. N.K. Agarwal, Reader Department of Forensic Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences gave his lecture. He discussed in details about various types of torture. He presented various types of physical, psychological and sexual forms of torture, practice worldwide. He mentioned in details various forms of torture which are practiced in India. He had shown some of the photographs of the postmortems which were done in the victims who had suffered torture by police. He said that after proper forensic examination it can be very easily found out that whether the person has died because of torture or not. He showed some cases in which police had alleged that person had committed suicide but autopsy revealed that death was because of injuries inflicted during interrogation. He also talked about pressures that doctors have to face in these cases. He advised doctors to record the findings whatever they are and should not succumb to pressures. He gave doctors some tips to identify whether the victims have injuries because of torture or not.
After Dr. N.K. Agarwal's presentation Dr. M.S. Bhatia, Reader and Head, Department of Psychiatry, University College of Medical Sciences spoke. He dealt in details about the consequences of torture. He also discussed about rehabilitation of such victims. He discussed in depth about various consequences of torture. He told about various types of physical consequences. He divided them into early and late consequences. He told various signs and symptoms of these consequences so that the doctors can identify them an can know about the causative agent. He laid more emphasis on the psychological consequences. He also said that physical injuries can heal but psychological consequences. He also said that physical injuries can heal but psychological consequences cannot heal. We at best can take measures which will enable a person to bear these consequences. He also emphasised that correct measures should be adopted to handle such victims. He said that victims never reveal the information regarding torture in first interview, it takes three to four interviews to establish rapport with the victim then only he or she reveals the information. He also told the key points by which the doctor can get the information more easily. He explained the doctor various practical tips by which they could help the victims at their own clinics.
At the end of the talks, there was a session for discussions. There was a very active and healthy discussion among the participants. There were several questions which were answered by the expert panel. There were several doctors who at the end of the session were very much willing to offer their services for the noble cause of helping the torture victims.
The session ended after the vote of thanks by Dr. A.K. Jain secretary of I.M.A. Delhi North Zone Branch.
This year has been full of activities. Our team from center participated in the regional seminar organised in Nepal by CVICT and IRCT. Seven countries had participated in that seminar. It was a wonderful opportunity for our people to gain from the experience of others and we shared our experiences with them. We were able to put in the experience gained there in our clinical practice.
We hope that the vigour shown this year by our team members will continue with more force next year also.