Soldier's wife to approach NHRC against Assam Rifles

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Shillong, Sep 16 (UNI) The wife of an Assam Rifles personnel will file a petition with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against the organisation for 'illegally detaining' her husband Haider Ali for the last nine months.

She further alleged that Haider was being held in a dingy room, with no bed or light, at the paramilitary force's camp in Imphal, Manipur.

Rifleman Haider Ali was put under detention on January 16 under the Army Act for 'improperly' carrying out a campaign, AR authorities said yesterday.

Last year, the detained soldier along with other 1,900 personnel had signed a petition to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, urging better pay and parity for the army personnel for members of the paramilitary force.

''This invited the wrath of high-level officials of Assam Rifles.

Men in uniform are not allowed to write collective petitions,'' Hyder's lawyer Raghavendra Jha told UNI while adding, ''Ali wrote to the commandant of the AR on August 10 last that he was being held captive in a 7 ft x 6 ft room with no bed or light. He was forced to sleep on the floor.'' ''I will appeal to the National Human Rights Council seeking justice for my husband,'' Sahar Bano, wife of Haider Ali said.

On September 6, She moved the Shillong Bench of the Gauhati High Court, contrending her husband was being detained 'illegally' and sought the High Court's intervention.

The High Court has reportedly issued notices to the AR authorities in this regard. Hyder Ali joined the Assam Rifles in 1987. In 1996, he applied for permission to grow beard on religious grounds and the authorities granted the permission.

However, in 1997, Ali was issued with a show cause notice by the Assam Rifles authorities to explain the reason why he kept the beard. One month after the show cause notice was issued, he was dismissed from service by Summary Court Martial.

Ali filed a case with the Delhi High Court and the court quashed the dismissal order, directing the Assam Rifles to reinstate him with back wages.

Moreover, a subsequent appeal filed by the Assam Rifles was also dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2003 and in 2004, Ali was reinstated in service.

Another cause of concern is that for the last 17 months, Ali was not given any leave by the Assam Rifles authorities. Ali's wife and their two children along with Ali's brother, who were all in Shillong to meet their lawyer, said that it was high time for the AR to grant leave as he cannot go home even during Ramadan.


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