Sunday, May 16, 2010

6 months old child and his grand mother killed by BSF

The Acting Chairman
West Bengal Human Rights Commission
Bhabani Bhaban
Kolkata - 27

Respected Sir,

I would like to draw your kind attention into the fact that the Indo- Bangladesh bordering districts under state of West Bengal turn out to be a killing field for posted Border Security Force personnel. The whole attitude and acts by the Border Security Force has been trembling our faiths on ‘Rule of law’ and its subsequent legal deliverances. They are killing innocent citizens without showing any respect for procedures or set rules and laws of the country by their whimsical attitude and scant and aggressive approach to undermine the procedures/ rules and provisions, with great opportunity to enjoy impunity in case of civic offences stated by the socio- legal framework of this country. In their act of complete demolition of set procedures they are not even sparing the women and infants.

I am referring one such case which took place on 04/05/2010 at Village Dakshin Dhadial, Balabhut, Police Station- Tufanganj, District – Coochbehar, West Bengal, India and in representation of ongoing atrocities perpetrated upon the people living along the Indo- Bangladesh border. The incident was adequately published by the periodicals and driven us to make our observation.

We carried out a thorough fact-finding on the issue and thereafter making this complaint.

The actual issue behind the regular skirmishes between the villagers and posted BSF personnel is due to abrupt and irresponsible demarcation between Indo-Bangladesh border and in this course barbed wire fences erected between the countries without following any national and international parameters and beyond any logical justification and rationalities.

This given circumstance driven and compelled the villagers to reach their farming land at the other side of the fence; which is actually located within the Indian Territory, after submitting their Identity Card to the posted Border Security Force personnel (BSF) guarding the border.

On 04/05/2010 around 7.30 am one villager named Mr. Salam Ali son of Mr. Chandmia Seikh aged about 32 years of abovementioned village went for cattle grazing and in due course crossed the barbed fence at so called Indo- Bangladesh border after enrolling his name at the BSF camp as usual in accordance to ongoing practice. But after around 15 minutes some BSF personnel called him and intimated him that he would not be allowed to go to his own farming land at the other side of barbed fence. He asked the reason for restricting his movement but was replied without any reasons by the BSF personnel. Salim Ali protested the act of the BSF personnel, but in vain. In the mean time some more villagers including 7-8 women assembled at the spot. Subsequently he contacted with Mr. Absud Salam; one member of local Panchayat (PRI representative). He also was not entertained by those BSF personnel. At the very moment Mr. Salam Ali saw that his cattle were taken to the BSF camp by some BSF personnel. Soon he tried to prevent them. The other villagers also protested against those BSF personnel and involved into a scuffle with them. Ms. Pariskar Bibi, one of the villagers, was shoved by one of the BSF personnel and resultantly she fell down on the ground. This act of disregard made villagers agitated. Suddenly and astonishingly, Ms. B S Bhamboo; a BSF officer, ordered for firing and following his order Mr. Bijendra Singh Chouhan, a duteous constable of BSF started firing indiscriminately. Consequently, six persons among the assembled villagers got bullet injury. Ms. Basirun Bibi was hit by one bullet at her chest and most pathetically her 6 months old grandson Master Ashique, who was on her lap, was hit by a bullet at his head. They fell unconscious on the ground and profusely bled. The eye-witnesses informed us that the innocent child breathed his last at the spot on the lap of his grandmother.

All of the injured persons including the baby who were supposedly died after the indiscriminate firing were taken to Tufanganj Hospital by the villagers, not by the posted BSF or police. Ms. Basirun Bibi; grandmother of the deceased baby also passed away at the hospital. Two unnatural death cases were registered at the police station regarding the death of Master Ashique and Ms. Basirun Bibi vide no. U.D Case Nos. 24 and 25 respectively. Mr. Nirmalya Gharami; Executive Magistrate and Mr. Bhushan Chhetry, Sub Inspector of Tufanganj Police Station conducted the inquest of the dead body of the baby and Mr. Pradip Halder, Block Development Officer, Tufanganj Block and Mr. Shankaracharja Adhikari, Sub Inspector of Tufanganj Police Station conducted the inquest of the dead body of Ms. Basirun Bibi. The other injured persons namely Ms. Sonaban Bibi, wife of Abdul Gafur Mian aged about 45 years, Mr. Abdul Kader, son of Mr. Iman Ali, aged about 40 years, Mr. Mahiruddin Seikh, son of Mr. Shahid Ali Seikh aged about 39 years and Ms. Pariskar Bibi aged about 45 years; and all are residents of the same and adjacent villages were referred to Coochbehar Zila Sadar Hospital for treatment. All of the injured persons except Ms. Pariskar Bibi, who was already discharged, are surviving at the Hospital with grievous hurt and assault. Three of the BSF jawans were also falsely admitted at the hospital but they have already been discharged because they did not sustain any serious injuries.

On 14/05/2010 around 5.15 pm our fact finding team talked with Mr. S. Adhikari, Assistant Sub Inspector, Duty Officer,of Tufanganj Police Station over phone and came to know that on 04/05/2010 at around 01.05 pm Md. Salam Ali, son of Md. Jahan Ali lodged a complaint vide General Dairy Entry no. 170 against the BSF personnel at Tufanganj Police Station and subsequently one case was registered at the police station vide No. 115/10 dated 04/05/2010 under section 302 of Indian Penal Code against BSF personnel. The Investigating Officer of this case is Mr. Bhusan Chhetri, Sub Inspector of police. Mr. Sushil Kumar Dubey, Company Commandant, ‘G’ company under Battalion no. 113 also lodged a false and fabricated counter complaint vide general dairy entry no. 116 against the villagers of the said village at Tufanganj Police Station and subsequently one case also was initiated at Tufanganj police station vide No. 116/10 dated 05/05/2010 under sections 147/148/149/186/353/325/379/307/506/511 of Indian Penal Code. The Investigating Officer of the case is Mr. Prasanta Das of same police station.

The complaint made by the BSF proves that they are trying to shield their personnel involved in the heinous crime perpetrated by their ranks having no respect to the rule/law/ procedure/ directives for firing.

On 05/05/2010 C.P.I. (M), the ruling political party and S.U.C.I. another political outfit of this state called on a strike protesting against the BSF firing. Later AITC; the major opposition political party also called on strike on the same issue.

The above gory incident is evident enough to prove the fact that the inhumane BSF personnel are least concerned about the national and international laws about killing of persons and not paying any respect to article 21 of Indian Constitution regarding guarantees enshrined to the populace became living beings.

I am requesting you to take action to restrict the BSF personnel from enjoying impunity by any legality and make them accountable to governing laws of the country. I am placing few demands relating this incident:-

1. Both the cases initiated against the BSF personnel and the villagers should be investigated by one competent and independent agency
2. The BSF personnel should be tried in regular criminal courts instead of BSF court
3. The ‘Right to Life’ as enshrined in article 21 of Indian Constitution should be protected for the family of the victims and BSF personnel must face trial to infringe the same
4. The BSF personnel should be posted at the actual Indo- Bangladesh border and evacuated from the villages and civilian inhabitation
5. All the legal and administrative obstacles including the barbed fence erected kilometers inside from actual border which restrict the villagers to access their own farming land or prevent them from earning livelihood from the Indian territory should be removed without any delay
6. All the victims of BSF firing and the family members of the deceased should be given adequate financial compensation and rehabilitation with proper protection of them to uphold the proper investigation and subsequent legal proceedings.

Please take urgent action for positive changes in this grimy situation.

Thanking you,

Yours truly,
Kirity Roy
Secretary, MASUM
National Convenor, PACTI