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Investigate 'enforced' disappearance of 4 Indians, 3 Bangladeshis: Plea to NHRC

Hafijul, one of the victims
By Our Representative
Kirity Roy, secretary of the West Bengal-based human rights organisation Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), in a letter to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has regretted that at a time when the whole world was observing the international day of the victims of enforced disappearance on August 30, seven incidents of “enforced disappearance” occurred along the Indo-Bangladesh border. 
Claiming that seven persons were killed and their bodies disappeared, Roy blamed the incident on the i Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with ‘F’ Company of 117 BSF Battalion in Kaharpara BSF outpost in Murshidabad district for this.
The letter said, a MASUM fact finding has reported that three of these persons were Bangladeshi nationals and four were Indian citizens, adding, the families of two of those persons disappeared in the incident have lodged complaints to the police, but others couldn’t be traced.
“As per the versions of eye-witnesses, the victims were reportedly shot and their bodies were allegedly disposed of in the Padma River with the purpose of concealing evidence”, Roy said, calling enforced disappearance “the worst form of human rights violation, as the feeling of insecurity generated by this practice is not limited to the close relatives of the disappeared, but also affects their communities and society as a whole.”
The letter complained, “It has been noticed that incidents of killing civilians by BSF have significantly increased in the bordering districts of West Bengal in the past few years”, adding, the latest incidents add up to “the list of murders”, adding, a nexus of BSF personnel, higher officials and the police administration is responsible.
Roy said, all these persons were killed after they were apprehended, adding, the incidents clearly indicate that they were not legally treated, but were “killed in custody”. The place of killing those persons is well inside (2-3 kilometres) Indian territory from border of Bangladesh, he added.
The perpetrators not only violated the rights guaranteed in Article 21 of Indian Constitution but also the premise of Article 7 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Goal number 8 and 16 of Sustainable Development Goal earmarked by United Nations and in both these international instruments. The government of India is a party and have agreement, the letter said.
“The incident and subsequent impunity legitimize our long standing demand for immediate ratification of United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment and Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances”, the letter added.
The letter demanded that BSF should be posted in actual borders and not inside villages; the incidents must be investigated by NHRC; guilty BSF personnel involved must be booked and prosecuted in open court; the administration must take appropriate steps to control cross border smuggling in bordering villages; and the families of the victims must be duly compensated and security and safety of the witnesses and family members must be ensured.

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