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Custodial torture of poor villagers off Bangladesh border: Complaint to NHRC

Aijul Haque
By Our Representative 
Based in Hooghly, civil rights leader Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), in a letter to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson, has brought to light yet another incident of what he called “brutal physical torture upon three villagers of different bordering villages in the district of Cooch Behar.”
This is the second letter Roy has shot within weeks. The first letter shot to the NHRC chairperson last month, strongly objected to the manner in which the Border Security Force (BSF) , the police and the judiciary in West Bengal have “treated” a 35 years old Bangladeshi woman victim of human trafficking, who was subjected to sexual exploitation for 15 long years, has been declared guilty of violating the Foreigners Act, violating all human rights norms.
In the latest letter, claiming that the BSF personnel attached with the Changrabanda Border Outpost, 148 Battalion, “illegally apprehended them and taken to their custody and afterwards tortured heavily which caused their physical injury”, Roy said, “BSF personnel chased some smugglers but when they failed to catch those smugglers, they illegally apprehended three innocent villagers.”
Stating that these villagers were “working in the agriculture field”, Roy said, they were “brutally tortured” and then released “after taking their signature by force in white blank paper.” He added, “Due to brutal torture Ainul Haque was admitted to the Mekhliganj Sub Divisional Hospital and Sanjib Biswas received primary treatment from the emergency ward of the hospital.”
Pointing out that on June 6, 2021 Rumi Begum, wife of Aijul Haque, one of the victims in this case lodged written complaint to the Officer in Charge of the Mekhliganj Police Station, received by the duty officer, Roy regretted, “No case was registered on the basis of the written complaint.”
Roy said, the episode suggests violation of Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and apex court guidelines in the case of Lalita Kumari vs State of Uttar Pradesh [WP (Crl.) 68 of 2008] “which clearly states that registration of First Information Report is mandatory under section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence.”
Giving full details of the victims, Roy further said, “The act of the BSF personnel violates Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and section 6 and 7 of the International Covenant on the Civil and Political Rights and Goal number 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals and in both these international instruments; the government of India is a party.”
Roy added, “During the time of check up the doctor did not mention the clinical findings, cause of ailment, age of ailment, notes after clinical examination and therefore it violates the guidelines set by the Indian Medical Association and Tokyo Declaration by the World Medical Association adhered by India.
Seek urgent NHRC intervention, Roy insisted, the case must be acknowledged and registered in the commission, the whole matter should be enquired into by an independent inquiring agency, there should be immediately registration of the written complaint of the victim’s wife as FIR, proper investigation and arrest of perpetrators should be carried out, and concerned police authorities must be directed to take immediate action for action against the perpetrator BSF personnel.

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