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Complaint against BSF personnel: no end to 'ordeal' against victim's family 2 yrs on

Counterview Desk 

Recalling a more than two year old incident, in which a 13 years was was "physically tortured by the Border Security Force personnel", Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), has said that the gruesome incident continues to haunt the family even today.
The reason, says Roy in a complaint filed with the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), is the boy's mother dared file a complaint with the Swarupnagar block and Police Station in North 24 Parganas district. Ever since, the "perpetrator" BSF personnel have been threatening the family members to forcing it to withdraw the complaint. Worse, they have "committed brutal torture upon the father of the minor victim."

Text:

Here I want to attract your kind attention of an incident where one 13 years old school going student was physically tortured by the Border Security Force personnel by no means and after lodging complaint to the police, the perpetrator BSF personnel threatened the family members of the victim for withdrawing the complaint and again the BSF personnel of the same Battalion committed brutal torture upon the father of the minor victim.
The victim boy Tuhin Gazi and his family members are living in the village Tarali situated under Swarupnagar Block and Police Station in North 24 Parganas district. He is staying with his father Jahangir Gaji and mother Meherun Necha Bibi at that place.
On the date of incident i.e. on January 14, 2020 at about 4.30 pm, the minor victim Tuhin Gazi went to the agricultural land looking for his grandfather by riding bi-cycle. At that time on duty Border Security Force personnel namely Sioji Singh (Sebji) who is the Assistant Sub Inspector under 112 Battalion of D Company of Tarali Mini Border Out Post came in front of him and started to beat the minor victim with stick made of bamboo.
He beat the minor boy on his chest and back and even slapped on his mouth. BSF started to beat the victim because Master Tuhin went into the agricultural field two times. After some brutal torture they released the victim boy and his mother rushed to that place and admitted to Sarapul Rural Hospital as Tuhin’s health condition was getting worsen.
Based on the written complaint of the mother of the victim Swarupnagar Police registered one case against the perpetrator BSF person vide Swarupnagar PS case number 121/20 dated February 25, 2020 under sections 341/323/506 of Indian Penal Code.
On March 6, 2020 Dipyaman Adhikary, Assistant Secretary of MASUM, lodged one complaint to your commission regarding this issue. My complaint was registered at your commission on May 22, 2020 vide case number- 708/25/15/2020-PF. On May 29, 2020 your commission asked for an action taken report from “the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India, North Block, New Delhi” within 4 weeks.
Then after almost 7 months on December 21, 2020 the commission called for additional information from the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ministry of Home Affairs (OPS) Hqr DG BSF, Block No. 10, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003. Then on January 20, 2021 the commission again called for additional information from the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and after almost one year on January 24, 2022 the commission called for additional information from the Superintendent of Police, Basirhat Police District and the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Till date this case is pending before your commission.
In the meantime, I lodged two updated complaints to your commission on November 24, 2020 and October 11, 2021 where I stated that the victim boy and his parents are dealing with the continuous threats from the Company Commander and the Border Security Force personnel from Tarali BSF camp. But till date the victim's family did not receive any protection from the perpetrator Border Security Force personnel.

Updated incident

After lodging complaint before your Commission, the perpetrator BSF personnel threatened the parents of the minor victim to implicate them in false case if they will not withdraw the case against the perpetrator BSF personnel who committed brutal torture upon the minor boy Tuhin Gazi dated January 14, 2020.
On April 1, 2022 when Mr. Jahangir Gazi, father of the minor victim Tuhin Gazi was working in the agricultural field at Tarali Khal Dhar near 23 No Point Tarali Border Out Post, two BSF personnel namely Mr. Nitin Malik, Sub Inspector and Dilip Kumar attached with Tarali BOP, ‘A’ Company, 112 Battalion came by motorbike. They told Jahangir to go with them to the BSF camp. Jahangir did not agree to go with them.
Nitin Malik and Dilip Kumar, the two BSF personnel, by force took him to the Tarali BSF camp. In the BSF camp he was brutally beaten with wooden sticks by the BSF personnel namely Mr. Anil Kumar, Company Commander, Nitin Malik, Dilip Kumar, Kartick Broram, Shova Pramanick, Shakil, Avijit and others.
They verbally abused the victim. Nitin Malik, Sub-Inspector of Tarali Border Out Post beat the victim in a merciless way. Other BSF personnel beat the victim with boot clad feet, fists and slap. About one hour they tortured upon the victim. As a result, there is a severe injury in the victim’s head.
Nitin Malik, Sub-Inspector of BSF attached with Tarali BOP lodged one fabricated complaint to the Swarupnagar Police Station against the victim Mr. Jahangir Gazi and one FIR was registered in this regard vide Swarupnagar PS case number 307/22 dated April 1, 2022 under section 14/14C of the Foreigners Act.
It is alleged that BSF made a false allegation against the victim Jahangir Gazi that he worked as a tout for facilitating Bangladeshi & Indian national to in-filtration and exfiltration through IB illegally and smuggling of contraband items. At about 9.55 pm the victim was handed over to the Swarupnagar Police Station by the BSF personnel.
On April 2, 2022 before producing the Basirhat Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court, the victim was taken to the Sarapul Rural Hospital by the police personnel of Swarupnagar for medical check up of the victim. In the medical documents of the victim, the medical officer just mentioned that there is a cut injury.
Jahangir told him that BSF personnel mercilessly beat him in the BSF camp but during the time of check up the doctor did not mention the clinical findings and therefore, it violates the guidelines set by the Indian Medical Association and Tokyo Declaration by the World Medical Association adhered by India as the on duty doctor lined up with the perpetrators did not mention the following, which is supposed to be mentioned in the injury report by the doctor: (i) the cause of ailment, (ii) age of ailment, (iii) clinical findings, (iv) notes after clinical examination. The victim received three stitches on his head.
The victim was produced before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court, Basirhat on April 2, 2022 and the Magistrate sent him to the Judicial custody. On April 29, 2022 the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Basirhat granted the bail to the victim.
On April 1, 2022 when the victim was apprehended by the BSF and by force taken to their custody, that time co-workers of the victim in the agricultural field witnessed the whole incident. They wrote one mass complaint addressed to the Officer in-Charge, Swarupnagar Police Station. Total 30 people who witnessed of the incident signed the mass complaint.
On April 4, 2022 Lima Gazi, Panchayat Pradhan of the Bithari-Hakimpur Gram Panchayat went to the Swarupnagar Police Station to submit that mass complaint, but the on duty police officer did not receive the mass complaint. As the local police did not take any action over the incident, on May 11, 2022 Meherinechha Gazi, wife of the victim, submitted one written complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Basirhat Police District.
The written complaint was received by the office of the Superintendent of Police, Basirhat Police District, but till date no action has been taken by the concerned police department and even the police did not register FIR of this torturing incident upon the victim by the perpetrator BSF personnel of Tarali Border Out Post. This clearly violates the provision of section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and also violates the guidelines of the Apex Court in the case of Lalita Kumari vs. State of U.P [WP (Crl No.68 of 2008)].
The incident entails a clear violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. The Police have violated the Supreme Court Guidelines in the Lalita Kumari Judgment which makes it mandatory for them to lodge a FIR in cases of cognizable offences.
The incident also violates Article 3 (Right to life, liberty and security); Article 5 (Freedom from torture, cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment); Article 7 (Equality before law and equal protection of laws) and Article 8 (Right to effective remedy) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 6 (Right to life) and Article 7 (Right not to be tortured) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and in both two international instruments India is party to and signed the documents.
The family of Jahangir Gazi is very poor. He is the only earning member of the family and completely dependent on the agricultural activities. BSF personnel took him in their custody and beat him during the time of working in the agricultural field.
While the Government of India has been considering implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals within 2030 and where the eighth goal is to promote sustained inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, but the agent of the government (here BSF) by taking him in their custody and assaulting him during the time of work, snatched his right to decent work.
India hasn't yet ratified UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment
The incident also violates Article 6 (Right to work) and Article 9 (Right to social security) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The victim, Jahangir Gazi, is an illiterate person of 34 years of age which also violated the provision of Article 13 (Right to education) of the ICESCR.
The impunity and the omission in duty by the concerned police department after lodging the complaint by the wife of the victim before the Superintendent of Police, Basirhat Police District also violates Goal number 16 of the UN SDG for providing access to justice for all. The perpetrator BSF personnel violates the Article 2, Article 3 and Article 5 of the United Nations Code of Conduct for the Law enforcement Officials.
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 (UNCAT).
The state has an obligation to provide assistance and protection to persons who are likely to be harmed because of their collaboration with the criminal justice system. Article 24 of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNITOC) invited the member states to take appropriate measures to protect witnesses from threats, intimidation, corruption or bodily injury and to build up international co-operation for the same. But the Government of India till date failed to make a strong Victim and Witness Protection Law.
This case is the instance where the perpetrators in uniform put continuous threat and ultimately implicate the father of the minor victim in a false case and committed custodial torture upon him and pressurized to withdraw the case of torture upon his minor son by the BSF.
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Therefore, I seek your urgent intervention in this case by fulfilling the following demands for the interest of the victim and his family members:
  • An independent and non-partisan inquiry into the incident.
  • Nitin Malik, Sub Inspector; Dilip Kumar; Anil Kumar, Company Commandant; Kartick Broram; Shova Pramanick; Shakil; and Avijit all BSF personnel are attached with Tarali Border Out Post; ‘A’ Company; 112 Battalion who are accused of committing the torture upon the victim should be immediately brought under trial and prosecuted.
  • Investigation must be done according to the guidelines of Istanbul Protocol.
  • The local police station should be directed to lodge the FIR in this incident and start the investigation. 
  • Immediately take action against the then on duty police person of Swarupnagar Police Station who did not receive the mass complaint and registered the case in this regard.
  • Steps should be taken against the then on duty medical officer who without mentioning the clinical findings, checked the victim and prescribed medicines.
  • The victim should be compensated for the injuries inflicted on him.
  • Stern actions should be taken against those BSF personnel who pressurized the family members of Tuhin Gazi to withdraw the case of BSF torture upon minor victim.
  • The BSF should be stationed at the zero point and not inside villages.
  • Security and safety of the victim and his family members must be ensured.

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