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West Bengal police 'refusing to act' against BSF on complaint of killed youth's wife

Counterview Desk 

In a tragic incident, the police in West Bengal have refused to refused to act on a complaint on the death of a 24-year-old youth, allegedly shot from close range 500 metres inside the border with Bangladesh. Killed on June 23, 2022 at about 12 at night, a civil society fact-finding team said, "Even after lodging a complaint by the wife of the victim, the police administration has turned deaf ears to her pleas."
Binging this to light, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha, and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, Hooghly, admitted in a plea to the National Human Rights Commission chairman, that the youth, Ekramul Miya, was involved in illegal cross-border smuggling in order to get some extra income for his family, but this is no reason for BSF men to kill him.

Text:

Here I want to draw your attention towards another incident of firing and execution of one poor Muslim youth belonging from Other Backward Caste of Chhoto Madhusudan village under Khalisamari Gram Panchayet, Mathabhanga sub division and Sitalkuchi police station area of Cooch Behar district in West Bengal.
The deceased, Ekramul Miya, aged about 24 years was shot directly without giving any warning, 500 meter inside the Indian territory from Bangladesh border by the on-duty Border Security Force personnel attached with Nalangibari Border Outpost, 169 Battalion.
According to our fact finding report, it was revealed that Ekramul Miya was involved in illegal cross-border smuggling in order to get some extra income for his family.
The victim is a poor labourer, who was involved in cross-border smuggling in order to survive and sustain his family. Even after lodging a complaint by the wife of the victim, the police administration has turned deaf ears to her pleas. The brutal incident raises several questions on the safety and security of the Indian citizens residing along the border.
Who is to blame if a person resorts to illegal means in order to survive and sustain his family? What is the highest punishment for cross-border smuggling; is it death penalty? Does the BSF have the authority to grant the death sentence to someone they think as guilty? Does the BSF have judicial powers to grant ruling over Indian citizenry? Such incidents are a shame to the country’s criminal justice system and violation of the Indian constitution.
Post-mortem examination reported that the bullet fired from close range and there were several blackish wounds over the left sacrum and lumbar area of the deceased victim, which means the victim was tortured first and then he was shot from the close range. From the post mortem examination report we can apprehend that the case is a custodial death by the BSF. BSF at first apprehend the victim and tortured him heavily and then fired at him from close range.
As it is a case of custodial death by the BSF, the inquest of the body should be done by one judicial magistrate as per section 176 (1) (a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. But in this case inquest was done by one police person of Mathabhanga Police Station and one executive magistrate which violated section 174 and 176 (1) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The incident violates the rights guaranteed in Article 21 of Indian Constitution and the premise of Article 6 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Goal No. 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 perpetrators also violated the Article 2, 3 and 8 of Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials; Adopted by General Assembly resolution 34/169 of 17 December 1979 and basic tenets of Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.
The deceased victim was the sole earning member of the family. Killing the victim by the BSF thrashed the family members of the victim into more poverty. While the Government of India has been considering implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals within 2030 and where the first goal is to reduce poverty, the agent of the government (here BSF) by killing the victim pushes them into the face of poverty.
Family members of the deceased victim have only two bigha cultivable land. That agricultural land is situated beyond the barbed wire but that is also within the Indian Territory. The Central Public Works Department constructed this barbed wire 500 meter distance from the International Border Pillar (IBP).
They have to face obstacles and illegal restrictions by the BSF when they go to cultivate the land situated beyond the barbed wire. The right to decent work is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has provisions dealing, not only with “the right to work”, but with the various aspects of decent work, including just and favourable conditions of work, protection against unemployment, equal pay and social protection.
The victim is a poor labourer, who was involved in cross-border smuggling in order to survive and sustain his family
In connection with this case we find that the deceased victim was a migrant labour for nine months and the rest of three months he worked as day labour or sometimes involved in the smuggling activities. The government failed to provide job security to the victim. Article 41 of the Constitution of India enjoins upon the State, the duty to secure the social and economic rights of the people.
The Government of India has been considering implementing Goal No 8 of the Sustainable Development Goals which promote sustained inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all but ultimately the government could not keep his words.
Under the circumstances we demand:
  • The whole incident must be inquired by the investigation wing of the Commission.
  • As the extra judicia execution takes place and firearm is used by the BSF and as a result of that one death occurred, an FIR to that effect shall be registered and the same shall be forwarded to the Court under section 157 of the Code of Criminal Procedure without any delay.
  • The Cooch Behar district administration must follow the guidelines laid down by NHRC in the case of “Encounter Death”.
  • This unlawful death should be properly investigated in line with Minnesota Protocol.
  • The unnatural death case initiated by the Mathabhanga Police station vide Mathabhanga PS U/D case number 83/22 dated June 24, 2022 must be properly investigated.
  • Specific case under section 302 IPC to be started against perpetrator BSF attached with Nalangibari Border Out Post, 169 Battalion.
  • Criminal charge should include causing disappearance of evidence of offence against the perpetrators in uniform.
  • An independent investigation into the incident must be investigated by the CID.
  • The guilty BSF personnel involved must be booked and prosecuted in open court.
  • The family of the victim must be compensated.
  • Security and safety of the witnesses and the family of the victim must be protected. The BSF must be posted in actual borders and not inside villages.
  • To stop infiltration and to check smuggling the BSF must be posted on the actual border and not inside territory.
  • To stop the smuggling activities Government must take proper steps to implement the MNREGA programme and construct Border Hut at the bordering populace.
  • Government should take appropriate steps so that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals will be implemented by the year 2030.

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