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'Brutal' custodial torture of youth in West Bengal border district: inquiry sought

By Our Representative 

In a gruesome incident, a youth from 108 Chhoto Kuchlibari village of Mekhliganj block and Kuchlibari police station area of Cooch Behar district in West Bengal, Mohammad Bachha is alleged to have been "brutally tortured." Worse, he was later implicated along with his family members on "false charges."
In a complaint, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), has told the chairperson, National Human Rights Commission, has insisted that the perpetrators were the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with the BRK Bari BSF Border Outpost, ‘B’ Company, Battalion No 40.
The incident, said Roy, took place on July 20, 2022 at around 10:30 pm, when Bachha was returning from the Telir Dola pond after fishing. "He was carrying a light and fishing net with him for fishing. As he was about to reach his house at around midnight, six BSF personnel stopped him and started beating him up without even questioning", the complaint said.
It added, Bachha "was severely injured from series of tortures he suffered at the hands of the perpetrators and fractured his hand and waist. He was denied medical attention for the whole night and on the next morning was taken to the Mekhliganj Sub-Divisional Hospital for treatment."
The complaint said, "The Kuchlibari police didn’t receive the victim in custody from BSF as he was severely injured. Hence, the perpetrator BSF officials took the victim to the Jalpaiguri district hospital for allegedly acquiring a fitness certificate from the hospital and then handed over to the police during late night."
Stating that "the Kuchlibari police in connivance with the perpetrator BSF lodged an FIR against the victim and arrested him", Roy said, "The victim’s wife lodged a complaint to the Kuchlibari police station and informed about the incident of torture on July 21, 2022. An FIR was lodged against the complaint (Kuchlibari PS case No 91/22) but no proper action was taken by the police."
Claimed Roy, "The incident violates the rights guaranteed in Articles 19 and 21 of Indian Constitution, and also the premise of Articles 7 and 12 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Goal Nos 8 and 16 of the Sustainable Development Goal earmarked by the United Nations."
Roy demanded, "The whole incident must be investigated by a neutral agency appointed by NHRC. The CCTV footage from Kuchlibari police station and Jalpaiguri hospital on July 21, 2022 and July 26, 2022 should be examined during the investigation to find out the irregularities by the erring officials."
He added, "The guilty BSF personnel and on-duty police personnel involved in the nexus should be booked and prosecuted", the victim must be "duly compensated and provided all expense of his treatment", and "security and safety of the victim and his family members must be protected."

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