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Illegitimate raiding, subsequent harassment imposed by the BSF upon woman

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha, writes to the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, on vandalism by BSF:

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I am writing this present complaint on an incident of criminal trespass, sabotage and loot of private property and outraged the modesty of one woman namely Ms.Azifa (Name changed) Bibi of Bhoram village under Dinhata-II block and Dinhata Police Station in the district of Cooch Behar by the BSF personnel attached with Gitaldaha Border Out Post, ‘B’ Company, Battalion number 90.
The village is situated inside Indian Territory, about 3 kilometers from the Indo-Bangladesh Border Pillar (IBP). Cattle smuggling from this side of the border is frequent. On 31.08.2022 at about 3.25 pm about 20/25 Border Security Force personnel along with Company Commander of the Gitaldaha Border Out Post, ‘B’ Company, Battalion number 90 criminally trespassed the house of the victim and vandalized her house in the name of raiding. Border Security Force personnel also misbehaved with the woman victim by touching her breast and private parts of her body. Even the female victim was forced to naked by the BSF personnel. They looted Rs. 21,000/- cash and gold ornaments.
On 01.09.2022 Ms.Azifa (Name changed) Bibi, lodged one written complaint to the Dinhata Police Station which was not acknowledged by the police officials of the Dinhata Police Station. Later the victim woman submitted another written complaint to the Superintendent of Police of Cooch Behar district through registered post on 06.09.2022 with request to investigate and stop such incidents from happening in the future. But no action in this regard has been taken yet.
The above stated facts and circumstances established that the perpetrator BSF personnel committed abuse of powers by encroaching upon the personal liberty, dignity, honour, criminal trespass and privacy of individual citizens. The incidents also established the degrading behavior of the perpetrator BSF personnel. The tyranny and oppression committed by the perpetrator BSF personnel is violation of fundamental rights and human rights as enshrined in national and international laws and covenants.
Needless to remind that the Commission had held the two-day human rights sensitization programme for BSF personnel posted at Indo-Bangladesh Border at Kolkata on 16-17 February, 2012. Already about ten years elapsed since the programme, but still it appears that the perpetrator BSF personnel is not inclined to respect the human rights of its own citizens thereby violating the caution given by the Supreme Court of India in D.K. Basu VS State of West Bengal case where it observed that “the State must ensure that the various agencies deployed by it act within the bounds of the law and not become law unto themselves”.
The illegitimate raiding and subsequent harassment imposed by the BSF upon the woman victim Ms. Azifa (Name changed) Bibi is not only challenging their life and livelihood but also violating the Articles 19 & 21 of the Constitution of India. 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). The present incident is also against the premises of Article 7 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Government of India ratified the said UN instrument. The perpetrator BSF personnel also violated the code of conduct for law enforcement officials adopted by UN General Assembly in 1979 which mandates that these officials shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons. The act of the perpetrator BSF personnel attracts section 441 (Criminal trespass) and section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of Indian Penal Code. The BSF personnel have also violated provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code that require for the presence of female officers while searching or arresting a woman. Police personnel of Dinhata Police Station refused to register the case of the above referred incident. This violates section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the apex court judgment in Lalita Kumari vs. State of U.P. & others (AIR 214 SC187) which makes it mandatory for them to lodge a FIR in cases of cognizable offences.
Hence I request your urgent intervention in this matter with the following demands:-
  • The BSF should be posted in the actual border and not inside villages.
  • The complaint lodged by the woman victim must be acknowledged and registered and legal action must be initiated against the perpetrator BSF personnel invoking the appropriate provisions and procedure of law
  • The BSF authority must be directed to protect the interest of the villagers.
  • BSF personnel engaged in whimsical raiding, threatening and harassing villagers should be show caused.
  • Take necessary steps to eradicate cattle smuggling in the border.
  • Perpetrator Border Security Force personnel should be held liable under the provision of Criminal trespass into the household of the victims.
  • The victims must be compensated for violation of her human rights.
  • Any other suitable direction as the Commission may deem fit and appropriate.

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