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BSF forcibly acquiring Dalit, Adivasi land for border fencing: 'Acquisition law violated'

Counterview Desk 

In a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, senior activist Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), has complained that the land of Tribals and Dalits is being forcibly grabbed by public servants at Sutia village, Bongaon block, North 24 Parganas district.
He said, the Border Security Force (BSF) is constructing a border fence in the village area, for which the security agency is "forcibly taking possession of the land of the villagers."
Asserting that the aggrieved villagers have lodged their complaint but there is no response from the local police, Roy said, this BSF move is violation of the acquisition procedures under to the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and 2013, as also Article 300A of the Indian Constitution which states that every Indian citizen is entitled to enjoy their right to property.

Text:

This letter is for your urgent attention to the unlawful land seizure at Sutia village of Gram Panchayat Tangra Colony under Block and Police Station of Bongaon in 24 Parganas (North) District, West Bengal.
The BSF is constructing a border fence in the village area, for which the security agency is forcibly taking possession of the lands of the villagers. They are grabbing the land at night, without informing the actual owners of it. The villagers are in protest against the unlawful activity of the BSF and are in demand that they should construct the proposed border fence along the border. If the construction takes place, then the village market, temples, and burning ghats will be enclosed by the border fence, which will be inaccessible to the villagers. The villagers sensed a conspiracy by the panchayat Pradhan (president), CPWD, and the BSF, to construct the border fence and a road.
The actions by the Border Security Force at Sutia village are not only challenging their life and livelihood but also violating 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India and Article 12 and Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The denial to access to the needs of their proper livelihood practices is against Articles 6 (Right to Work), 7 (Right to enjoyment of just and favorable condition of work), 9 (Right to Social Security), and 11 (Right to Adequate Standard of living) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). In all these international instruments, the Government of India is a party and has taken a pledge to adhere with.
The aggrieved villagers already lodged their complaints on the act by the BSF which are in the following:
1. Gram Panchayat Pradhan Dtd. 19 October 2022
2. BDO. Bangaon. Dtd. 16 October 2022
3. BL&LRO. Bongaon. Dtd. 17 October 2022
4. SDO. Bongaon. Dtd. 17 October 2022
5. Police Station. Bongaon. Dtd. 17 October 2022
The incident violates land acquisition procedures according to the Land Acquisition Act, of 1894 and of 2013, and also Article 300A of the Indian Constitution which states that every Indian citizen is entitled to enjoy their right to property. The arbitrary actions of the BSF to construct a border fence on the lands owned by villagers is nothing but a systematic enforcement of acquisitions of lands owned by the respective Indian citizen.
The inaction of the concerned government line departments, even after lodging the complaint by the victims, also violates Goal number 16 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which speaks of access to justice for all.
I request your urgent intervention in this case by fulfilling the following demands of the villagers:
  • The Border Security Force should construct the fence at the international border and not inside the village.
  • All the encroachments done by the BSF, should be immediately revoked and guilty personnel be booked.
  • BSF should be instructed to follow constitutional and legal mandates.
  • Government of India and the Government of West Bengal should abide by the Chapter III of the Indian Constitution where the fundamental rights of Indian citizenry are enshrined.
  • BSF should not restrict the life and livelihood of the villagers.
  • For security reasons the BSF should acquire land only after legal formalities.
I hope this letter clarifies the issue forced upon the villagers and which entails urgent resolution for their livelihood. Please allow me to further provide any information which you may require in resolving the case.

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