Skip to main content

BSF's whimsical restrictions 'challenging' life, livelihood of West Bengal border villagers

Counterview Desk 

In a representation to the additional chief secretary, Home and Hill Affairs Department, Government of West Bengal, a senior civil rights leader, protesting against the prohibitory order by the Border Security Force (BSF) on the farmers of Chaingor, Asmanhat and Matiadob villages, situated next to the borders with Bangladesh, has said that the action is causing a loss of Rs 1.80 crore of earnings to the villagers.
Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, the unethical way in which BSF has stopped the farmers to harvest maize and jute would adversely affect their livelihood and they would be forced to migrate to seek alternative income opportunities. "Ultimately, this is a loss to the state agri-production", he added.


I’m writing this mail for your immediate attention to the situation where the farmers of Chaingor, Asmanhat, and Matiadob, under Chaingar Gram Panchayat, Police Station and Block Hemtabad whose livelihood is at stake because of the unethical restriction by the BSF BOP Chaingar 175 Battalion D Company.
The villagers from the Chaingar, Asmanhat, and Matiadob, have to use border gates 35, 36, and 37, respectively, to access their farmland, nearly 1500 bighas which is outside of the border fence. This land is ideal for harvesting jute and corn, the most profitable crops. In aggregate, the village loses nearly Rs.1.80 crore of earnings, which can well pay off for their economic upliftment.
On 5th November 2022, the SDO during inspection at the village had conveyed the people to lodge a complaint to the DM Uttar Dinajpur, about their ongoing issue along with others like Bangladeshi miscreants loot their farm produce, irregularity in the opening of border gate by BSF.
On 14th November 2022, villagers submitted a mass petition to the DM, Uttar Dinajpur which he on 24th November 2022, then instructed the Commandant, 175 Bn, BSF Khagra Camp, Khagra, Bihar to take necessary steps to sort out the disputed issue in discussion with villagers and copy of the same forwarded to SDO, Raiganj, Uttar Dinajpur. In earlier, the SDO Raiganj assured the villagers that they can harvest jute and corn at the inside periphery of the border fence but on the other side he will let them know that communication is yet to be.
On 4th December 2022, at 10.30 am in Chingarh BOP, a meeting occurred with the presence of the villagers, the panchayat - pradhan & its members and the Company Commander Mr. Suvasish Sinha. The Company Commander in his authoritative voice, claimed to have a letter of the DM, Uttar Dinajpur, on the prohibition of harvesting jute and corn within 300 meters on either side of the border fence. While he failed to produce of the order to the villagers.
On 5th December 2022, dissatisfied with the outcome of the meeting, villagers collectively wrote to the DM, Uttar Dinajpur, Uttar Dinajpur about the order to be made publicly for authenticity, otherwise they will move to the judiciary. Later, the DM, Uttar Dinajpur, instructed the BDO Hemtabad to have a meeting with the villagers in which BDO assured them, will take necessary actions to restrict BSF about their actions on the local populace.
On 22nd December 2022, at 2 pm at Hemtabad BDO, SDO Raiganj, BLRO Hemtabad, OC of Hemtabad PS, and Commanding Officer of the BSF had a meeting with the presence of 150 villagers from Chainagar 1 Gram Panchayat - where villagers from Paharpur, Mohisagaon, Makorhat, Santara, Dharampur, Matiadob, Asmanhat, and Chainagar were present. During the meeting the Commanding Officer who claimed to have a copy of an order from the West Bengal government about the prohibition. In the meeting, those who spoke against the BSF, on the same day in the evening, BSF restricted their movements on the CPWD road.
Some of the aggrieved villagers who have land outside of the fence:
On 22nd December 2022, a letter issued to SDO copy to BDO by the agitated villagers of their issue which continues without any resolve.
These whimsical actions and arbitrary restriction imposed by the Border Security Force personnel of Poriyal Border Outposts upon the villagers of Poriyal is not only challenging their life and livelihood but also violating Article 21 and Article 19 (1) (g) and 39(a) of the Constitution of India and Article 2, Article 12, and Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 
The plight of the villagers and denial of their proper livelihood practices is against Articles 6 (Right to Work), 7 (Right to enjoyment 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). Articles 13 and 17 of the UN declaration on the rights of peasants and Goal No. 8 and 16 of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of the UN. In all these international instruments, the Government of India is a party and has taken a pledge to adhere.
I request your urgent intervention in this case by fulfilling the following demands of the villagers:
  • Farmers should allow harvesting of the land, which is the outer periphery of the border fence, and can cultivate commercial crops like jute and corn.
  • The gate should be open for 12 hours in day time during the harvesting season.
  • Villagers need to access the CPWD road.
  • Adequate support like access to drinking water and electricity should be provided at the Indian territory which is on the other side of the fence.
  • BSF should provide monetary compensation for the poles dug on private property while acquiring the land illegally and forcefully.
  • BSF authority should duly compensate villagers for the loss they are incurring due to the prohibition by the BSF for not allowing the cultivation of commercial crops like jute and corn.
  • BSF authority should duly compensate villagers for the loss they are incurring due to their ineligibility to protect them from Bangladeshi miscreants who loot their finished farm produce from the field.
  • Henceforth, farmers will not do manual work, as slavery, for BSF.
  • Villagers should be allowed to use the CPWD road which BSF can not restrict them.
  • The 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.
  • Disciplinary action should be against the BSF Company Commander and all others for imposing illegal restrictions upon the villagers and harassing them.
  • BSF should not restrict the life and livelihood of the villagers, particularly of the farmers. They should provide the villagers with all sorts of agricultural support for which they can access drinking water and electricity.
Agricultural income is the sole means of earning for the farmers. The unethical way BSF stopped them is to harvest maize and jute which will bring a stake to their livelihood either to migrate or they will seek alternative income opportunities. Ultimately, this is a loss to the state agri-production. Farmers need your help to resolve this impasse. Repeatedly, they seek your intervention for the resolution of the issue but that not happening of that them feel agitated, and frustrated. The DM, Uttar Dinajpur, is the head of the district, and the welfare of the people is one of your prime concerns, for which they informed you on 14th November 2022, and since then, no activities took place to stop this menace. My earnest request to you kindly look into the issue for an urgent resolution of the impasse where farmers live at the mercy of the frontline BSF security persons. Let me know for further information which I’m happy to provide you.



Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Union budget 'mum' on relief to marginalised communities facing climate change impact

Counterview Desk  ActionAid, an international advocacy group which claims to work for a world without poverty, patriarchy and injustice, has wondered if the Union budget 2023-24, which is being acclaimed for providing succour to the middle classes, has anything to offer to the India's poor. In a statement, it said, while the budget may have "prioritised inclusive development", the financial outlay for ensuring it "does not show the zeal as hoped." Stating that the Finance Minister said Rs 35,000 crore revenue would have to be "forgone" due to a reduction in personal income taxes, "fiscal prudence is not enough to expand public employment, social security, welfare, education and health expenditures considerably." "The need of the hour is to raise revenues through the reduction of revenues forgone and innovative mechanisms such as wealth tax on super accumulation of wealth", it added. Text: The Union Budget 2023 has given significant

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen