Skip to main content

Indo-Bangladesh borders one of the 'most vulnerable, violent': Plea to Amit Shah

By Kirity Roy* 

On the occasion of the Birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, on 9th May 2023, Amit Shah, home minister of the Union government, visited West Bengal to take part in a programme. We heartily welcome his visit. As he visited the State, we want him to look into a few issues of the citizens residing at Indo-Bangladesh border villages to his notice. We hope that he will take cognizance of these matters and take prompt actions to resolve these issues.
Despite the fact that India and Bangladesh are friendly countries, the Indo-Bangladesh border is one of the most vulnerable and violent borders in the world, registering severe bloodshed on a daily basis. On an average a person is being killed every two days on the Indo-Bangladesh border by the BSF. In the case of each of these deaths, surprisingly a couple of things remain constant – the deceased is a criminal in a police case and the murderer under impunity.
The BSF uses pellet guns in the Indo-Bangladesh borders in order to combat whatever they decide as crimes. Several Indian and Bangladeshi citizens are victims of these pellet guns including severe injury even resulting in death. Many of these victims lost their sight due to pellet injury.
We know that the villagers of the Indo-Bangladesh border are heavily dependent on agriculture for livelihood. But, the precarious positioning of the border fencing, which at places are 500 meters to a few kilometers inland, are putting the economic and social life of these people in harm’s way.
Huge swaths of land of these villagers are entrapped between the fencing and the actual border, and they are facing incessant harassment at the hands of the BSF personnel just to access their legally owned lands, even access to their own houses. As we all know, there is no such restrictions at the border between India and Nepal or India and Bhutan. Then, why is the ministry resorting to the practice of double standard in case of another amicable nation, Bangladesh?
Even the people of these villages are having a hard time to access the CPWD roads at the Indo-Bangladesh border, which are not allowed to be used by border dwellers even during the day. Against the law of the land, at many places, the administration is resorting to continuous promulgation 144 CrPC at the demand of BSF to restrict the movement of the people. In some areas, they have banned beef and the sale of cows on the Muslim-dominated border, not allowing vendors to sell beef even if they have licenses.
On the other side of the barbed wire, about 60,000 families continuously endure the unimaginable torture of life like in prison. Only they can depart or arrive from outside when the gate is opened for an hour three times a day. As equal citizens of India, why will they be deprived of their constitutional rights?
As a security force, the duty of BSF is to keep the border safe. Instead they are stooping to new levels of notoriety and putting the very rights of the citizens of these areas at risk. Why does the home minister maintain silence on this?
Finally, for the sake of the rights of our fellow citizens at Indo-Bangladesh border, we would like to reiterate a few long-standing demands:
  • Extra judicial executions must be brought down to zero at the Indo-Bangladesh border in the spirit of the Modi-Hasina meeting of September 2022.
  • BSF must be posted at the actual border instead of inside the villages.
  • All arbitrary fencings must be removed immediately.
  • Border gates must be kept open according to the circular no. 42/11/Ops-05/BSF mandated by DG (Operations) of BSF on 27th September 2005, where it is clearly mentioned that border gates are to be kept open from 6 am to 6 pm during the summer season and from 6 am to 5 pm during the winter.
  • The villagers must be allowed to continue their way of livelihood with restriction. No restrictions on the matter of purchase and sell of groceries should be placed on the villagers in accordance with the report of Mr. R.R Jha (IAS), secretary of MHA, published on 07.04.2011.
  • If BSF acquires any land from the villagers which is placed between the border fencing and the actual border, it must be done according to the land acquisition act and must be compensated and rehabilitated for that as suggested in the 203rd report of the department related parliamentary standing committee on home affairs. If these lands are not acquired in accordance with law, the must ensure that the people living there enjoy all the constitutional rights the law of the land provides them.
  • The use of lethal weapons at the border must be stopped at once.
  • The establishment of weekly Border Huts every 5 to 10 kilometers away in the Indo-Bangladesh borders must be initiated to promote legal trade between two countries.
  • BSF should be removed from the Indo-Bangladesh border in order to avoid further bloodshed of innocent people and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) or any other force should replace the duty in this border.
  • The Indo-Bangladesh border must be managed in accordance with the resolutions of BSF-NHRC meeting of 16-17th February, 2012, held in Kolkata.
We would like to remind him that a densely populated region of Bengal was torn apart by an arbitrary Radcliffe line during the partition of India in 1947. Naturally, it gave rise to a humanitarian crisis in the region hitherto unknown. We would also like to remind that the responsibility to look after the well-being of these people lies with the government. Thus, we would like to believe that. After all, as the home minister he must go beyond his political position and work for the betterment of the citizens as a constitutional authority.
Finally, we would like to state that the person whose birthday the Home Minister was celebrating has always been an out-spoken advocate of humanity. We hope, Amit Shah will pledge for the betterment of the border populace.
*Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)



'Very low rung in quality ladder': Critique of ICMR study on 'sudden deaths' post-2021

By Bhaskaran Raman*  Since about mid-2021, a new phenomenon of extreme concern has been observed throughout the world, including India : unexplained sudden deaths of seemingly healthy and active people, especially youngsters. In the recently concluded Navratri garba celebrations, an unprecedented number of young persons succumbed to heart attack deaths. After a long delay, ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) has finally has published a case-control study on sudden deaths among Indians of age 18-45.

SC 'appears to foster' culture of secrecy, does not seek electoral bond details from SBI

By Rosamma Thomas*  In its order of November 2, 2023 on the case of Association for Democratic Reforms vs Union of India contesting constitutional validity of electoral bonds, the Supreme Court directed all political parties to give particulars of the bonds received by them in sealed covers to the Election Commission of India. SC sought that information be updated until September 2023. 

Only 12% of schools RTE compliant: Whither 6% budgetary allocation for education?

By Ambarish Rai* Despite Indian state’s commitment of 6% GDP on education, the Finance Minister completely ignored right to education for children and strengthening implementation of RTE Act which makes education a fundamental right in her budget speech . The Right to Education (RTE) Forum, which is a collective of different stakeholders in education, condemns this neglect of a legal entitlement, which is unconstitutional and demand for overall increase in the budget to ensure improvement in learning outcomes and overall enhancement of quality education.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Reject WHO's 'draconian' amendments on pandemic: Citizens to Union Health Minister

By Our Representative  Several concerned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister to reject amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) of the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted during the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA75) in May 2022, apprehending this will make the signatories surrender their autonomy to the “unelected, unaccountable and the whimsical WHO in case of any future ‘pandemics’.”

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.

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".

Union Health Ministry, FSSAI 'fail to respond' to NHRC directive on packaged food

By Our Representative  The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed deep concern over the adverse health effects caused by packaged foods high in salt, sugar, and saturated fats. Recognizing it as a violation of the Right to Life and Right to Health of Indian citizens, the quasi-judicial body called for a response from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) regarding its selection of front-of-pack labels aimed at providing consumers with information to make healthier choices.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

Inside a UK asbestos factory in 1994 before the mineral was banned By Rajiv Shah “The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.