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)



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.

Delhi HC rules in favour of retired Air Force officer 'overcharged' for Covid treatment

By Rosamma Thomas*  In a decision of May 22, 2023, the Delhi High Court ruled in favour of petitioner Group Captain Suresh Khanna who was under treatment at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, between April 28 and May 5, 2021, for a period of eight days, for Covid-19 pneumonia. The petitioner had to pay Rs 3,55,286 as treatment costs, but the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) only reimbursed him for Rs 1,83,748, on the basis of government-approved rates. 

'Enough evidence' in Indian tradition to support legal basis for same-sex marriage

By Iyce Malhotra, Joseph Mathai, Sandeep Chachra*  The ongoing hearing in the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage provides space for much-needed conversations on issues that have hitherto remained “invisible” or engaged with patriarchal locker room humour. We must recognize that people with diverse sexualities and complex gender identities have faced discrimination, stigma and decades of oppression. Their issues have mainly remained buried in dominant social discourse, and many view them with deep insecurities.

Religious divide 'kept alive' with low intensity communalism in Gujarat's cultural capital

By Rajiv Shah  A fact-finding report, prepared by the Mumbai-based non-profit, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), has cited the Vadodara Ram Navami violence of March 30 as yet another example of how, after the BJP consolidating its hold on political power in Gujarat post-2002 riots and at the Centre in 2014, the nature of communal riots has changed, underlining, as opposed to high-intensity violence earlier, now riots have become “more sub-radar and at a smaller scale, more localized”.

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".

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.

Urgency for next pandemic? But Mr Health Secretary, you're barking up wrong tree

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  The Union Health Secretary, Mr Rajesh Bhushan addressing the Health Working Group of G20 India, at Hyderabad on 05 June 2023, cautioned that the next pandemic would not wait for us to make global treaties and called on countries to work together.

76% Odisha govt school infrastructure in dilapidated state, 'undermine' RTE norms

By Our Representative  As many as 75.86% (5,421) elementary schools in Odisha do not possess a playground, depriving students of physical activity opportunities. Also, 75.68% (5,408) of schools require minor or major repairing, undermining the norms and standards stipulated in the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

Why continued obsession with adding more 'water guzzling' coal, nuclear power plants?

By Shankar Sharma*  The true concerns over water inefficiency in coal power plants have been known and have been highlighted many times in the past. A highly relevant study report by Prayas Energy Group had highlighted this fast looming threat to our society many years ago. But our authorities have been acting as though there can be no issue with water supply, and that additional coal power plants can be added indefinitely; even without any true relevance to climate change.

Caste, impact on Ayodhya area 'halting' BJP rulers to act against Brij Bhushan Singh

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Finally, the #WrestlersProtest has got international attention. The United World Wrestling (UWW),  condemning the treatment and detention of wrestlers and expressing its disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations against Brij Bhushan Singh, accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers, has urged the "relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation."