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West Bengal border area woman 'assaulted', relatives, villagers maltreated: NHRC told

Counterview Desk 

In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), human rights defender Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha, and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture and Impunity, has said that a minority community woman from a border area village was "assaulted and molested" after Border Security Force (BSF) personnel "illegally" banged into her house.
Taking strong exception to police inaction despite complaint, Roy said, her family members and other villagers who tried to intervene were also maltreated. "The BSF personnel prevented the ambulance from reaching her residence for nearly 4 hours. This is an act of criminal conspiracy with the only motive being to prevent the injured from seeking treatment", he added.

Text:

With deep concerns, we would like to inform you about an incident of molestation and torture perpetrated upon a woman after trespassing into her residence by serving BSF (Border Security Force) personnel.
Name of the victim: Mrs. Kohinoor Bibi, 35 years, wife of Mr. Sirajul Hoque, Muslim, village Vorum Payasthi, Morakuthi, Block Dinhata 1, Panchayet Gitaldaha ll, PS Dinhata, District Cooch Behar, West Bengal. Profession Household activities. Aadhar Card No. 725050415375 and many others.
Date, time and place of occurrence: On 10 October 2023 from 7 am onwards at victims’ house and at village road.
Name of the perpetrators: Under the leadership of Mr. Pappu Meena, Coy Commander of Gitaldaha BOP, 90 BN BSF a group of 40/50 armed forces.
Violation of rights: Rights enshrined in Indian Constitution, International Laws, domestic criminal laws.
Fact of the case: Mrs Kohinoor Bibi, a resident of Voram Payasthi Morakuthi village in Gitaldaha gram panchayat of Coochbehar district of West Bengal faced the ordeal on 10/10/2023 at around 7 AM. 40-50 male BSF personnel led by Assistant Company Commander Mr. Pappu Meena criminally trespassed into her property on that date and time and assaulted Mrs Bibi with the sticks, fists and blows they were carrying. They also molested Mrs Bibi and touched her inappropriately intending to outrage her modesty. Finally, she felt unconscious after suffering a powerful blow to her chest. Visible marks of blood clots can be observed on her, conveying the nature of the assault. The perpetrators also attacked, ransacked other 20/25 villagers and assaulted their family members.
When Mrs Kohinoor was facing such torture, her sister-in-law tried to intervene and she also was attacked with sticks. Meanwhile, the neighbours got to know about the situation at hand from cries for help and tried to reason with the BSF personnel to leave the premises of the house. The personnel rained blows with their sticks on the women who tried to rescue them. The women had to bear the humiliation of being called names and some suffered injuries owing to the assault.
Mrs Kohinoor Bibi was writhing in pain and the neighbours decided to call an ambulance to take her to a nearby medical facility. Then also, the BSF personnel prevented the ambulance from reaching her residence for nearly 4 hours. This is an act of criminal conspiracy with the only motive being to prevent the injured women from seeking treatment, which especially put the life of Mrs Bibi in grave danger owing to the nature of her injuries. They only let Mrs Bibi and the other women leave for a medical facility in the ambulance after the intervention of the Dinhata Police Station, which has jurisdiction over the concerned area. The other women were discharged after administering first aid and necessary medical treatment.
Mrs Bibi had to be admitted to the Dinhata Sub Divisional Hospital owing to the seriousness of the degree of injuries. It must also be noted that she was recuperating from a gallbladder surgery, operated at Divine Nursing Home, Saradapally, Dinhata in mid-May 2023 and hence was already in a vulnerable state. On 10th October many of the victims were treated at Dinhata hospital vide registration no. 42436.
The Dinhata Police Station has received a written complaint (the receipted copy and other relevant documents have been attached) but no notable action has been taken against the perpetrators to date.
We would urge you and your office to take immediate cognizance of the matter and conduct a speedy and impartial enquiry by Your investigating wing. We demand strong action against the perpetrators and especially against the Assistant Company Commander, Mr. Pappu Meena which should set a precedence in the future.
We urge you and your Commission to also compensate Mrs Kohinur Bibi and other women who have faced torture at the hands of BSF personnel and direct the concerned authorities to provide protection to the victims so that they can testify against the perpetrators without any fear of retribution in open court of law. All possible medical assistance should be provided to Mrs Bibi and other victims by the relevant authorities.
Lastly, we demand proper steps to be taken against the Inspector in Charge of Dinhata Police Station for not taking due recourse against the offenders even police received written complaint disclosing cognizable offenses, police received injury reports of the victims from the hospital, and more so, Dinhata Police reached the venue with car when BSF barricaded the road to stop the movement of ambulance for carrying the injured victims.
Thanking you, in anticipation of a favourable response from your end.

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