Skip to main content

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender


By Kirity Roy* 
One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 
They are also posted inside villages, and the actual border remains unguarded. This disrupts gravely, along the entire stretch of the Indo-Bangladesh border, the villagers’ agriculture and livelihood as well as their regular lives. BSF personnel also subject villagers to regular harassment and de-humanization; often torturing them brutally on the roads, or on their own agricultural lands, or even inside their own homes where BSF trespass.
However, according to the West Bengal Panchayat Act, 1973’s sections 19 (2) (a), (d), and (f), the gram panchayat is the only designated authority for any construction for public purposes or utility and if any department/ body/ authority tries to perform the same, it is illegal and punishable in law. BSF in different districts of West Bengal are being arbitrarily and illegally involved in such civil construction activities.
BSF personnel had dangerously undertaken to dig a trench through the Chetnagachh village with heavy earthmovers. No precautions were taken even to dispose of or store the displaced loose soil safely. Four local children, Golam Mustafa (5 years), Yusuf Ali (6 years), Mohammad Islam (5 years) and Taleb Ali (12 years), were present in the work-site on the morning of Monday, 12th February, 2024, and a mound of loose soil caved in, burying all four of them. After rescuing them, they were sent to the Chopra Dalui hospital by villagers, where they were all declared dead. 
It is proved that the spot is not under the scanner of the posted BSF personnel. Similar trench-digging activities is in progress in Jhaukuthi and Dhadial in Toofangunj block and Haridas in Dinhata block of Cooch Behar district, where 62 and 90 Battalions of BSF are posted respectively. Several complaints against digging trenches by the BSF in the villages of North Bengal are lying pending before the Union Government, State Government, BSF and local administration for years.
It is also not true that E Coy of 32 BN BSF was digging a drain, as they claimed before media. It is the plan now carried out by Northern Bengal Frontier to dig 10’-15’ deep trench at every villages bordering Bangladesh. Police, BDO, local Panchayets are powerless before armed BSF.
The responsibility for these unfortunate and entirely avoidable deaths of four children lies squarely on the shoulders of BSF personnel of the ‘E’ Company of the 132nd Battalion, who undertook a dangerous project of trench-digging inside the village illegally, and furthermore took no precautions to ensure the safety of the villagers and children during this undertaking.
Hence, MASUM has demanded: 
  1. Digging trench in the villages by BSF should be stopped; 
  2. BSF should be posted through the IBP; 
  3. The Commander of E Coy of 32 BN BSF should be apprehended and be presented in open court of law for killing 4 minors; and 
  4. The four victim families should be adequately compensated.
---
*Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM); National Convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI)

Comments

TRENDING

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

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. 

Crusader for people’s causes, this Hollywood actor entered 'unexplored zones' in US

By Harsh Thakor*  Marlon Brando on April 3rd completes his birth centenary. He perished in 2004, on July 1, aged 80 years. Arguably in Hollywood Brando penetrated sensitivity and versatility at an unparalleled scale and discovered new horizons or explored path breaking zones in acting.

Nuclear power expansion: Is AEC's new, 'unrealistic' target fully backed by PMO?

By Shankar Sharma*  Another unrealistic and tall claim by Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) has been announced: India is eyeing 100 GW nuclear power by 2047, the AEC chairman  AK Mohanty   has said. A few years ago, the dream target for the Indian nuclear establishment was 275,000 MWe of nuclear power by 2050 (as per DAE document of 2008 "A Strategy for the Growth of Electricity in India”). Now this target of 100 GW nuclear power by 2047. And as at the end of February 2024, the actual nuclear power capacity was only 7,480 MWe, which formed only 1.7% of the total power capacity in the country. 

How huge crowd at Mukhtar Ansari funeral is comparable to BJP's 'people's court' talk

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  The massive crowd at the funeral of Mukhtar Ansari in Mohammadabad reflects the power and influence that his family wields in the area. One can't deny that he had enormous power in Ghazipur and Mau districts. But the crowd that came and chanted slogans in his favour does not exonerate him of his conviction by the court.  It is important that we understand this. 

'Critical for cultural and ecological security': Ladakh women seek statehood, self-rule

By Our Representative Six Ladakhi women from different organisations in the region, who concluded their 10 day fast, have told an online press conference that it is necessary to provide statehood to Ladakh, even as declaring the region under the 6th schedule, for “deepening democracy, preserving ecology, and for survival.” Feminists across India joined the media meet in solidarity with the Ladakh movement “for 6th schedule, statehood and justice.”