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Security men 'trespass, destroy' West Bengal Dalit farmers' banana plantation off border

Counterview Desk 
Human rights defender Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), in a letter to the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, has in a complaint accused  BSF personnel of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation  on the lands of two marginalized farmers of Kaliyani village on the Indo-Bangladesh border, North 24 Paraganas district.
Stating that the two victims are Dalits, Roy said in his representation, "The entire village of Kaliyani is inhabited by farmers like them – and BSF often imposes arbitrary illegal restrictions on them, which they have no authority to".


I am writing to inform you of a case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel on the lands of two marginalized farmers in the Kaliyani village on the Indo-Bangladesh border, under the jurisdiction of Petrapole Police Station, Bangaon Block, North 24 Paraganas.
On the agricultural lands of the following farmers in the village of Kaliyani, located near Indo-Bangladesh Border Road, near gate no. 7 of Kaliyani Border Outpost:
1.    Mr. Nabakumar Sarkar (S/o Late Radhapada Sarkar, 35 y/o, Scheduled Caste, Hindu) -
0.12 Acre of agricultural land:
·         Mouza: Chhaygharia,
·         J.L no.: 115,
·         Khatiyan no.: 5946,
·         Dag no.: 3888,
2.    Mr. Pran Krishna Sarkar (S/o Shanti Ranjan Sarkar, 44 y/o, Scheduled Caste, Hindu) 
0.17 Acre of agricultural land:
·         Mouza: Chhaygharia,
·         J.L. no.: 115,
·         Khatiyan no.: 5991,
·         Dag no.: 3889
The perpetrators are armed BSF personnel under leadership of –
·         Mr. Tarun Das, ‘F’ Company of the 5th Battalion BSF.
In the night of 5th January, 2024, BSF personnel of the ‘F’ Company of the 5th Battalion, at the behest of company commander Mr. Tarun Das, committed mischief upon their entire banana plantations which were fertile and ready for harvest, incurring an estimated loss of about 50,000 INR for each of the aforenamed farmers. This is an act of illegal trespass on private land and damage to agricultural crop, perpetrated by the BSF personnel with complete impunity. The said famers also depend on the produce of their land to sustain their families; and their entire banana harvest thus damaged, they have been dealt an irreparable blow to their livelihood, and they have no alternate means to sustain their families. The entire village of Kaliyani is inhabited by farmers like them – and BSF often imposes arbitrary illegal restrictions on them, which they have no authority to. BSF has also unlawfully issued a decree prohibiting the cultivation of any crop that grows higher than 3 feet, which is in violation of the fundamental right of the villagers to pursue any livelihood for their subsistence {Article 19 (g), Constitution of India}.
BSF has unlawfully issued a decree prohibiting the cultivation of any crop that grows higher than three feet
On 6 January 2024, villagers visited local member of gram panchayat and Prodhan (Head of local - self-government and informed them about the loss. Both Prodhan and member informed them that those BSF personnel of Kaliyani BOP under Mr. Das are not hearing villagers’ problem, they are impertinent, so it is useless to approach before them.
The aforesaid land belongs to private property, the land situated under 24x7 surveillance of armed BSF and there are no chance of causing damage to the property of victims other than posted BSF.
Aforementioned farmers and other co-villagers are extremely scared after this incident, and they reported it to the SDO, Bangaon Sub-division, BDO, Bangaon Block, and the SP, Bangaon Police District, on 8th January, 2024. No initiative has been taken so far to apprehend the accused BSF Coy Commander Mr. Tarun Das, or to arrange for a compensation for the damaged crop. No FIR has been drawn though clear and cognizable offences done by the BSF.
In this situation, we request your immediate intervention with the following demands:
1.    The affected farmers must be compensated by BSF immediately, as per estimate, to the amount of 50,000 INR per person.
2.    An FIR must be lodged against the accused BSF Coy Commander Tarun Das immediately, and investigations must begin post-haste.
3.   Accused BSF personnel be booked for violation of The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
4.    BSF must immediately stop harassing farmers in the village and must not be allowed the impunity to issue unlawful decrees on agriculture or to trespass farmers’ agricultural lands.
5.    The duty of BSF have to guard the international border, so the BSF should be posted at border (IBP), not inside the village.



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