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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.
This incident took place on March 25, 2024; incidentally it was the Independence Day of Bangladesh, achieved with active support of the Indian state as well the people. This unending and unjustified killing spree on the Indian border is not only ruthless but treacherous as the BSF always make promises in bilateral dialogues as well international fora that they intend to low down the causality of Bangladeshis to zero at bordering area.
Earlier, I made a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission on 13th of March 2024, which is registered as NHRC Case No 558/25/6/2024-PF. I think this is hay time for initiatives from Commission’s side to stop these ruthless killings which is fetching ill repute for our country.
It was reported that on the fateful day, March 25, 2024 at around 11:20 pm, a Bangladeshi youth named Liton Miya, aged about 19 years, son of Maksedul Miya and resident of Dighaltari Ward No 4, Post Office Shatibari and Police Station Aditmari, District Lalmonirhat of Bangladesh illegally entered India with an intention to smuggle cattle to Bangladesh.
While he was returning to Bangladesh, BSF personnel attached with Barthar BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion fired upon him from their pellet gun and then from their regular gun. It was reported A sub-inspector and a constable of the BSF unit did the firing.
At the time of the incident, the deceased was 75 meters inside the Indian territory or from the border pillar number 923. Young Liton received pellet and bullet injuries on his chest and abdomen, though in BSF complaint to the Sitai police station, they claimed that they fired ‘bellow the belt’.
It has been learned from the villagers that at the time of incident, Liton was with five Bangladeshis; they fled from the place while Liton received the gunshot and fell down. BSF personnel brought him to Sitai Block Primary Health Centre. From there he was referred to the Dinhata Sub-Divisional Hospital and then to the Cooch Behar MJN Medical College and Hospital.
At the MJN Hospital, surgery was done to his abdomen to remove the bullet, but he succumbed to his injuries at around 3 pm on March 26, 2024. Kotwali Police Station of Cooch Behar initiated an unnatural death case. On March 27, 2024 at around 2 pm post mortem examination was done and the body was handed over to his family on March 28, 2004 through Kaiter Bari area under the Sitai police station.
A Company Commander of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion, perpetrator and complainant, submitted a written complaint to the Sitai PS and his complaint was registered the Sitai PS Case No 71/24 dated March 26, 2024 under sections 143/ 341/ 186/ 188/ 189/ 332 /353/ 307/ 34 of the Indian Penal Code and 14 (A)/ 14 (C) of the Foreigners Act.
Apart from the four Bangladeshis, four Indian nationals are also named as accused -- Milon Bhui Mali, son of Ruidas Bhui Mali; Saddam Miya, son of Malpoka; Mister Miya, son of Suban Miya; and Jeevan Burman, son of Nepun Burman, all residents of village Barthar, Post Office Chorkhana, Police Station Sitai, district Cooch Behar.
Our fact-finding mission found that the co-accused belonging to India are peace-loving bonafide Indian citizens, have no involvement with cross border smuggling. Their only fault was that they are residing at the adjacent area of the place of occurrence. It was a clear intention of BSF to make them accused and force them to keep quiet on the incident.
The inspector in-charge of the Sitai Police Station was so callous that in the written (typed) complaint of BSF -- he mentioned the case number as 70/24 while it was registered as case no. 71/24.
Body of the deceased being handed over to Bangladesh authorities
Intriguingly, the incident took place at around 23:20 hours of March 25, 2024 but the record of the Sitai police station is showing that the General Dairy Reference Entry Number 1017 has been made at 21:40 hours on March 26, 2024 and FIR registered on the same date. This only create specific doubts, as follows.
  • Why did the BSF take 22 hours to inform the police?
  • In the FIR format, the column for ‘Reasons for delay in reporting by the Complainant information’ is blank and in other words, is silent over the reason for delay. The police of Sitai, intentionally gave false information about the timing of the incident to save the culprits. While drawing FIR, Sitai police put some information, knowingly, as false. 
  • The picture of the victim, Liton, lying in the MJN district hospital bed, clearly shows that no treatment was provided at the hospitals over the injuries. 
  • In between, the BSF brought Liton to three different hospitals; Sitai BPHC, Dinhata SD Hospital and Cooch Behar MJN Hospital and at MJN Hospital at Cooch Behar. The injured person succumbed to his injury at 3:00 pm on March 26, 2024, but all this occurred without any information to police. How did the attending doctors treat the injured person without informing the same to the corresponding police station? 
  • The FIR book (West Bengal Form No 27), page 071, used in this case, clearly shows that the signature of the complainant is missing. That is, the complainant sent his complaint by someone, which is not shown in the FIR. 
  • The written complaint appears to be concocted in nature, and that is manifested by its content. As usual the BSF complaint mentioned that there was a group of men involved in cross border smuggling and they attacked the BSF party while restricted and in self-defence two BSF personnel shot from their service weapons. 
  • But Haydar Miya of the Barthar village, where the incident took place, informed the fact-finding mission that the BSF personnel were chasing the smugglers and the Bangladeshi illegal entrants were trying to flee from the place of incident. At that very moment, the BSF personnel started firing from their weapons and Liton received bullet and pellets shots. 
  • It was further corroborated by the BSF complaint that two of their personnel received minor injuries of cut and bruise, and got treatment at the Block level healthcare facility, so it can be said that these injuries are also self-inflicted. 
  • In subsequent incidents, BSF in their complaints to police against the so-called intruders have mentioned that the miscreants made attack with machete on the butts of their service weapon, which is a stereotype story, as it is very easy to damage the butts to have an excuse to kill a person.
This incident not only confirms the fact that another Bangladeshi youth has been killed by the trigger happy BSF personnel without any justified reason and in contrary to their official stance of minimizing killing at Indo-Bangladesh border but also intensifying a reign of terror at the Indo-Bangladesh bordering areas of West Bengal.
The incident violates the rights guaranteed under Article 21 of Indian Constitution to every person inside the Indian territory and the premise of Articles 2, 6 and 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, an international instrument. The Government of India is a party and have agreement.
Hence, my demands to the NHRC are:
  • An impartial and urgent investigation by the Commission’s own investigation team over the incident as well the ongoing incidents of brutal torture and killing at India Bangladesh bordering areas by BSF personnel.
  • Forensic examination of used weapons and expert opinion of the injured BSF personnel to be done. 
  • A specific case of murder must be registered against the involved BSF personnel and the trial to be held in open court of law. 
  • Monetary compensation must be provided to the deceased’s family. 
  • Witnesses must be protected from threat and allurement
---
*Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM); and National Convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI). This article is based on the author’s representation to the chairperson, National Human Rights Commission

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