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Pellet gun fire severely injures Dalit worker off Bangladesh border

By Kirity Roy* 

This is regarding an incident of firing pellets by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with Panchadoji Border Outpost of ‘E’ Company of 90 BSF Battalion on a Schedule Caste youth of village Parmananda under Dinhata Police Station of Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victim was severely injured and one portion of his face became disfigured due to pellet firing by the BSF.
From our fact finding it is revealed that the victim is associated with smuggling activities, but the on duty BSF personnel without any warning to the victim during the time of cattle smuggling fired pellets from the pump gun which caused the severe injuries to the victim.
The subsequent complaint made by the BSF to Dinhata Police Station only corroborates the fact that the involved BSF had no justified reason for pellet firing as nobody from BSF received any bodily injuries.
The complaint only stated that the pallet “only caused superficial injury on back side.” The smuggler was caught hold of collar of uniform shirt of ASI/GD Bimal Roy, as a result of which the buttons of his shirt were pulled out. The complaint mentioned that the involved BSF personal fired from distance of 5-7 meter. If someone holds someone’s collar of shirt, in no case that would be that distance.
The incident was a clear violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. The incident also violates Article 3 (right to life, liberty and security); Article 5 (freedom from torture, cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment); Article 7 (equality before law and equal protection of laws) and Article 8 (right to effective remedy) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and Article 6 (right to life) and Article 7 (right not to be tortured) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and in both two international instruments India is party to.
At the same time, the incident violates Article 9 (right to social security) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
The impunity and the omission in duty by the concerned department after lodging the complaint by the victim’s wife before the Superintendent of Police, Cooch Behar District, also violates Goal number 16 of the UN SDG for providing access to justice for all.
The incident and subsequent impunity legitimize our long-standing demand for immediate ratification of United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment (UNCAT).
The National Human Rights Commission must urgentl7 intervention in this case to bring justice to the victim and his family by taking necessary steps:
  • The whole incident must be investigated by Commission’s own investigating agency.
  • Complete ban and stoppage of using pellet guns by the BSF.
  • The guilty Border Security Force personnel involved in committing the offence must be booked and prosecuted.
  • Proper treatment of the victims should be borne by the state.
  • The victim must be duly compensated and all the expenses for treatment of the victim should be duly reimbursed.
  • Security and safety of the victim, their family members and witnesses must be protected.
---
*Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha. This article is based on the author’s complaint to the National Human Rights Commission

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