Felani trial a travesty of Justice
The acquittal of India’s Border Security Force man, who reportedly shot dead Felani, the 15-year-old Bangladeshi girl, as she was crossing into Bangladesh from the Indian side over the barbed-wire fences near Phulbari in Kurigram on January 7, 2011, of the murder charge by an Indian court is indeed the worst example of travesty of justice. According to a New Age report on Saturday, the General Security Forces Court of the BSF in Paschim Banga, which began the trial on August 13, 2013 in the face of enormous demand from the conscious citizens of Bangladesh as well as different international human rights organisations, gave the verdict on Thursday declaring the accused ‘innocent.’ Moreover, in line with media reports, the accused has been released immediately after the verdict. It may be pertinent to mention here that although the court recorded the deposition of the victim’s father and uncle as witnesses to the horrific incident, the whole trial has been held amid huge restrictions keeping even the victim’s family in the dark about its procedure.
One cannot deny the fact that Bangladeshi people at large felt happy when the trial began, though, about two years and eight months after the killing took place. Besides, they expected that justice would be done in this case at least for the sake of restoring India’s image at global level as far as its commitment to human rights is concerned. With the verdict at hand, hence, the idea yet again gets reinforced that India is a state that is out to provide impunity for its security personnel engaged in killing spree on the Bangladesh-India border. According to media reports, at least 214 Bangladeshis have been killed in the borders between January 2009 — when the Awami League-led government assumed office — and June 2013 while more than 1000 people fell victim to border killing by the BSF in the past 10 years. Regrettably, however, despite repeated demands from Bangladesh, the Indian government is yet to make any redress for the victims’ families. It is yet to comply with the pledges made by its key functionaries, including even the prime minister, on more than one occasion to stop such heinous killing either.
Be that as it may, the government of Bangladesh needs to realise that its predilections for taking words issued by Indian government in terms of making an end to border killing, or any other disputes that have been adversely impacting the relationship between the two neighbours for long, at face value may have contributed well to the situation in question as well. It needs to continue its efforts to make its Indian counterpart come good on the latter’s promise to sincerely address its concern about Felani killing, not to mention unabated border killings. In case of a failure, the Felani verdict would encourage the Indian border guards to continue such murders with no hesitation.
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