Time for govt to demand BSF killers be tried in Bangladesh
AFTER the verdict in the Felani murder trial on September 6, in which the General Security Forces Court of India, upon completion of a trial shrouded in secrecy, pronounced Amiya Ghosh, a constable of the Indian Border Security Force who had been charged with the killing of the 15-year-old Bangladeshi girl on January 7, 2011, as ‘innocent’, different quarters expressed their apprehension that it would further embolden the ‘trigger-happy’ BSF members to continue with their murderous ways. It had not been even a week before their fear came true. On Monday, some Indian border guards chased five Bangladeshi farmers who had gone to a disputed piece of sandy land of the river Padma near the border to collect grass for their cattle, caught one of them, took him to their camp on the other side of the border and tortured him to death. According to a report published in New Age on Tuesday, members of the Border Guard Bangladesh later found the body of the 55-year old in a boat floating on the river.
Needless to say, the killing of the farmer, including the means employed, is neither unprecedented nor isolated. According to a report published in 2010, in collaboration with Masum in India and Odhikar in Bangladesh, the Human Rights Watch revealed that the Indian border guards have killed some 1,000 people over ten years. While shooting has apparently been their preferred option, they have also employed a range of ways and means to kill Bangladeshis on the border — from hacking with knives and machetes to beating with sticks, iron rods and even rifle-butts. In one case, the BSF even rammed a patrol boat into a Bangladeshi who was trying to swim ashore and escape their wrath, to kill him. Yet, there has hardly been a case whereby the perpetrators of such killings were unquestionably prosecuted and prohibitively punished. The exoneration of the lone accused in the Felani murder trial tends to indicate that dispensation of justice may not be, and may not have ever been, the priority for India, in respect of such killings.
There is no doubt that the killings by the BSF on the border not only represent one of the worst human rights violations in recent times but also amount to culpable homicide in both national and international legal frameworks, all the more so because, on many occasions, the perpetrators either carried out the killing inside Bangladesh territory or trespassed into Bangladesh territory, caught their victims, took them to the other side of the border and killed them. Simply put, the BSF apparently stands guilty of trespassing and abduction besides culpable homicide.
Suffice to say, the Bangladesh government will be within its right to demand that the trigger-happy BSF men should be handed over so that they may be prosecuted under Bangladeshi law and in Bangladeshi courts of law. As such, instead of accepting the empty assurances and reassurances dished out by New Delhi, the AL-led government need to raise such a demand with its Indian counterpart. People at large, especially the conscious sections of society, would surely rally behind the government if and when it does so.
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LAWMAKERS appear hell-bent on extending their jurisdiction over government... Full story
THE nation is appalled by the verdict of the Felani case. On September 6, the General Security Court of the Border Security Force of India exonerated the accused, constable Amiya Ghosh, of the murder charge after finding him ‘innocent’. Set up after a huge international... Full story