Wednesday, 18 January 2012

BSF suspends 8 after 'torture video'

Dhaka, Jan 18 ( – The Indian border guards have suspended eight of their men after a video, showing a Bangladeshi man being stripped, kicked and beaten by them, was aired Wednesday on some Indian TV channels.

BSF said on Wednesday night that the incident had taken place in Pashchimbanga's Murshidabad district along the Indo-Bangla border and investigation was ongoing, India's state-run news agency PTI said.


The five-minute video was first shown by NDTV, although the channel could not confirm its source and authenticity.

It shows three to four personnel donning BSF-style dark green fatigues stripping and then beating a lungi-clad man, his hands tied behind his back in the incident that reportedly took place on Dec 9.

Media reports say the man is suspected to be a Bangladeshi. NDTV said the man was beaten up after he allegedly declined them a bribe.

NDTV says it cannot confirm the origin or authenticity of the video released with the ticker: Caught on camera: BSF Brutality.

Ravi Kumar Ponoth, BSF's inspector-general for South Bengal, told NDTV that at first sight it seemed that some BSF personnel were indeed involved and that the Indian border was investigating the incident in the Kaharparha check post near Murshidabad border in West Bengal.

Kushtia and Rajshahi districts have border with Murshidabad.

In his first reaction, however, he had told India's Daily News and Analysis that it was unlikely the video had been shot by BSF personnel using a mobile phone, because his men are prohibited from using mobile phones when on duty.

Villagers told NDTV that the video was intentionally shot by the BSF troopers and distributed among the people to instil fear among them.

Another theory on how the video came to light is that a cyber cafe owner downloaded the footage from a BSF man's cellphone when he visited the cafe to download music.

In 2010, human rights group Odhikar and Human Rights Watch reported that the BSF had killed some 1,000 Bangladeshis over the last decade.

After Felani, 15, was shot dead by BSF troops on Jan 7 last year, while she was returning to Bangladesh with her father. The body was snapped dangling on a barbed fence, causing uproar.

The Indian government expressed regret and sympathy and requested Bangladesh to motivate people to follow the legal routes in crossing the border. In a two-day home secretary-level meeting, India also promised to ease tension on the borders and stop killing of Bangladeshis.

The BSF, guarding the over 4,000 kilometres porous Indo-Bangla border, recently armed its troops with "non-lethal" weapons to reduce causalities and fatal injuries to Bangladeshi nationals attempting to cross over into this country.

But the border force's killings at the Bangladeshi border have been ceaseless. The last death was that of three young men on Dec 17 last year.
the unedited version of one of the BSF's brutalities on Bangladeshis...

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