Saturday, 7 September 2013

BSF kills 21 in eight months

 Kailash Sarkar

At least 75 other Bangladeshis were allegedly abducted by BSF over the same period

The Indian Border Security Force has never quite kept its promise of bringing down the number of Bangladeshis killed at the borders to zero. 

Unofficial reports suggest that at least 21 Bangladeshis were killed and 60 others injured in the last eight months by the Indian Border Security Force. 

At least 75 other Bangladeshis were allegedly abducted by BSF over the same period. 
Apart from shooting to death, there are many instances where Bangladeshis were picked up from the border areas and later tortured to death, raising widespread human rights concern. 

However, differing with the statistics, Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed, director general of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), claimed that only 16 people were killed in the border this year; of them, 14 by BSF men. 

“Fourteen Bangladeshis were killed by BSF men this year at the India-Bangladesh border. Two other Bangladeshis were killed over a local feud. The BSF men were not involved in the killing of the latter two,” the BGB chief said. 

“The BSF men do not use lethal weapons anymore and they did not fire at the Bangladeshis with heavy weapons. Those Bangladeshis were killed by rubber bullets. 

“They might have received the rubber bullets from close ranges,” said Maj   Gen Aziz, adding: “Even if someone is hit by a small stone, that person may die it hits at any sensitive part of the body.” 

When asked why so many people were hurt or abducted by BSF, the BGB chief said not all the reported cases could be confirmed. Sometimes BGB was not informed of the incidents, he claimed. 

“Whenever the BGB is informed of any such incident, we take proper measures. There are also many instances where BSF returned those it had earlier abducted or detained.” Maj Gen Aziz said. 

On Friday, a special court of BSF in India’s Koch Behar acquitted BSF member Amiya Ghosh, the only accused in the killing of Bangladeshi teenager Felani Khatun, citing him innocent. 

15-year-old Felani was shot dead by the BSF men while she was entering Bangladesh over the barbed-wire fences along the Anantapur border point in Kurigram on January 7, 2011. 

When contacted, Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed said he had heard about the verdict on media, but had no formal or official information about it. 

“We communicated the BSF authorities and other sources, but none could give us any official or authentic report,” the BGB chief said. 

“The trial of Felani killing was a result of global media outcry and the initiatives taken by the Bangladesh government. If required, the trials of the other killings will also be initiated.”   

Bangladesh and India share a 3,909km border.  

Instances of BSF shooting, killing, torturing and abducting unarmed Bangladeshi civilians in the border areas violate international norms and treaties, which say if citizens of the two countries illegally cross the border, it would be considered trespass and as per law those persons should be handed over to the respective civilian authority. 

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