A shocking video, of a suspected cattle rustler, stripped, bound and brutally beaten up allegedly by BSF jawans in the Raninagar police thana area near the Indo-Bangladesh border in West Bengal's Murshidabad district has created uproar.
The grainy video, telecast by a local channel here on Wednesday, shows graphic visuals of the youth — stripped of all clothing, and his arms wrapped and bound to a bamboo staff — writhing in pain on the ground as at least four personnel in BSF fatigues assault him. While some of them are holding on to the youth, the others are repeatedly striking him with lathis.
Soon after the screening of the visuals, Border Security Force authorities announced that eight personnel were suspended. However, the police said no official complaint had been lodged at the local station till Wednesday evening.
“We have received information that three youths — two of them Bangladeshi nationals — were apprehended by the BSF jawans. Later in the day, one of the Bangladeshis was mercilessly beaten up,” said Kirity Roy, secretary of Masum, a Kolkata based non-governmental organisation opposing alleged atrocities committed by the BSF along India-Bangladesh border.
Mr. Roy said locals told him that the video had been shot by the BSF personnel themselves.
According to some local youths, copies of the video, allegedly distributed by the BSF personnel, are in their possession.
“All the personnel who were on duty at the Charmurasi border outpost have been suspended,” said Ravi Kumar Ponoth, Inspector-General of the South Bengal Frontier of the BSF.
Even as there were reports that the incident occurred on Monday, the details of when it happened and the footage taken could not be officially ascertained yet. A BSF spokesperson said, “It cannot be clearly stated when the incident occurred, and the footage may well have been shot as far back as 15 days.”
Mr. Ponoth said: “We will inquire into the incident. We will go through the video and if any jawan of the BSF is found guilty, strict action will be taken against him.”
However, he pointed out that BSF personnel were not permitted to carry their mobile phones during duty hours and it was unlikely they took the video.
Sources said that following the BSF directive that guards manning the border be given non-lethal weapons, the personnel resorted to force to deter people from crossing the border illegally.
Cattle smuggling across the border is a common crime villagers on both sides allegedly indulge in. The problem has engaged BSF authorities for some time now.
We have received a video footage; clearly showing inhumane and brutal torture by Border Security Force personnel of 105 Battalion upon an apparently poor and marginalized person. We have also came to know that the incident took place on 14.01.2012 (Saturday) at Char Mourushi BOP (Border Out Post) Camp under Raninagar Police Station of Murshidabad district of West Bengal.
As reports came the person allegedly beaten by the on duty BSF personnel at the said place of occurrence on the pretext of illegal entry to Indian side of the border from neighboring Bangladesh. It has been also reported that the BSF personnel not booked the person with appropriate legality or not provided any medical assistance rather left him to die. We got one information that victim’s name was Mr. Habu Sheikh son of Mr. Saidul Islam of village Atrosia, Post Office Adina College, Police Station – Shibganj, District Chapai Nababganj. The details are not confirmed yet.
The ongoing assaults on the Indian and Bangladeshi nationals by the BSF personnel took horrible proportion. The BSF higher ups tried to shield their force on the pretext of anti- smuggling activities. But it is now clear that the BSF personnel are taking all illegal and extra constitutional means of torture and intimidation according to their whims. The BSF can not perform a role of judiciary rather the judiciary has been restricted not to use physical coercion in this country. In the picture it is evident when the victim lamenting for his life the persons in uniform laughing like beasts and verbally abusing him with sexual connotation.
We came to know that the BSF authority suspended 8 jawans as mentioned below for this heinous act.
1. Sandip Kumar
2. Dhananjay Roy
3. Sunil Kr. Yadav
4. Suresh Chandra,
5. Anand Kr.
8. Virendra Kr Tiwari
But we failed to understand why a specific criminal case has not been initiated and those were not arrested yet. It is clear that the BSF authority not showing any respect to the country’s legal procedure. We are apprehending the authority is trying to hush up the incident and shielding the perpetrators. Again the authority has not taken any appropriate measure against the in-charge of that BOP Camp, Company Commander or battalion Commandant.
Our organization have made concerned opinion on the ongoing torture by BSF personnel at Indo- Bangladesh border and tried to convince other duty bearers to take immediate actions on their part to minimize this malice of epidemic proportion. This incident is not an isolated one but a part of ongoing torturous practices by the BSF which has been visually recorded with a chance. It again proves our stand that the malice is not only related to individual BSF personnel rather it is directly related to extended impunity for persons in uniform by the criminal jurisprudence of our country. It is a high time for concerned institutions to take corrective measures to check unbridled atrocities by the Border Security Force personnel at the Indo- Bangladesh bordering areas.
MASUM welcomed the statement made by DG of BSF regarding “zero tolerance” and “not use of lethal weapons” along the India – Bangladesh border. But we are sorry to withdraw our gesture because the very intention of BSF is clear by these kind of atrocious acts on their part and ultimate impunity which they are enjoying.
The video confirmed:-
· The person was not fleeing at the time of occurrence
· The person was in BSF custody
· The BSF personnel stripped him naked
· The BSF personnel were reveling like tyrants
· The BSF personnel tied his twisted hands with a stick
· The person was pleading for his release
· The BSF personnel made physical torture without any fear or timorous
· The personnel knowingly beaten at toes of the person
· Horrifying act of torture by BSF personnel made disrepute for Indian democracy
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor)
Tele-Fax - +91-33-26220843
Phone- +91-33-26220844 / 0845
e. mail : email@example.com