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Indian rights body: BSF involved in illegal, inhumane acts

  • Published at 07:22 pm March 7th, 2019
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel keep a vigil near India-Bangladesh fencing border during a patrol ahead of India's 70th Republic Day celebration at Lankamura village, on the outskirts of Agartala, the capital of northeastern state of Tripura on January 24, 2019. - 31 stranded Rohingya refugees were detained on January 22 in Tripura, where members of the stateless group had been stuck in no-man’s land on the India-Bangladesh border AFP

Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) alleges that the BSF is accepting favours from culprits and providing them with assistance

Indian rights body Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) has alleged that members of the neighbouring country’s Border Security Force (BSF) are involved in illegal and inhumane activities. 

The rights organization also claimed that BSF is accepting favours from miscreants and providing them all possible assistance in the border region. 

MASUM claimed this in a press release issued on Tuesday, adding that it is impossible for illegal acts of smuggling and trafficking to be carried out without BSF's permission. 

The organization further alleged that some personnel from the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) are also involved in such illicit acts.

India and Bangladesh share a 4,156km-long international border; most of which is with the Indian state of West Bengal.  Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) addresses a press conference on Sunday, March 3, 2019 | Dhaka TribuneThe press release reads: “The day-to-day lives of the people are with fear and deprivation with a minimum guarantee for livelihood. On the Indian part of the border, the majority of the people are living in penury without, or with minimum, administrative or governmental deliverances. 

“The problem related with demarcation of the border is one of the major issues to reckon with; so far, no consolidated border has been demarcated and people have to cross over the fence or border outpost to reach their agrarian fields for harvesting and cultivation.”

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The release continued: “The administration or BSF are deciding the timings for entry and exit of Indian citizens from their own land. All bordering roads are generally propagated as the property of the BSF; while in actuality, the roads were constructed by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) for common use

“The civil administration is systemically encroaching on the personal liberty of citizens by promulgating section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, throughout the border—for decades— without any respite, the civil administration never thought about its legalities, only nodded in BSF’s illegitimate demand.”

In this regard, MASUM complained in 2007, but no action has been taken. The organization referred to case references where the Supreme Court of India vehemently said that the practice is illegal.

‘Killings and torture’

According to the press release, only a miniscule section of the populace living in the border region is engaged in illegal and illegitimate acts of smuggling and other activities, but the BSF is making it a point to justify their regular subjugation and inhumane torture. 

The statement further reads: “The evident forms of torture are extra-judicial killings and intense physical torture; but the hidden issues of their arrogant acts and behaviour only can match foreign invaders in nature. 

“The women are being constantly harassed by the personnel with their gestures, verbal abuse, and, in a few cases, devastating their modesty. In this situation, a minor section of the population is engaged in cross-border trafficking as well as trafficking from the area as a pawn in the hands of real kingpins with various influences at various levels.”

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MASUM pointed out that the Indo-Bangladesh border is infamous for women trafficking as a source, destination, and transit point; and it has became a real concern in the South Asian context.

“The overall marginalization and violence perpetrated at the Indo-Bangladesh border actually infringes on the Constitutional provisions,” read the press release.

MASUM is primarily working and addressing the issue of torture and extra-judicial killings in West Bengal; with a focus on the Indo-Bangladesh border areas. The organization also investigates other specific issues of Indo-Bangladesh border areas of West Bengal, affecting the lives and liberty of the populace.

The Bangladesh Border Guards did not respond to the Dhaka Tribune’s request for comments on this matter.