Human Rights Watch (HRW) blames BSF for Bangla border killings

Kolkata, Dec 27, 2010 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS): Human Rights Watch (HRW) , an independent human rights body, recently alleged that India’s Border Security Force (BSF) was indulging in excesses and killing  along the Bangladesh border, a claim strongly refuted by the frontier force.

HRW along with Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) and Odhikar, all NGOs, released an 81-page document, “Trigger Happy”, on the alleged excessive  use of force by Indian troopers on the Bangladesh Border.

It alleged that more than 900 Bangladesh nationals have been killed by the BSF over the last decade, many of them when they crossed into Indian territory for cattle rustling or other smuggling activities.

The victims were of only eight police stations of two districts- North 24 Parganas and Murshidabad, about only five per cent area of some 2000 kms border with Bangladesh.

The BSF has denied the allegation.

BSF Inspector General C.V. Murlidhar said no innocent people were killed in the border areas.

The document was released in presence of former Sikkim High Court acting chief justice Moloy Sengupta, who said  the report and the documentation was released to inform the people in authority to know what was happening to the innocent people.

“The border force seems to be out of control, with orders to shoot any suspect,” HRW’s South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly alleged in a separate statement.

HRW urged the Indian government to prosecute the BSF soldiers responsible for serious human rights abuses. ” Since both Indians and Bangladeshis have fallen prey to this excessive use of force, both government need to open a joint independent investigation to turn the situation around,” the HRW suggested.

“Residents complain that intimidation, verbal abuse and beatings are common with border guards, particularly the BSF, treating everyone as suspects,” Ganguly said.

“The border force, with a peacetime mission of preventing illegal activity, is acting like it is in a war zone, torturing and killing locals residents.”

HRW also urged the Bangladesh government that it should protect the right to life of its citizens, even those who may be involved in illegal trade, and should call upon the Indian government to exercise
restraint.

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