Thursday, January 19, 2012

The horror that haunts Habibur

The horror of December 9, 2011 still haunts Habibur Rahman, the 22-year-old cattlerunner at Satera Rashiya of Shibganj in Chapainawabganj, who was brutally tortured by India’s Border Security Force at Mairashi camp in Murshidabad after being stripped for failing to pay them Tk 2,000 in ‘bribe.’

‘It seemed to me that it was the end of my life.… I have never faced such a brutality,’ he said heaving a long sigh inside his house on Thursday evening.

Habibur said that even after more than a month,  he was yet to recover as he still feels pain in joints and muscles. ‘I can now walk and but the memories keep haunting me.’

‘What should I say?’ he said when he was asked about how he was feeling. ‘I think I have got another life.’

In the whole one month, nobody from the government had inquired about him; hje was rather once summoned to the local camp of the Border Guard Bangladesh and they inquired about only what happened, he said. ‘But local journalists visited me.’

Habibur could not continue with studies after Class VIII as his farmer father could not pay for his education. Habibur’s father Saidur Rahman has only two bighas of land. Habibur used to sell an array of commodities including cosmetics, toys, tableware, etc in neighborhoods.

He also had left home with his commodities two days before he was tortured. Along the Rajshahi border, a smuggler offered him to bring his cattle inside the Bangladesh territory through the Mairashi point. Usually, smugglers pay Rs 1,000 for bringing a couple cows into Bangladesh in the area, he said. ‘I was in need of the money and accepted the offer.’

‘It was 11:00pm and was returning with the cattle. The BSF men stopped me at Mairashi camp and demanded Tk 2,000, torchlight and mobile . I told them I had nothing with me,’ he said.

‘Immediately after, they started beating me with their rifles and bamboo sticks and at one point they stripped me and tied both the hands. I fell at their feet and begged mercy but they did not spare me,’ Habibur said.
‘As I was crying, the intensity of torture increased. They were coming one after another and severely thrashed. At one point I fell unconscious,’ he added.

Habibur said that the Indian border guards left him unconscious in a rice field totally naked with hands tied up.
‘It was about dawn when I woke up and found that I was lying in the field. I could not move because of pain and even then I I tried to advance and found some people. They wrapped me with a piece of cloth and took me to a nearby house. I crossed the border in the morning,’ he said. 

‘All I want is to see those people punished. How can they beat a man like this?’ he said.