Saturday, January 21, 2012

Youth shot dead by BSF men

Amid tension over the torture of a Bangladeshi man by Indian Border Security Force personnel, BSF shot a youth dead and injured two others early yesterday in Dhannokhola of Benapole in Jessore.

Police said the deceased, Rasheduzzaman, 22, was the son of Mosharraf Hossain of Matipukur in Sharsha upazila. Details of the injured victims could not be known immediately.

Meanwhile, Dhaka yesterday lodged protest with New Delhi over the death of Rashed expressing its deep concern and disappointment, according to a foreign ministry statement. 

Subedar Atiar Rahman, in-charge of Dhannokhola camp of BGB 22 Battalion, said the BSF members in India's Sutia camp in 24 Parganas district of Paschimbanga opened fire on a group of cattle traders while they were returning to Bangladesh around 5:00am.

The BSF fired three bullets, one of which hit Rashed, killing him on the spot, he said.

On information, Benapole port police rushed to the spot, recovered the body and sent it to Jessore General Hospital morgue for an autopsy, said Hasan Hafezur Rahman, officer-in-charge of the station. 

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Director General Maj Gen Anwar Hossain, however, told The Daily Star last night that they are investigating the incident to ascertain whether the victim was killed in BSF firing “as primary investigation raises some suspicion”.

He added that the bullet-hit body was found around 60 yards inside Bangladesh. 

The BGB border outpost has already protested the killing after holding a flag meeting with the BSF outpost concerned, he said. 

The killing happened days after the release of a video clip that showed some BSF men were brutally torturing a Bangladeshi citizen in Murshidabad district of Paschimbanga on January 9 as he allegedly refused to pay them a bribe.

The BSF authorities on January 18 suspended eight jawans and ordered fully-fledged investigation into the matter.

India on December 20 last year regretted the killing of four Bangladeshi nationals by BSF members on December 16 and 17, saying that it has taken various steps, including strict control on opening fire, introduction of non-lethal weapons, round-the-clock intensive patrolling. 

According to rights group Ain O Salish Kendra, 39 Bangladeshis were killed by the BSF in 2011, while Odhikar puts the number at 31. 

The foreign ministry statement issued yesterday says such killings are taking place despite assurances at the highest level of the Indian government of exercising maximum restraint by the BSF. 

The reaction of Bangladesh comes in continuation of earlier communications expressing deep concern and dismay of the government of Bangladesh at the recurrence of such incidents of deaths at the hands of BSF members.

The Indian authorities concerned have been urged to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and to take action against those responsible, the statement added.