BSF has ordered “court martial” proceedings against eight of its personnel after a video of their stripping,kicking and beating a Bangladeshi national along the Indo-Bangla border in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district surfaced recently.
The personnel,according to BSF chief Utthan K Bansal,were found prima facie “guilty” after a court of inquiry was conducted into the incident which took place early last month.
The personnel can put up their defence during the court martial.
“The staff court of inquiry has been completed (in the incident). Now,we are ordering a court martial where the record of evidence will be taken. That is the procedure under the BSF Act. After that the presiding officer will decide the level of punishment,” the BSF Director General told PTI here.
“Prima facie,they have been found guilty. Now the extent of the guilt and what defence they (eight jawans) have to put…all that is part of the court procedure and once we have that,we will further take action. The Presiding officer will decide the punishment,” he said.
A mobile phone captured the video that surfaced last month,showing the Border Security Force (BSF) troopers assaulting a 32-year-old Bangladeshi,identified as Abdul Sheikh,a resident of Abasia in Chapainawabganj in Bangladesh.
He was allegedly smuggling cattle across the border when the BSF troops had intercepted him.
The eight personnel belong to the 105th battalion of the border guarding force and the incident took place in its Charmurasi boundary outpost in Murshidabad district.
The BSF DG said that in order to thwart attempts of smuggling and illegal crossings along the border,the force is increasing its strength at select posts along the Indo-Bangla boundary.
“We have identified,after very careful analysis,23 of our outposts stretching about 107 kms (out of the total 4,095 km of the Indo-Bangla border) which are most sensitive from the point of view of border crimes,smuggling,fence breach and violent attacks.
“This is a small fraction of the total border area. We intend to increase our forces in thes areas,increase the manpower more than average and we intend to provide the available non-lethal weaponry specially in these areas,” Bansal said.
He said that once these steps are taken,in coordination with the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB),the incidents of violence on the border could go down substantially.
“We have given the list of these (23) posts to Bangladesh and asked them to increase vigil in their areas. If they can stop trans-border movement in these 23 border outpost areas,and we are doing our due diligence,my feeling is that it will make a considerable difference in the levels of violence on the border and reduce it by at least 50-60 per cent,” he said.
Bansal had yesterday said here that since the BSF had started exercising extreme restraint in dealing with people on the border,criminal and smugglers have been emboldened to attack the patrol parties of the force.
“The negative side of this (restraint) is that,now the criminals are getting a feeling that the BSF will not fire at them. Therefore,they are getting emboldened. They are feeling more free to attack the BSF.
“They are coming in larger numbers…sometimes even 300-400 at a time. They are breaching the fence with the confidence that they can get away with it…Cattle smuggling is being attempted with much greater openness,” Bansal had said.