December 9, 2010

II. Excessive Use of Force and Indiscriminate Killings by the BSF

The Indian Border Security Force (BSF) justifies the killing of suspects by claiming that they were evading arrest, or that they had to fire in self-defense. However, in the cases investigated by Human Rights Watch, the alleged criminals were armed with nothing but sickles, sticks, and knives, commonly carried by villagers in the area. The police reports filed by the BSF seldom mention injuries received by the BSF’s own personnel which suggest that the border guards may have used lethal force instead of attempting arrest. In a number of cases, the victims were shot in the back, indicating that they may have been shot while running away. In others, injuries indicating victims were shot at close range, support allegations that they may have been killed while in custody.

Section 46 of India’s Code of Criminal Procedure states that it is permissible to use “all means necessary” when a person attempts forcibly to resist arrest, but it also clearly forbids causing the death of a person who is not accused of an offence punishable by death or a life term.[49] Cattle-rustling is not such an offense. In other words, under domestic law, while authorities may use force to detain such a suspect, they cannot use lethal force to do so. However, no international law or standard permits the use of lethal force on the grounds that a person is suspected of a crime that carries life imprisonment or the death penalty. BSF members violate domestic and international laws when killing Indian and Bangladeshi nationals.

The United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials calls upon officials to apply, as far as possible, non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms. Even in self-defense, intentional lethal use of firearms is permitted only when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life. Officials are required to exercise restraint and “act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence.”[50]

A former BSF official told Human Rights Watch that about a decade ago orders were handed down to shoot at suspected smugglers at the Bangladesh border. The official said that the assumption underlying the policy was that it would deter such illegal activities. However, he agreed that those orders, instead of serving as deterrence, are now causing deaths.[51]

Attacks on Bangladeshi Nationals

According to Odhikar, between 2000 and September 2010, over 930 Bangladeshi nationals were killed in the border area by the Indian BSF, including at the international frontier in the state of West Bengal where we did our research. Below are some recent cases that were investigated by Odhikar in collaboration with Human Rights Watch for this report.[52] These cases provide evidence of the BSF’s failure to use proportional force to address the alleged crimes.

Killing of Farid Hossain

Farid Hossian was a rickshaw puller from Sharialjot village in Panchagar district of Bangladesh. On February 5, 2010, according to his wife Rina Khatun, the 23-year-old father of two left home at around 11:30 p.m. On February 6, 2010, at around 8 a.m., she heard from other villagers that Farid had been killed by the BSF during the night.[53] Rina’s brother-in-law Faruq said a man collecting stones near the river Mohananda had been told by the BSF that a man named Farid Hossain from the Sharialjot village had been shot inside Indian territory, and asked him to inform the family.

According to Mohammad Zahir, a cattle-rustler, Farid had offered to go bring a cow from India. Zahir, Farid, and five others crossed over through the Kazipara border by cutting the border fence constructed by the Indians.[54] They then went to Haptia village near the Indian Haptia BSF camp:

While returning, we were chased by the BSF. All of us were able to escape but Farid hid in a tea garden. On February 6, in the morning, I heard that Farid had been shot to death by the BSF. I was summoned by the BDR Camp Commander where I admitted all the facts.[55]

On February 6, at 7:40 p.m., the BSF handed over Farid’s body at a flag meeting.[56]Mohammad Niyat Ali, an older relative of Farid Hossain, attended the meeting. The BSF said that an autopsy had been conducted, and provided the report which said there were bullet wounds to the chest. The Bangladesh police then handed the body over to the family for burial.

Niyat Ali suspected that Farid had been tortured because there were injuries and broken bones.[57] However, Odhikar also interviewed the BDR camp commander Abu Baker Siddique who said that the body had severe scratches all over his face, which had been caused by a dog probably used by the BSF to chase suspects.

The BSF Camp Commander, Nirodh Kumar, alledgedly told the BDR that six or seven persons were seen cutting the border fence. When the BSF chased them, the group scattered and ran away. While the others escaped, Farid hid in a tea garden. The BSF used a trained dog to track Farid down. The soldiers shot him as he tried to evade arrest.

Killing of Shyamol Karmokar

Naren Karmokar, a resident of the border village of Bishroshiya in Chapainababganj district, said that his 17-year-old son, Shyamol, wanted to visit his aunt who lives in Malda, India. However, since the family could not afford a passport, there was no legal way to enter India.

On January 24, 2010, Shyamol left home without informing his family. The next morning, at around 10:30 a.m., Naren Karmokar received a call from Shyamol, who said that he had crossed illegally into India, but had not yet reached his aunt’s house:

Everyone in the family was worried… We were relieved to receive his call. I told him to come back without visiting his aunt. I also told him to return alone, and warned him not to take any help from cattle traders. Shyamol called me on January 26 to say that he would be back the next day and that he had found a Bangladeshi who would help him. At around 3:30 a.m., I heard gun shots near the border and immediately became anxious about Shyamol. Around 5:30 in the morning, Zahid came to our house and told me that Shyamol had been shot dead by the BSF.[58]

When Naren received Shyamol’s body from the BDR on January 29, he saw that his son had been shot three times, in the abdomen, chest, and neck.[59] According to Mohmmad Zahid, who was helping Shyamol cross the border, the BSF opened fire without warning:

I work with Abdul Mannan and Milon at a rice mill in Bangladesh, but sometimes we also work in the cattle business. That day we were bringing two cows to Bangladesh. I had told Shyamol to meet us near the border, and at around 3:30 a.m. we started the journey to Bangladesh. We had two cows with us. Milon, who was the lineman, arrived an hour earlier. Soon after we reached near the border area, the BSF spotted us and immediately opened fire. Shyamol fell on the ground, while Mannan and I ran away. I don’t know what had happened to Shyamol after that… Once we entered into Bangladesh, I went to Shyamol’s house with Mannan to inform his father.[60]

A flag meeting was held on January 28, 2010, when the BSF handed over the body to the BDR. Odhikar spoke to Subedar Sirajul Islam, the BDR Camp Commander at Wahedpur about the death of Shyamol Karmokar. He stated that in their investigation they found that Shaymol was a barber who hitched a ride back home with cattle traders. The BSF claimed at the meeting that they had assumed Shyamol was smuggling cows into Bangladesh. For that reason, according to the BDR Commander, the BSF was justified in shooting him.[61]

The local police said that Shyamol was killed when the BSF opened fire upon a group of cattle-rustlers to which he did not belong. “It is one of the most unfortunate incidents that happened in this area. This boy was innocent but was shot just for walking with cattle traders,” said Yameen Ali of the Shibganj Police Station.[62]

Killing of Nazrul Islam

Around 5 a.m. on January 22, 2010, Nazrul Islam, a 40-year-old laborer from Baribaka village in Meherpur district was shot and killed by the BSF as he tried to cross the border fence between India and Bangladesh.

In the evening of January 21, Nazrul Islam had told his wife, Surjan, that he planned to help some cattle traders bring cows from India to Bangladesh. Before dawn the next morning Surjan and other villagers heard shots being fired near the border. Surjan told Human Rights Watch that she immediately suspected that her husband had been shot. Five months earlier, another cattle-rustler had been killed by the BSF. One of the villagers confirmed shortly afterwards that her husband had been killed close to Nabin Nagor village.[63] When Mohammad Ershad, a cousin, heard about the killing, he went to the area and saw Nazrul Islam’s body tangled in the barbed wire of the border fence.[64]

Surjan said that Nazrul used to work as a day-laborer. But since the money he made was not enough to support his wife, two daughters, and an elderly mother, he also took to cattle-rustling to pay off debts and the mortgage on their land.[65] According to Nazrul Islam’s son, Tutul, his father used to cross the border three or four times a month to smuggle cattle, and was able to make about 500 to 1000 taka (USD 7-14) each trip.[66] Nazrul Islam had apparently gone that morning as well, but had been spotted by the BSF and shot.

On January 23, the 92nd Battalion of the BSF handed over Nazrul’s dead body to members of BDR’s 32nd Battalion. According to a BDR commander, two bullets hit Nazrul in the abdomen after he was caught in the barbed wire on his way back to Bangladesh.[67] The investigating police officer at Meherpur district police station, however, told Human Rights Watch that Nazrul was hit with one bullet fired from a distance.[68] An autopsy was conducted, and the report issued by Meherpur general hospital in Bangladesh states that Nazrul died from “hemorrhage and shock as a result of gunshot injury which was ante-mortem and homicidal in nature.”[69]

While Nazrul’s family members told Human Rights Watch that he was operating together with others the night he was killed, no villagers were able to identify anyone who had witnessed the killing.[70] The police was also unable to find anyone who was present.

According to Subedar Habibur Rahman, Company Commander of the Buripota BDR camp, a flag meeting was organized with the BSF on January 22, 2010. The BSF claimed that the deceased, Nazrul Islam, was a cattle trader, returning from India with a cow and that he had cut a section of the fence and was trying to push the cow through. BSF also mentioned that Nazrul’s body was trapped in the fence and that they had recovered a cow from the spot.[71]

Killing of Shahidul Islam

Shahidul Islam, 37, was shot and killed by BSF along the Kazipur border in Meherpur district in the early hours of January 15, 2010.

According to his wife Kamala Khatun, Meherpur district resident Shahidul Islam had spent three years in an Indian prison, detained on charges of cattle smuggling.[72] He was released in November 2009, and returned to work as a laborer in Kazipur village where he lived with his mother, wife, and two daughters.

On January 14, 2010, Shahidul left home at 4 p.m. saying that he would be back by dinner time. However, Kamala was not surprised when Shahidul did not return as promised because he was often not back until midnight. The next morning, Kamala heard that her husband had been killed by the BSF during the night. She was told that her husband was shot near the Kazipur BDR camp about 1.5 km from their village.[73]

There are different accounts as to exactly when Shahidul was killed. Villagers interviewed by Human Rights Watch say they heard gunshots in the border area around 9 p.m. on January 14.[74] However, according to the records of a nearby BDR camp, no gunshots were fired until 4:30 a.m. on January 15.[75]

At a flag meeting between the Kazipur BDR camp and Fulbari BSF camp held on January 17, 2010, the BSF handed over Shahidul’s body and allegedly told BDR officials that he was shot while smuggling cattle. The BDR camp commander told Odhikar that Shahidul was a criminal who had been released from an Indian jail just a few weeks ago.[76] Shahidul was buried by his family the same day. Family members and police told Human Rights Watch that Shahidul had been shot with one bullet in the abdomen. Family members also say that the body had several bruises and broken bones and that there was a wound at the back of the head.[77] However, the investigating police officer, Osman Goni, said that the inquest found that he had been shot in abdomen, but did not find any signs of torture.[78]

Odhikar and Human Rights Watch have not been able to obtain further details as to the exact circumstances of Shahidul’s death. The killing took place at night at a place located 1.5 kilometers from the nearest settlement. The BDR, police, and villagers all say that there were no witnesses on the Bangladeshi side of the border.

Killing of Monirul Islam

It appears that Monirul Islam, a 23-year-old resident of Chapainobabganj district, was killed by the BSF after he had managed to cross back into Bangladeshi territory. Abdul Kaiyum said that on January 8, 2010, his son Monirul worked in the field with him and had dinner with him. At around 9 p.m. Abdul Kaiyum then went to bed. He now assumes that his son then secretly went out to meet cattle-rustlers.[79] Abdul Latif, 21, one of those who were with Monirul on the night of the incident, said:

Some of us including Monirul crossed into India around midnight to bring cows. We entered into Bangladesh through the Shing Nagar border around 6:30 a.m., when we discovered that we were being chased by the BSF. At that time we had already crossed the Chulkani Bil, which is 200 yards inside Bangladesh territory. The BSF started shooting at us from the no man’s land. As gunshots were fired, everyone scattered but Monirul fell to the ground. He had been shot in the chest… Later the BSF tried to fetch Monirul’s body and take it back to India. But in the meantime, a lot of villagers had already gathered around, and the BSF had to go back, leaving Monirul’s body.[80]

Major Nazrul Islam, BDR commander of the 29th Battalion posted at the Shing Nagar border said that on January 9, 2010, BDR was informed by villagers that a body had been found at Chulkani Bil. Monirul’s body had a gunshot wound on the left side of his chest. BDR claimed that Monirul was a cattle-rustler.[81]

Constable Yameen Ali said that on January 9, 2010, the police found that the BSF had shot a villager and the body was found inside Bangladesh. It appeared that the BSF had spotted the cattle-rustlers once the group had already entered into Bangladesh. He confirmed that Monirul Islam was involved with the cattle smugglers.[82]

Killing of Shafiqul Islam

At around 4 p.m. on January 1, 2010, 27-year-old Shafiqul Islam, a resident of Sheetalpur village in Satkhira District, crossed into India with some others to bring cattle. On January 9, while they were swimming a river to cross back into Bangladesh, they were allegedly spotted by some BSF guards, who chased them on a speedboat. While his accomplices were able to escape with the cattle, they say that they saw Shafiqul caught by the BSF.

One of the witnesses, Shahadat, met his mother-in-law, Masura Begum, on his return and asked her to inform Shafiqul Islam’s family of his death. He told Masura Begum that BSF personnel from Barunhat Camp stabbed and killed Shafiqul Islam and threw his body in the river.[83]

According to Masura Begum, the men were crossing the Kalindi River at night with the cows when the BSF gave chase to them in a patrol boat. Shahadat left the cows in the water and hid in the bushes at the river bank. He saw BSF guards chase Shafiqul and heard him shout a few times as the BSF kicked him. He saw some BSF guards stab Shafiqul with a knife. They were swearing in Hindi. Later the BSF threw him in the river and left the scene on their boat. Shahadat and his accomplice then went back, picked up the cows, and swam into Bangladesh.[84]

Shafiqul’s mother, Saleha Begum admitted that cattle traders used to pay Shafiqul 2500-3000 taka [USD 35-40] to ferry cows from India into Bangladesh:

Shafiqul and Shahadat of Khainja village and another person were bringing some cows from India. Even though I repeatedly told him not to go, Shafiqul left the house that day and crossed the Kalindi River. Shahadat and the other person were able to return alive with cattle from India on January 9, 2010, but my son did not come back alive….When Masura Begum told me of my son’s death, I began looking for Shafiqul’s body in the Kalindi River. On January 13, a woman from Uksa village told me that Shafiqul’s body was lying on the bank of the river adjacent to the BDR camp at the Uksa border. I went there with Shafiqul’s wife Anjuara… After recognizing Shafiqul’s body, I sent Anjuara to the Uksa BDR camp to inform them.[85]

Mosammat Fatema Begum, who found Shafiqul’s body, said that it was nude, with a black tube around the chest. There were cuts on the left cheek and on the feet.[86]

Sub-Inspector Abdul Huq recovered Shafiqul’s body on January 13, 2010. It was sent for autopsy on the following day and then handed to the family for burial. The police officer said that Shafiqul, a cattle-rustler, was swimming back to Bangladesh holding the tail of a cow, and wearing a tube around his chest, when members of the BSF ran a speedboat over him. Shafiqul’s body was cut by the blades of the speedboat.[87] He said that although the police did investigate the death, the Bangladesh police had no authority to bring charges against the BSF.

Killing of Abdur Rakib, a 13-year-old boy

Abdur Rakib, aged 13, was also killed inside Bangladeshi territory. On March 13, 2009, a BSF trooper had an argument with a boy who was fishing in the Dohalkhari Lake, barely 20 meters from an international border. The soldier opened fire, and hit two other boys who were grazing their buffaloes nearby. Abdur Rakib was shot in the chest and died instantly. Mohammad Omar Faruq, aged 15, was injured. He said:

I had taken our three buffaloes for grazing in the field. This field was about 50 yards from the border. It is a common grazing ground and a lot of other boys were feeding their buffaloes in the same field. There is a lake called Dohalkhari about 30-40 yards from that field towards the border. A young boy was catching fish in the lake. Everything was going on as usual when I heard a sound coming from the lake. A BSF soldier was standing at the border and loudly talking to the boy who was catching fish. It seemed that he wanted the boy to give him some free fish. This went on for about half-an-hour and it started to become very heated. I thought that the BSF soldier might be drunk.... Soon they started to verbally abusing each other and then the BSF pointed a gun at the boy. The boy ran and the soldier started to shoot. I think maybe about seven to ten rounds were fired… I was hit on the right hip and fell down. Everyone else around me was running to hide, leaving their buffaloes… I crawled to a paddy field and waited for help.[88]

Toriqul Alam, 22, who was working on his farm nearby, heard the gunshots and then saw Omar Faruq crying and crawling away. He and some others ran to pull him to safety. Toriqul Alam says that he also saw that Abur Rakib was lying on the ground, dead.[89]

Mohammad Abu Bakar, Rakib’s uncle, also witnessed parts of the incident. He was irrigating his fields when he heard gunshots. He ran to a paddy field nearby to hide after hearing the first shot. From there, he saw that his nephew had been shot by a BSF soldier. Later, he saw the soldier, a black cloth covering his face, carrying a gun in his right hand, dragging Rakib’s lifeless body by his right leg through the field over a culvert on the Indian side. The soldier then walked two buffaloes close to the border so that it appeared that they were brought from India. After that, he made a call on his mobile phone. A little later, Abu Bakar saw about a dozen BSF personnel arrive in a van, who took Abdur Rakib’s body away.[90]

A flag meeting was held between the BDR and the BSF on March 14, to discuss the incident. The BSF tried to insist that the victims were illegal cattle traders, but the BDR personnel presented witness accounts countering this version. Some villagers who were present during the flag meeting said that the BSF eventually apologized and promised that the soldier responsible would be punished.[91] There is no information on any action taken.

Abdur Rakib’s body was handed over to the BDR after an autopsy in India. Omar Faruq was taken to hospital.

Indiscriminate Shooting at Nazrul Islam and Anwar Hossain

Nazrul Islam, a 34-year-old rickshaw puller from Panchagar district, said he occasionally supplemented his income through cattle smuggling. On January 5, 2010, he left his home in the evening, telling his wife that he was going to ferry some cows back from India. He met up with several others but when they reached the border, they found a heavy BSF presence patrolling in the area. So they decided to wait, only setting out around 3 a.m. the following morning. They were very close to the Haptia camp of the BSF, but failed to notice some soldiers who were hidden in the field:

As soon as the BSF saw us, they started firing without warning. On that night, the BSF shot at least 30 rounds. I had never experienced such firing from the BSF before. Hearing the gunshots, all of us ran to save our lives. I was running towards India. I got shot in my right hand….I went directly to an Indian cattle trader’s house. The BSF was looking for me… I called my cousin who lives in India… He came and took me home and a local doctor put a bandage on my wound…. The next day, I went to Shiliguri.[92]

Shiliguri is a town in West Bengal and Nazrul Islam was admitted into a hospital. He remained in the hospital for several days but had to flee once a doctor discovered that he was a Bangladeshi national and started demanding bribes, threatening to inform the BSF. On January 21, 2010, he finally managed to contact some cattle traders who helped him cross back into Bangladesh.

Anwar Hossain had also run once the BSF opened fire. He was injured in his right palm. Anwar and two others managed to hide in tea estates until they were able to contact an Indian cattle trader who helped him find a doctor to clean the wound and provide medicine. The BSF managed to track them down at the cattle trader’s house on January 8, but they escaped and eventually returned to Bangladesh.[93]

Injuries to Rumi Akhter Nipa, a 12-year-old girl

On October 4, 2009, Rumi, a resident of Nawdapara village in Kurigram district, ate her usual meal of rice and vegetables at around 8 a.m. and then went to school at 9 a.m. According to the 12-year-old, when she reached school in the morning, none of her classmates were present. The teacher asked her to go fetch her friends so that classes could start. It was Ramadan,[94] so the girls had probably been delayed.

Rumi found her friends at a pond near the border, between international pillars no. 1063 and 1064. They were bathing in the pond. Rumi’s maternal aunt Rubi, whose house is in that area, was also present. Rumi said:

My friends Sheuli, Mina, Mousumi, Shilpi, and couple of other classmates and friends were bathing in the pond. My aunt Rubi, whose house is in that area, was there as well. On our way back to the school, suddenly I felt as if I had been hit by a stone. It was tingling, sharp pain on my right thigh. When I told my aunt about the stone, she brushed it off saying that it was nothing serious. But soon my dress started to turn crimson. My aunt became a little worried and she checked my thigh and screamed, “You have been shot.”[95]

Rubi called out to her son Faruk who was working nearby. He had heard the shots earlier, but he thought the sound had come from the Indian side of the border. He rushed when his mother called him, and found his cousin, Rumi, had fallen down, with her clothes drenched in blood. He immediately looked across the border, but he could see no BSF personnel there. He then rushed Rumi to the hospital.[96]

According to Subedar Abul Kalam Azad, the BDR first learned of the incident when they saw a group of angry villagers at the hospital where Rumi had been brought. The villagers said that two rounds were fired by the Shapara BSF members at Chadnichawk on the Indian side of the border into Nawdapara on the Bangladeshi side.[97]

Outraged by this apparently indiscriminate shooting, the BDR contacted Shahpara BSF camp. Two flag meetings were held. On October 5, 2009, in the morning at 10 a.m, there was a meeting of camp level officials. On October 7, at 11 a.m. there was a meeting of Battalion commanders. At the flag meetings, the BSF apologized profusely for the incident. On October 7, at the commander level meeting, BSF Commander Brajesh, who was in charge of the 151 Battalion of Shahpara Camp apologized again and said that the person or persons responsible would be identified and punished.[98]

Attacks on Indian Nationals

According to MASUM, hundreds of Indian nationals have been killed by the BSF inside Indian territory, including in West Bengal state where we conducted our investigations. These are some recent cases that were investigated by MASUM in collaboration with Human Rights Watch for this report. These cases provide evidence that the BSF, in addition to its attacks on Bangladeshi citizens, is responsible for grave human rights violations against Indian nationals. The cases also show that there is no accountability for these abuses.

Killing of Basirun Bibi and Baby Ashique

On May 4, 2010, Basirun Bibi and her six-month-old grandson were killed when the BSF opened fire at Dakshin Dhadial village in Coochbehar district. The BSF opened fire after an altercation with the villagers.

The violence occurred due to ongoing tension between villagers and BSF personnel because of the border fencing by Indian authorities. As already noted above, because the fence is several kilometers inside Indian territory, villagers often have to pass through to access their land. The BSF requires them to submit their identity cards at the border post if they want to approach the area beyond the fence, towards the border. The cards are restored once they cross back. This is to prevent illegal immigration by Bangladeshi nationals.

Early in the morning on the day Bibi and Ashique were killed, a villager named Salam Ali submitted his papers and signed his name in the BSF register before taking his cattle for grazing beyond the fence. But personnel belonging to the BSF’s 113th Battalion later asked him to return, saying that permission had been revoked. Salim Ali was joined by other villagers who all gathered to protest against the BSF’s restrictions. There was a scuffle. A BSF officer then ordered that his men open fire to contain the protesters in what appears to be disproportionate use of lethal force. Six persons were injured by bullets. Basirun Bibi was shot in the chest, while her grandson was shot in the head. Both were taken to the hospital along with others injured in the firing. Ashique was dead on arrival, while Basirun Bibi later died in hospital.[99]

Two cases of unnatural death were registered at the Tufanganj police station. A police complaint was also lodged against the BSF by Salam Ali. The BSF, in turn, have lodged a complaint of rioting against the villagers at the same police station. MASUM has filed a written complaint to the NHRC but as of this writing is yet to receive a response.[100]

Killing of Atiur Rahman

Atiur Rahman, a businessman of Puthiya (Jamtala) village, had gone to visit his aunt who lives close to the Indo-Bangladesh border on March 21, 2010. He was accompanied by his cousin, Rahabul Sheikh. They were returning at around 9 p.m. when they were stopped by two BSF soldiers, both from the E Company of the 105th Battalion. While Rahabul Sheikh managed to run away, Atiur Rahman was shot dead. Marks on his body suggested that he had been beaten before he was shot. The body was recovered near the Bangladesh border in Murshidabad district.[101]

That night, according to Atiur’s father, Mesher Ali: “We heard that someone had been shot. It was still before the call for morning prayers. We were worried, so I sent my other son to check… My son saw the body. It was his brother.”[102]

The BSF initially refused to let family members view the body. But later, when they were finally permitted, they saw that Atiur Rahman had been brutally tortured, his arms twisted and broken. His uncle Alauddin Biswas, who saw the body as the police removed it, said that Rahman must have been shot point-blank in his forehead, as he lay on the ground. The bullet had pierced his head and was recovered from where it was embedded below in the soil. He was also shot in the abdomen. Alauddin Biswas said:

I went to see the body. It was lying 5-6 kilometers away from our house. There were police and politicians. We all saw that the BSF had shot him while he was lying on his back. They had shot him in the forehead and the bullet had pierced through and was lying a few inches inside the ground. If he was running away, he would have been shot in the back. They just killed him… We have no idea why he was killed… We know about the curfew. People are not allowed to roam around after dark. But why did they have to kill him? They could have arrested him if they thought he was a smuggler.[103]

The Company Commander of the BSF’s 105th Battalion stated in his complaint to the police that, while on patrol:

Constable Sunil Kumar observed 10-15 smugglers along with about six cattle heads coming from the India side and going towards the Bangladesh side. He also saw a shadow of a smuggler nearby as such he physically apprehended him. The remaining smugglers tried to free the apprehended smuggler by attacking and encircling patrolling party and they managed to get him free. They also tried to snatch Constable Sunil Kumar’s weapons, however, they could not do so. The patrolling party challenged the smugglers to stop but the smugglers [sic] party threatened and encircled the patrolling party. During the course of fighting Constable Sunil Kumar sustained minor injuries on his right arm and left leg. The butt of his rifle suffered damage by the dah [scythe] of the smuggler. Sensing imminent danger to his own life and in self-defense of his life, Constable Sunil Kumar fired two rounds from his rifle…. Resultantly … Atiur Rehman … sustained bullet injuries on his forehead and back and died on the spot. There are no reports of casualties or injuries of other smugglers or any BSF personnel. On firing, the remaining smugglers along with the cattle heads ran towards Dihipara village in India ….[104]

Atiur Rahman’s father has lodged a murder complaint against the police, citing bullet injuries that show that his son was lying on his back on the ground when he was shot, and that there were injuries on the body resulting from the torture that was inflicted before he was killed. No investigation has followed.

Killing of Shahjahan Gazi

Eighteen-year-old Shahjahan Gazi, of 24 North Parganas district, was involved in smuggling. On November 10, 2009, he left his home, telling his family that he was going away to work. The next morning, he turned up, badly injured, at the home of Panchanan Sarkar, who lives at the edge of the border in Dobila.

Shahjahan told Sarkar that he was caught by BSF personnel at around 1:30 a.m. He said he was beaten mercilessly, and the soldiers probably left him thinking he was dead. But he regained consciousness and managed to drag himself to the nearest house. By that time, other villagers had gathered at Sarkar’s house and they arranged for a vehicle to take Shahjahan to the hospital. However, before they could leave, at around 11 a.m., some BSF personnel arrived and said that they would arrange for Shahjahan’s treatment and took him into custody.[105]

The villagers, meanwhile, informed Shahjahan’s family and they rushed to the district hospital in Basirhat. They found that the BSF had already reached the hospital at around 1:30 p.m. and that Shahjahan was dead when the BSF brought him in.

Since Shahjahan was alive when handed into BSF custody, the villagers went to the police station to file a murder complaint. The police lodged a First Information Report (FIR)[106] based on a complaint filed by Afsar Gazi, Shahjahan’s father. According to the FIR, the BSF—instead of heading to the hospital—took Shahjahan to the Dobila camp, where he was beaten to death.[107]

However, when MASUM contacted the Investigating Officer Kartik Chandra Mandal, a sub-inspector at the Swarupnagar police station, he said that he contacted the BSF, but could not verify the identity of the personnel who may have been responsible. He also admitted that he was helpless and could not take any action against the BSF.[108] At the inquest, it was revealed that the postmortem conducted by government doctors had found severe injuries on the victim’s arm and back.

Because Shahjahan was Muslim, MASUM also lodged a written complaint with the National Minorities Commission.[109] As of this writing, there has been no progress in this case.

Killing of Noor Hossain, a 17-year-old boy

Noor Hossain, 17, was killed on the banks of River Padma by BSF personnel on September 1, 2009. MASUM investigations revealed that the boy, a resident of Brahmaottar village in Murshidabad district, belonged to a very poor family and used to engage in cattle smuggling.[110]

Witnesses said that when they heard loud voices and shouting, they ran to the river. They saw that Noor Hossain was being beaten mercilessly by BSF personnel and lay groaning on the ground, pleading for his life.[111] But the BSF kept hitting him, and then fired two shots. Said his uncle Mustafa Sheikh:

We did not even know he had gone out. We thought he was sleeping…. At around 10:45 p.m. or so, I heard gun shots. I thought to myself, ‘They have gone and killed someone again.’ Around half an hour later, maybe around 11: 15 or so, there was a sound again. That is when they shot at it his body. After he had died, they shot him in the back… The bullet exited from the side, not through his body…. Then we heard people calling out…. They said that Noor Hossain had been killed. I ran, but the soldiers would not let us go near…. When finally the police arrived, they let us go near. I saw marks on him. He had been badly beaten.[112]

The next morning, the body was sent for autopsy. The BSF lodged a police complaint and submitted farming implements, sticks, and two cows that were recovered near the body. P. Bodhra, a Company Commander in the BSF’s 105th Battalion told the police that that Noor Hossain, a smuggler, had been killed by BSF personnel.[113]

On September 5, MASUM staff accompanied Noor Hossain’s father and brother, Jerman and Salim Sheikh, to the police station to lodge a complaint. Police officer Kanun Mondal read the report, but returned it to Salim Sheikh saying that he could not take any steps against the BSF. The Sheikhs waited for two hours until the Officer-in-Charge, Dulal Biswas, turned up at the police station. The complaint was handed to Dulal Biswas. He read the whole report and then rebuked Noor Hossain’s relatives, saying that the boy had been justifiably killed by the BSF when he was caught smuggling.[114]

Mustafa Sheikh told Human Rights Watch that the police have recommended the family stop pursuing the case. “They say, ‘Why do you bother? What will happen to the BSF? Nothing can happen to the BSF. The BSF will say that the 24 kilometer border area is under their control.’”[115]

MASUM repeatedly asked the police about their investigation into BSF excesses in this case, but to no avail. The group than sent a written complaint to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, but is yet to receive a response.[116]

Family members said that they have never been summoned to testify before a BSF court of inquiry, which indicates that no internal investigation was done to check if the soldiers had deliberately killed someone in their custody.

Killing of Shyamsundar Mondal

Shyamsundar Mondal was killed on August 22, 2009, in Murshidabad. The BSF claimed that its personnel based in the Rajanagar camp had shot and killed him in an encounter with smugglers at around 7 p.m. at Dadur Ghat, on the banks of the Padma River.

The family had lost their land due to erosion, and Shyamsundar Mondal, according to his family members, had apparently taken to cattle smuggling to earn a living. According to eyewitnesses who were with Mondal but did not wish to be identified, BSF personnel from the 191st Battalion caught the smugglers while they were taking the cows into Bangladesh and immediately opened fire without warning. One of the bullets struck Shyamsundar in the back, and he instantly fell down. His associates, believing him to be injured, first started dragging him along as they escaped. But later, realizing that he was dead, they left his body in a jute field and ran away.[117]

The police, along with family members, recovered the body on August 23, and it was taken for autopsy. The police registered a case of unnatural death. On the same day, S.R. Chowdhury, the Assistant Commandant of the BSF, filed a police complaint against 40 to 45 unknown smugglers and said that two rounds had been fired to stop them in their activities.[118] The BSF also handed over four buffaloes that had been seized during the operation.[119]

When Ramesh Chandra Mondal, the father of the victim, initially told the police that he wanted to lodge a complaint against the BSF for killing his son, the officer at the Raninagar police station said that it would be of little use, since Shyamsundar was killed while committing a crime. However, with the assistance of MASUM, Mondal did lodge a written complaint, saying that his son was shot without warning by BSF soldiers, citing the bullet injury which suggested that the victim was not in an attacking position when he was shot.[120] The police registered a criminal case, but as of this writing, there has been no investigation or arrest.[121]

MASUM sent a complaint to the NHRC, but is yet to receive a response.[122]

Killing of Sushanta Mondal, a 13-year-old boy

According to Panchanan Mondal, his 13-year-old son, Sushanta Mondal, was brutally killed by the BSF on July 13, 2009. Sushanta lived with his family in a village almost adjacent to the Bangladesh border in Murshidabad district. The village, called Borderpara, sits on the Padma river, and that day, Sushanta, along with his friends, Prosenjit and Pintu Mondal, went to swim in the river. Several other villagers were also there at the time, and they later informed Panchanan Mondal of his son’s death.

My son had gone to the river as usual along with his two friends. Some BSF personnel approached them on a speed boat and attacked the boys without any provocation. While the other boys managed to swim away, my son could not get away. The BSF men kept circling my son with their boat, and probably injured him with the propellers. I think they did it deliberately…. He eventually drowned. We tried to rescue his body, but in vain. However, his dead body emerged out of water on July 14, at around 12 a.m. I, along with other villagers, refused to hand over the body for post-mortem until the police lodged a complaint against the BSF personnel. [123]

After calming the protesting villagers, the police took the body and sent it for autopsy. However, despite promising to investigate the role of the BSF, the police took no action against them. “It was evident from the injuries on my son’s dead body that his death occurred due to injuries inflicted upon him by the BSF speed boats. Yet, no one is willing to bring those BSF personnel perpetrators to justice,” said Mondal. [124]

Killing of Abdus Samad

Saying that they suspected 35-year-old Abdus Samad of smuggling, several BSF personnel, led by Commander P. Vodra, forcibly entered his mud hut in the village of Biswanathpur in Murshidabad district on May 5, 2009. Abdus Samad did not live in the village, but worked as a day-laborer in Kolkata. However, he had come home after his wife delivered twin sons, to help take care of the family. Rimi Bewa, his wife, said that the BSF soldiers were harsh and abusive:

We were asleep when the BSF came at around 3 a.m. We have a broken door. We heard footsteps. They entered through the door. One of them kicked me and asked, ‘Where is your husband?’ They kicked me and used verbal abuses…. My husband woke up and immediately the BSF personnel started to beat him in front of our children with rifle butts, boots, and sticks. Then they tied his hands on his back and dragged him outside the house, still beating him… I was scared and ran after them pleading that they stop beating my husband, but they ignored me. Hearing me screaming, some neighbours came out of their house. They also asked those BSF personnel to stop. The men threatened them too with their guns. We saw him being dragged off. He was shouting. He was bleeding.[125]

Abdus Samad’s body was later found in the field and was taken to the BSF camp. Next morning, Rimi, accompanied by her husband’s brother Abdul Hakim and a village council leader, went to the police to complain about the assault, abduction, and killing of Abdus Samad. The police initially refused to register a complaint against the BSF and only complied when village leaders intervened. Later, the police informed the family that the BSF had registered a complaint with the police, claiming that he was arrested for trafficking heroin, and had died in custody because he had suffered a heart attack. [126]

The BSF apparently tried to persuade the local hospital authorities to support their claim of a heart attack. However, Dr. Goutam Ghosh, superintendent of the hospital told MASUM: “I had prepared myself to conduct the post-mortem but after observing few abnormalities, injuries on the body, I decided not to proceed with the post-mortem.” [127] He sent the body instead for autopsy by more senior doctors at the Behrampore New General Hospital.

Mr. P. Vodra, the BSF Commander, who according to eyewitnesses was present when Abdus Samad was detained, later told MASUM:

Abdus Samad was arrested with heroin near the Indo-Bangladesh border by constables Prahlad Roy and Ran Riyauddin. He was transferred to the Ramnagar BSF Camp as their camp didn’t have adequate facilities in which to detain a person. However, Samad became ill in custody as was duly treated at the Ramnagar camp and referred to Bhagabangola Hospital. I don’t have any knowledge how he died. [128]

Rimi Bewa insists that the BSF is always abusive, and they had no reason to suspect her husband. “My husband did not even live in the village,” she said:

He worked as a migrant laborer… The BSF is like this. They come and always ask who does cattle smuggling. They abuse the women. People go to defecate in the fields. But in the evening, after 7 p.m. the BSF is patrolling and they stop us. They want shops to shut. They beat us up, and say, ‘we have the power to do so.’ This BSF abuse has ruined our peace of mind. [129]

Killing of Sanjit Mondal, a 17-year-old boy

Sanjit Mondal was cycling back to his house on March 24, 2009, when he was asked to stop by BSF soldiers. According to his father, Bhabani Mondal, the soldiers from the 105 th Battalion of the BSF then beat up the 17-year-old and shot him in cold blood in front of numerous witnesses:

It must have been about 6 p.m. in the evening. The BSF is always there, because we live close to the border. My house is on the main path, so I saw the BSF pass by like every other day, from our front door. My son had gone to the shop close by. He was coming back when the BSF asked him to stop. ‘Come here,’ they said in Hindi. My son said, ‘I have to go. I have to feed the cattle.’ At this soldiers started beating him. My son was shouting, ‘Why are you hitting me? I am not a thief.’ This was happening in the village. Someone came running and told me, ‘BSF is beating your son.’ I ran out. He was just 10 yards away. In front of me, I saw the soldier shoot my son… We were standing there in shock. The soldiers told everyone to go inside, warning, ‘We will shoot anyone who comes out.’ I went to the house…. An officer, may be the commander, came and they dragged my son off the road. Then they surrounded my house. We were very scared. They called me out. The police was also there. They said, ‘Your son is a thief…’ I have 39 cows. What is the need for my son to be a thief? They just left his body lying by the street. They refused to let me move it. [130]

MASUM lodged a complaint to the Governor of West Bengal, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the Director General of the BSF, and the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police in Murshidabad. It has not received a response from any of them.

Killing of Shibajit Mondal

Shibajit Mondal, a 28-year-old resident of Char Rajanagar village in Murshidabad, was smuggling cattle around midnight on March 14, 2009. According to his associates, four soldiers of the BSF’s 90th Battalion came upon the smugglers. Without warning they started shooting at them. Shibajit Mondal and his associates were not carrying any weapons and thus did not pose a threat to the life or safety of the BSF soldiers.[131]

Shibajit Mondal was shot in the abdomen and brought to the Raninagar police station before being taken to the Behrampore New General Hospital. He was later transferred to a bigger hospital in Kolkata where he died of his injuries on March 30, 2009. The police registered the incident as a case of unnatural death, and investigations showed that Shibajit had been shot in an armed encounter with the BSF. Mondal’s family members filed a murder complaint against the BSF, but no investigation followed.[132]

MASUM also sent a written complaint to NHRC.[133] Based on its complaint, the NHRC sent a notice to the central Home Ministry which has operational control over the BSF. In June 2010, MASUM received a communiqué from an Under Secretary of the Home Ministry stating that a copy of a report from the BSF had been submitted to the NHRC on May 19, 2010. However, the NHRC has since not taken action or responded directly to MASUM.[134]

Killing of Peparul Sheikh, a 16-year-old boy

Peparul Sheikh, a resident of the village of Chakmathura in Murshidabad district, was shot dead by three BSF personnel of the 90th Battalion on February 19, 2009. Sixteen-year-old Peparul was with his cousin Aminul Islam when they saw the BSF constables helping smugglers push through some 30-40 cows into Bangladesh. Fearing that this large herd of cattle would damage the standing crop in the field, the two boys tried to chase the cattle away. Atahar Rahman, Aminul Islam’s father, said:

We have some farming land near the border and have to take BSF permission to go to the fields and tend our crops. That day my son Aminul Islam and his cousin Peparul Sheikh went to the farms in the evening. At around 9 p.m., my son said that they noticed that some smugglers along with three BSF constables were trying to smuggle 30-40 cattle to Bangladesh through a border outpost which is situated in our farming land. This kind of smuggling is quite regular in those areas. However, the two boys were scared that our crops would be seriously damaged due to the movement of cattle, so they tried to chase the cows away. But that meant that they had interfered with the smuggling. Those BSF personnel and smugglers ignored the boys and accomplished their job.[135]

According to Atahar Rahman, as soon as the cattle had been smuggled safely across the border, the BSF personnel started chasing the boys. While Aminul managed to flee, he saw his cousin Peparul being caught by the soldiers who beat him with their rifles, boots, and wooden sticks. Then one of the soldiers shot the teenager in the chest. When the family later saw the body, they found that the bullet had been shot at such close range that it went through his body and entered several centimetres deep into the soil. [136]

The next day, Atahar Rahman went to the police to report the murder of his nephew by the BSF, but they refused to lodge a complaint. When MASUM contacted the BSF, an officer said that Peparul was a cattle smuggler and on the day of incident, a cow was also seized from him. [137]

Indiscriminate Shooting of Mrityunjoy Mondal

Mrityunjoy Mondal, a resident of Char Rajpur Paschim Colony in Murshidabad, had stepped out into the fields to defecate in the early hours of June 23, 2009. Mrityunjoy Mondal said:

Smugglers often operate in this area to take cattle through the border. That day, two BSF constables were chasing some smugglers. I saw them run through the road next to my house and hide. It was dark, so I could not see where they had gone after they ran past me. The BSF men were angry, I think, because the smugglers had got away. They started shooting. One bullet hit the tree next to me, and the other struck me in the arm. I fell down unconscious. [138]

Mrityunjoy said he does not remember what happened next, but his father, Shyamcharan Mondal told MASUM that his son was dragged by BSF constables towards the border to falsely claim that he was injured while engaged in smuggling. Mrityunjoy received injuries in his arm, and his eye was also damaged because of the attack. [139]

The BSF did not bother to check Mrityunjoy’s identity and simply assumed him to be a smuggler.[140] Assistant Commandant Bijoy Chowdhury of the Rajanagar BSF Camp told MASUM: “Mrityunjoy Mondal was associated with smugglers and on the date of the incident about 15-20 smugglers attacked the constables of the BSF outpost with sharp cutting weapons. Then constable Mr. Pappu Kumar fired at Mr. Mrityunjoy and consequently he was injured.” [141]

The family tried to file a police complaint, but the police have refused to investigate the incident.

[49]Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Section sec 46, http://www.vakilno1.com/bareacts/CrPc/s46.htm (accessed June 10, 2010). (1) In making an arrest the police officer or other person making the same shall actually touch or confine the body of the person to be arrested, unless there be it submission to the custody by word or action. (2) If such person forcibly resists the endeavour to arrest him, or attempts to evade the arrest, such police officer or other person may use all means necessary to affect the arrest. (3) Nothing in this section gives a right to cause the death of a person who is not accused of an offence punishable with death or with imprisonment for life.

[50]Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, adoptedby the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, 27 August to 7 September 1990, U.N. Doc. A/CONF.144/28/Rev.1 at 122 (1990).

[51]Human Rights Watch interview with former BSF official, details withheld.

[52]We list a fuller list of all cases documented by Odhikar since 2007 in Annexure I.

[53]Odhikar interview with Rina Khatun, Sharialjot, Panchagar, March 23, 2010.

[54]Odhikar interview with Mohammad Zahir, Mohananda River (Bangladesh side), Panchagar, March 24, 2010.

[55]Ibid.

[56]Flag meetings are held regularly between the BSF and BDR forces deployed on the ground for operational reasons or to explain actions that might otherwise lead to tensions.

[57]Odhikar interview with Mohammad Niyat Ali, Sharialjot, Panchagar, March 23, 2010.

[58]Odhikar interview with Naren Karmokar, Bishrosiya, Chapainababganj, February 24, 2010.

[59]Ibid.

[60]Odhikar interview with Mohammad Zahid, Bishrosiya, Chapainababganj, February 24, 2010.

[61]Odhikar interview with Subedar Sirajul Islam, Wahedpur BDR camp, Bishrosiya, Chapainababganj, February 24, 2010.

[62]Odhikar interview with Yameen Ali, Shibganj police station, Chapainababganj, February 24, 2010.

[63]Human Rights Watch and Odhikar interview with Surjan, Baridhaka, Meherpur, February 12, 2010.

[64]Human Rights Watch and Odhikar interview with Mohammad Ershad, Baridhaka, Meherpur, February 12, 2010.

[65] Human Rights Watch and Odhikar interview with Surjan, February 12, 2010.

[66]Human Rights Watch and Odhikar interview with Tutul, Baridhaka, Meherpur, February 12, 2010.

[67]Human Rights Watch and Odhikar interview with BDR commander, BDR camp, Rahman, February 13, 2010.

[68]Human Rights Watch and Odhikar interview with investigating police officer, Meherpur district police, February 12, 2010.

[69]Post-mortem report signed by Dr. Mizanur Rahman of Meherpur General Hospital, January 24, 2010.

[70]Human Rights Watch and Odhikar interview with Nefazudin, Baridhaka, Meherpur, February 12, 2010.

[71]Human Rights Watch and Odhikar interview with Sudebar Habibur Rahman, BDR camp, Sakolia village, Chuadanga district, February 12, 2010.

[72]Human Rights Watch and Odhikar interviewwith Kamala Khatun, Kazipur, Meherpur, February 13, 2010.

[73]Ibid.

[74]Human Rights Watch and Odhikar interview with Shahdeen Ali and other Kazipur villagers, Kazipur, Meherpur, February 13, 2010.

[75]Human Rights Watch and Odhikar interview with BDR 32nd battalion members, Kazipur BDR camp, Meherpur, February 13, 2010.

[76]Human Rights Watch and Odikar interview with BDR commander, Kazipur BDR camp, Kazipur, Meherpur, February 13, 2010.

[77]Human Rights Watch and Odikar interview with Shahidul’s family members, Kazipur, Meherpur, February 13, 2010.

[78]Human Rights Watch and Odhikar interview with Sub-Inspector Osman Goni, Ganni Police Station, Meherpur, February 13, 2010.

[79]Odhikar interview with Abdul Kaiyum, Tarapur Munnapara, Chapainababganj, February 25, 2010.

[80]Odhikar interview with Abdul Latif, Tarapur Munnapara, Chapainababganj, February 25, 2010.

[81]Odhikar interview with Maj. Nazrul Islam, 29th battalion commander, Shing Nagar border, February 25, 2010.

[82]Odhikar interview with Constable Yameen Ali, Shibganj Police Station, Chapainababganj, February 25, 2010.

[83]Odhikar interview with Masura Begum, Shamostopur, Satkhira, February 20, 2010.

[84]Ibid.

[85]Odhikar interview with Saleha Begum, Sheetalpur, Satkhira, February 20, 2010.

[86]Odhikar interview with Mosammat Fatema Begum, Uksa, Satkhira, February 20, 2010.

[87]Odhikar interview with Sub-Inspector Abdul Huq, Kaliganj  Police Station, Satkhira, February 20, 2010.

[88]Odhikar interview with Omar Faruq, Horitokidanga, Naogaon, February 26, 2010.

[89]Odhikar interview with Toriqul Alam, Horitokidanga, Naogaon, February 26, 2010.

[90]Odhikar interview with Mohammad Abu Bakar, Sonadanga, ,Naogaon, February 26, 2010.

[91]Odhikar interviews with Md. Abu Bakar and Atiq Hasan, present during the flag meeting, Sonadanga, Naogaon, February 26, 2010.

[92]Odhikar interview with Nazrul Islam,Dorjibari, Panchagar, March 25, 2010.

[93]Odhikar interview with Anwar Hossain, Dorjibari, Panchagar, March 25, 2010.

[94]Ramadan is the month the Quran was revealed. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during this sacred month.

[95]Odhikar interview with Rumi Akhter Nipa, Roumari Upazila Health Complex, Nawdapara, Kurigram, March 1, 2010.

[96]Odhikar interview with Faruk, Nawdapara, Kurigram, March 1, 2010.

[97]Odhikar interview with Subedar Abul Kalam Azad, Shapahar Police Station, Naogaon, February 26, 2010.

[98]Ibid.

[99]MASUM, fact-finding report, Coochbehar, May 14, 2010.

[100]MASUM, written complaint to NHRC, May 15, 2010.

[101]MASUM, fact-finding report, Murshidabad, April 16, 2010.

[102]Human Rights Watch interview with Meher Ali, Murshidabad, May 3, 2010.

[103]Human Rights Watch interview with Alauddin Biswas, Murshidabad, May 3, 2010.

[104]BSF complaint lodged at Raghunathgunj Police Station, Murshidabad, March 22, 2010.

[105]MASUM, fact-finding report, 24 Parganas North, November 13, 2009.

[106]The First Information Report is lodged by the police after intial findings based on a complaint suggest the need for further investigation.

[107]Based on Afsar Gazi’s complaint, the Swarupnagar Police Station lodged case no. 304/09 under section 302 of IPC on November 11, 2009.

[108]MASUM interview with Sub-Inspector Kartik Chandra Mandal, Swarupnagar Police Station, November 13, 2009.

[109]MASUM letter to National Minorities Commission, November 23, 2009. On file with Human Rights Watch.

[110]MASUM, fact-finding report, Murshidabad, September 5, 2009.

[111]MASUM, Fact-Finding Report: interviews with witnesses Mustafa Sheikh, Mukul Sheikh, Israil Sheikh, and Sabirun Islam, Murshidabad, September 2, 2009.

[112]Human Rights Watch interview with Mustafa Sheikh, Murshidabad, May 6, 2010.

[113]MASUM, fact-finding report, the BSF lodged a police complaint on September 2, 2009.

[114]MASUM, fact-finding report, Murshidabad, September 5, 2009.

[115]Human Rights Watch interview with Mustafa Sheikh, May 6, 2010.

[116]MASUM letter to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, October 7, 2009. On file with Human Rights Watch.

[117]MASUM, Factfactfinding report, Murshidabad, August 26, 2008.

[118]Police complaint lodged by S. R. Chowdhury,  Assistant Commandant, BSF at Raninagar Police Station, Murshidabad, August 23, 2009.

[119]Ibid.

[120]Police complaint by Ramesh Chandra Mondal, father of the victim, Raninagar Police Station, Murshidabad, August 25, 2009.

[121]MASUM interview with Samit Talukdar, sub-inspector of police, Raninagar Police Station,investigating officer in both the criminal cases i.e. case no. 486/09 dated August 23, 2009 based on the BSF complaint and case no. 492/09 dated August 25, 2009 based on complaint by Ramesh Chandra Mondal, father of the victim, Murshidabad, October 21, 2009.

[122]MASUM letter to the National Human Rights Commission, October 21, 2009. On file with Human Rights Watch.

[123]MASUM interview with Panchanan Mondal, Murshidabad, July 14, 2009.

[124]Human Rights Watch interview with Panchanan Mondal, Murshidabad, May 4, 2010.

[125]Human Rights Watch interview with Rimi Bewa, Murshidabad, May 3, 2010.

[126]MASUM, fact-finding report, Murshidabad, May 12, 2009.

[127]MASUM interview with Dr. Gautom Ghosh, Bhagabangola Hospital, Murshidabad, May 9, 2009.

[128]MASUM interview with P. Vodra, DMC, BSF Border Outpost Camp, Murshidabad, May 9, 2009.

[129]Human Rights Watch interview with Rimi Bewa, Murshidabad, May 3, 2010.

[130]Human Rights Watch interview with Bhabtani Mondal, Murshidabad, May 4, 2010.

[131]MASUM, fact-finding report, March 15, 2009; International Secretariat of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), Case IND 231009, “Killing/ Lack of a proper investigation/ Risk of impunity,” October 23, 2009.

[132]MASUM, fact-finding follow up, Murshidabad, September 7, 2009.

[133]MASUM, written complaint to NHRC, October 12, 2009. On file with Human Rights Watch.

[134]Letter from Home Ministry, Government of India, June 2, 2010. On file with MASUM.

[135]MASUM interview with Atahar Rahman, Godagarie, Murshidabad, February 21, 2009.

[136]Ibid.

[137]MASUM phone interview with BSF officer Kalita, Singpara Border Outpost, March 31, 2009.

[138]Human Rights Watch interview with Mrityunjoy Mondal, Murshidabad, May 4, 2010.

[139]MASUM interview with Shyamcharan Mondal, Murshidabad, June 29, 2009.

[140]Ibid.

[141]MASUM interview with Bijoy Chowdhury, Assistant Commandant, BSF, Rajanagar, June 29, 2009.