BSF personnel brutally torture Muslim man in custody, HR activist moves rights body

Kolkata, May 24, 2023 (PPI-OT): Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel brutally tortured a 30-year-old Muslim Johirul Islam in custody in the Indian state of West Bengal. The BSF personnel arrested Johirul Islam, a 30-year-old Muslim, from his house and brutally tortured him in their custody in Sahebganj city. The details of the incident emerged after rights activist Kirity Roy wrote a letter to the Indian National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), seeking an independent and non-partisan investigation of the incident which occurred on 21 February this year.

The incident occurred at Purba Sahebganj Border Out Post, Battalion number 129, and the Company Commander Bijay Kumar was involved in the torture. The victim’s family lodged a complaint with the Sahebganj Police Station, but the concerned police did not register any case against the perpetrators. This violation of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Apex Court guidelines has been reported by the Secretary of MASUM (Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha and National Convener of PACTI (Programme Against Custodial Torture and Impunity), Kirity Roy. The torture was so severe that Johirul is still unable to walk properly due to severe pain in the lower back portion of his body, he added.

The family of Johirul is very poor, and he is the only earning member of the family. As a result of the torture, he is now unable to work, and his family’s livelihood is in jeopardy. “The incident violated Article 6 (Right to work) and Article 9 (Right to social security) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). It also violates Goal number 16 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to provide access to justice for all,” Roy said in his letter.

“The incident reflects the entrenched impunity in the criminal justice system and systemic attack on religious minorities, especially Muslims by public officials,” he said. Roy has demanded that BSF should be posted in the actual borders and not inside the villages. He has also demanded that proceedings should be initiated against the perpetrators from the BSF and the police and strict punishment should be given if found guilty. Adequate compensation for the victim and his family from the pocket of the perpetrator BSF personnel should also be provided, according to Roy’s letter.

Moreover, directions should be given to the Sahebganj Police Station to register a case based on the written complaint of the victim and issue the FIR copy to the informant and start impartial investigation in respect. The safety and security of the victim and his family members must also be ensured. Roy pointed out that this incident highlights the need for the government to take immediate and appropriate action to prevent such incidents from happening in the future and to ensure that justice is served for the victims.

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