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Misleading and ill-conceived legal notice and arbitrary restriction by BSF

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), represents to the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission on misleading and ill conceived legal notice and arbitrary restriction by BSF:
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Through this complaint, I want to attract your kind attention to another incident of BSF restriction upon the daily activities of the bordering village people. The Border Security Force personnel associated with Mahisgaon Border out Post, ‘E’ Company, 72 Battalion obstructed and restricted the movements of the local populace. Through promulgation of Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code issued by local administration as prayed by BSF; misconceived BSF termed as ‘Curfew’ and residents of those areas are under panic. People of the area are not allowed to enter the villages by using the IBBR road beside CPWD.
About 5000 people reside in the Paharpur, Mahishagaon, and Keshabpur villages. Out of the total population, 70 percent of the villagers belong to Muslim Other Backward Class and other 30 percent from Hindu Scheduled Caste (Dalit) backgrounds. The main occupation of the villagers is agriculture. The distance between the border fence and the International Border Pillar (IBP) is about 350 meters. There is no ration shop in the village. One primary school (Sarba Siksha Kendra) is located in the village. There is PWD (Keshabpur/Mahishagaon) road in the village.
Paharpur, Mahishagaon and Keshabpur village is a bordering village of the Indo-Bangladesh border situated under the jurisdiction of Choi Nagar Gram Panchyat and Hemtabad Block and Hemtabad Police Station in the district of North Dinajpur. Here most of the people are Muslims and farmers from the minority community. About 2000 bigha of agricultural land is there. Farmers and villagers of Paharpur, Mohisagaon and Keshabpur villages are always terrified of the activities of BSF personnel. They always place illegal and arbitrary restrictions upon the life and livelihood of the villagers.
These whimsical actions and arbitrary restriction imposed by the Border Security Force personnel posted at Paharpur, Mahishagaon and Keshabpur villages is not only challenging their life and livelihood but also violating the Article 21 and Article 19 of the Constitution of India and Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The plight of the villagers and denial of their proper livelihood practices is against the Articles 7 and 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) as well as the goal number 8 and 16 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In all these international instruments, the Government of India is a party and has taken pledge to adhere with.
The villagers of the three villages jointly complained to the DM Uttar Dinajpur and BDO, Hemtabad Block, Hemtabad Uttar Dinajpur. They complained of --
1. the BSF has restricted their movements within 8 km of the border area
2. BSF has prohibited the villagers to transport food grains, cattle, petroleum products, or any other products, section 144 was issued by them, so common people like farmers, rickshaw pullers, toto drivers, laborers and workers are facing difficulties to continue their livelihood. It is difficult to bring essential goods and livelihood is hindered.
Following are the names and details of some of the victim villagers, whose movements were restricted by the BSF:–
Other victims who were restricted by BSF:
On 09.09.2022 the people of Paharpur village jointly submitted one letter complaining of the above stated situation to the Block Development Officer, Hemtabad Block and to the District Magistrate, North Dinajpur and prayed for taking proper action. But till date no action has been taken by the concerned district and block administration. The incident is a clear violation of Articles 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution and Goal No 16 of Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations General Assembly to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. The incident is also against the Article 12 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The villagers of Paharpur, Mohisagaon and Keshabpur have rights guaranteed in Article 2 of ICCPR, which were not entertained.
Hence, I request your urgent intervention in this matter with the following demands: -
  • The border security force personnel should be posted at zero point and not inside villages.
  • The whole matter should be inquired by one neutral authority, appointed by the Commission.
  • Adequate measures should be directed to be taken by the authorities concerned to hear and consider the problems of the villagers in a fair, just and reasonable manner and to sort out a reasonable and legitimate solution to their problems.
  • The gates must be opened for 12 hours a day.
  •  The BSF authorities must be directed to protect the interests of the people residing besides border fencing without imposing any unreasonable restrictions on them.
  • Wrong interpretation of legal notice must be removed.
The mass petition submitted by the victim villagers before the District Magistrate, North Dinajpur should properly be acknowledged and adequate steps should be directed to be taken on the said mass petition. CPWD must remove the illegal notice for the convenience of people to reach their farming lands without any difficulty. BSF must be directed to be posted at the actual border instead of the inner side of CPWD road or inside villages.

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