ACHR PRESS RELEASE

ACHR INDEX: PR/IND/25/2013
Date: 23 August 2013

NHRC indicts BSF for extrajudicial killing and sexual violence, MHA pays Rs 8 lakhs as compensation

New Delhi:  Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today welcomed the compensation of Rs 8 lakhs to the victims of arbitrary killings by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel following directions of the Nationnal Human Rights Commission (NHRC). On 30 November 2010, the BSF jawans shot dead Khoka Mia when he was trying to defend his daughter Ms Tulu Aktar from being molestation by the BSF jawans, while two sons of the deceased i.e. Mr Abdul Kalam and Mr Badhsa Mia were injured in the firing at Amzadnagar, Belonia, South Tripura. 

Asian Centre for Human Rights filed a complaint with the NHRC on 1 December 2010 against these violations by the BSF.

The Tripura Police registered FIR No. 282/10 against the BSF personnel for offences under Section 302/376/341/511/326 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. However, police could not arrest the accused as the BSF authorities refused to handover the accused.  The Tripura police subsequently filed a charge-sheet for offences u/s 341/376/511/325/302/34 IPC against three BSF personnel in the Court of the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Belonia, on the 30th April 2012. 

On the refusal of cooperation by the BSF with the judicial magistrate, the NHRC stated “It is a sorry state of affairs that where women’s rights are violated by Armed Forces, the senior officers of the Armed Forces are declining even to cooperate with the process issued by the Court.” 

Mr Yadvendra Singh, Deputy Inspector General (Operations) of the BSF in his letter dated 24 March 2011 to the NHRC stated that the Staff Court of Inquiry conducted by the BSF had established that there was no substance in the allegation of attempt to commit rape of Ms Tulu Akhtar and further that the BSF enjoyed immunity under the BSF Act of 1968 and Section45 of the Criminal Procedure Code for discharging official duty. 

The NHRC held that “Molestation, attempt to rape etc are not the offences committed by the person in the dis-charge of his duties. Looking to the circumstances narrated by the investigating agency, it cannot be said that the constable while in discharge of his duty fired his weapon on the deceased.” 

The NHRC further held that “The Commission notes that the Staff Court of Inquiry held by the BSF has already absolved them. It has found that this is almost invariably the case with BSF Courts of Inquiry, staffed by junior officers, whose primary concern seems to be to protect their colleagues rather than to uphold the law.” 

The NHRC thereafter recommended payment of compensation and the Ministry of Home Affairs had accepted the recommendations and paid compensation of Rs. 2 lakhs to Tulu Aktar, Rs. 5 lakhs to the next of kin of the deceased Khoka Mia and Rs. 50,000/- each to Abdul Kalam and Badhsa Mia. 

“This is a classic case of treatment of cases of violence against women by the Indian security forces where all attempts are made to protect the culprits. The NHRC must not close the case until the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India complies with the directions already issued by the NHRC to inform the Commission about steps that Government will take to ensure that these three BSF personnel are tried for the crimes that they are suspected of having committed.”- stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights. [Ends]