29 March 2019
National Human Rights Commission,
Manav Adhikar Bhawan,
Block-C, GPO Complex, INA,
New Delhi- 110023
This complaint has a content of individual nature as well in depiction of overall subjugation and illegitimate restriction over section of population at Indo- Bangladesh bordering area of West Bengal by the Border Security Force personnel. The harassment and subjugations are being caused by the Border Security Force personnel attached with Char Bhadra Border Outpost (Camp) and Farajipara Outpost of Battalion Number 43 under the jurisdiction of Jalangi police station under Murshidabad district. The BSF personnel are regularly torturing the villagers and restricting their legitimate movement.
Poor and marginalized community of Char Parashpur village under Jalangi police station area in Murshidabad district of West Bengal are suffering due to the illegitimate restriction on their livelihood activities from the Border Security Force personnel of mentioned BSF units. The victims are being affected by the continuous restrictions by the BSF personnel on their agrarian activities as well as fishing. They lodged applications to the different governmental officials urging a suitable solution on these illegitimate restrictions upon livelihood activities but no step has been taken. Our fact-finding revealed violation of basic rights enshrined by Constitution of India and breach of international humanitarian guarantees became common phenomena.
In a proving instance Mr. Madhab Kumar Haldar, son of Mr. Surendra Kumar Haldar resides at Toltoli village, Post-Muradpur Arji, Police Station-Jalangi is a poor man belongs to fishermen community under Schedule Caste category. River Padma was used to flow at Indo- Bangladesh bordering areas of Murshidabad but continued spates of river erosions changed its original route; causes devastation in agrarian life as gentry lost their agricultural land and displaced from their native for consecutive occasions. Fishermen community used to reside in the river banks and largely depended upon catching and selling of variety of fishes, snail and crabs but now lost their traditional livelihood option as very existence of the River Padma is vanished from the locality.
For this poor fellow, Mr. Madhab Kumar Haldar like many others from fishermen community, change in river course became fatal as catching of fish and its sell is not possible so the livelihood for them is in brink of extinction. This natural calamity of river erosion forced him to become a small vendor, purchasing fish from wholesalers of Jalangi market and selling the commodity to different locations of the area; especially the alluvial lands emerged, locally known as Char. He uses a cycle to carry 15-20 kilogram of fish and used to sell fish at Char Parashpur regularly. Char Parashpur is a new settlement of the villagers of Parashpur, which was eroded in spates of erosion of Padma. Numerous Chars, the alluvial plane have been emerged in the lower Gangetic basin due to constant river erosion. Madhab used to sale his fishes in Char Parashpur and other adjoining villages of the locality and faces hindrances and restrictions by posted BSF. Madhab obtained the ‘mandatory’ permission from BSF Commandant to sell fish at the mentioned area but all of a sudden the BSF Commandant restricted his frequency of visit to the Char Parashpur and other adjoining villages for thrice in a week. This curtailment in days of Madhab’s financial activity exposed him to further destitution. Positioning of BSF well inside the Indian territory and their whimsical restriction of movements through Outpost number 5 under Farajipara BOP causes immense difficulties to carry out regular livelihood activity of Madhab and many others alike. On 5.2.2019 Mr. Madhab Kumar Haldar went to submit a written application to the Block Development Officer (BDO) of Jalangi and wish to request for a solution but the BDO refused to accept his application, so next day he sent his application through registered post. On 5.2.2019 he sent his application through registered post to the Superintendent of Police; Murshidabad.
Border Security Force (BSF) in this region maintain a self proclaimed system to enter- exit through the BOP to reach the vast Indian lands; agrarian and dwellings. Farajipara Border Outpost (BOP) is 3-4 kilometer inside the actual international border while Char Bhadra BOP is around 5 kilometers inside the Indian territory. The posted BSF personnel used to take away the identity proofs such as Epic from the villagers who have to reach the vast stretch of Indian land beyond the BOP for many occupational, livelihood and social requirements.
Villagers of Char Parashpur, facing the illegitimate restrictions imposed by Battalion number 43 of Farajipara BOP opted for lawful protest and submitted a mass petition to the District Magistrate, Murshidabad and Superintendent of Police, Murshidabad on 11.02.2019. 84 signatories representing families, narrated the situation through this petition and questioned BSF’s illegalities and breach on their agrarian and other occupational activities.
The scenario of Char Parashpur and shrinking livelihood option of poor Madhab Kumar Haldar reveal the vulnerability of the bordering people in this part of Murshidabad.
The arbitrary actions and whimsical restrictions imposed by the BSF are not only challenging their life and livelihood but also violating the Article 21 and Article 19 of the Constitution of India which reads as “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law” and “All citizens shall have the rights to move freely throughout the territory of India” respectively and Article 12 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Government of India ratified the said UN instrument.
Hence I request your urgent intervention in this matter with the following demands:-
- BSF personnel must be positioned and stationed at the actual Indo- Bangladesh border
- Mr. Madhab Kumar Haldar and others must be permitted to perform their financial activities without any unnecessary restrictions.
- The BSF authority must be directed to protect the interest of the villagers living at the border nearing villages
- Unrestricted movements for the villagers must be ensured.
- Villagers should be allowed to cultivate their own agricultural lands and sell their goods freely and without any unreasonable restriction
- Protect the life and livelihood and freedom of movement of the poor villagers from whimsical and outrageous dictum by BSF
- BSF should follow the decisions taken in the meeting with BSF and NHRC on 16-17 February, 2012
- The Commission must initiate an independent investigation over the continuance of illegal restriction to access the agrarian lands by BSF and erratic fencing throughout the Indo- Bangladesh border in West Bengal
National Convener- PACTI