Tuesday, October 31, 2017

[IAC#RG] Rs 5,00,000 awarded as compensation to the family of extra judicially killed by BSF. A victory.

National Human Rights Commission
New Delhi, India

Case Details of File Number: 666/25/15/2014-PF

Diary Number73292
Date of Incident2/22/2014
Direction issued by the CommissionShri Kirity Roy, Secretary, MASUM through his email dated 5.5.2014 alleged that on 22.2.2014, a young boy, named Sohag Sahjee, son of Nur Islam Sahjee, aged 23 years went to Sonai River to have bath. Around the same time, a boy was trying to smuggle few things on a bicycle through the river, however, the BSF personnel all of a sudden, started pelting stones on Sohag Sahjee, who was taking bath in the river. As the stones hit the deceased on his head and shoulder, he started struggling for breath. The uncle of the Sohag Sahjee, Nur Hussain Sahjee tried to rush towards him to save his life, but he was prevented from doing so by BSF personnel by pointing guns towards him. Later on, Sohag Sahjee died as a result of drowning. The BSF personnel fled from the spot and the villagers fished out his body. This incident was also witnessed by many villagers. On the complaint of Nur Hussain Sahjee, the uncle of deceased, a case crime No.133/2014 was registered at P.S. Swarupnagar u/s 302/34 IPC against two unknown BSF personnel. The Commission took cognizance of the complaint and sought a report from Director General, BSF and SP, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal. Pursuant to the directions of the Commission, Under Secretary to the Govt. of India, Ministry of Home Affairs vide letter dated 2nd September, 2014 forwarded the report of Shri Pardeep Katyal, DIG (Ops) B, Directorate General, BSF dated 29.8.2014. According to the report, the incident took place on 22.2.2014, in the area falling under the responsibility of Border Out Post (BOP), Hakimpur in general area of Fakir para. At about 1445 hours, the BSF Party observed movement of four smugglers on bicycles, who wanted to cross the river Sonai from India to Bangladesh. The BSF Party challenged them to stop and surrender, but they jumped into the river Sonai. Out of four smugglers, three had managed to cross over to Bangladesh side of river Sonai and managed to board a boat floating there but one of them could not board the boat due to heavy weight being carried by him, more than he could handle. Sensing that the fourth person may not board the boat and might get drowned, BSF party rushed to save him and got down into the river Sonai, but the miscreants and local population gathered on both sides of the river and started pelting stones on the BSF party using filthy and abusive language, which compelled the BSF personnel to retreat from the river to a safer place. Later on, it was learnt that the smuggler who could not board the boat had drowned and the villagers had fished out the body of the drowned smuggler from the river Sonai. The dead person was identified as Sohag Sahjee s/o Nur Islam Sahjee, r/o village Fakirpara, Hakimpur, PS Swarupnagar, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal. In this connection, an FIR No.135/14 dated 22.2.2014 was also registered at PS Swarupnagar. The report also stated that a Court of Inquiry was conducted and as per remarks of Commandant 152 Bn. BSF, Indian Smuggler Sohag Sahjee, S/o Nur Islam Sahjee, while attempting to cross the river Sonai towards Bangladesh side, had drowned into river Sonai due to the weight being carried by him. The post mortem examination was conducted on the body of the deceased and according to the Post Mortem Surgeon the death was due to asphyxia caused by drowning ante mortem in nature. The doctor further opined that there were injury marks on the body of the deceased, however, these injuries were not sufficient to cause death. The report concluded that the BSF Personnel were carrying out their duty with all sincerity in a very hostile working atmosphere, where the trans-border criminals apparently have a feeling that it is their right to smuggle various kinds of goods to and from Bangladesh. The allegations leveled by the complainant against BSF were not found to be substantiated. As against this, SP, North 24 Praganas, West Bengal vide his letter dated 30.12.2016 has informed that crime case No.133/2014 P.S. Swarupnagar was investigated by Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Basirhat. The I.O. during the course of investigation, recorded the statement of H.C. Baraf Ram of 152 Bn. BSF, Kalyani and Dr.K.P. Pandit, who conducted the post mortem examination on the body of deceased Sohag Sahjee and other witnesses. On appraisal of evidence adduced during the course of investigation, the I.O. concluded that both the BSF personnel pelted stones on Sohag Sahjee when he was taking bath in Sonai River and did not allow his uncle to save him. Thus, the BSF personnel were responsible for the death of deceased Sohag Sahjee. The Commission was also informed that a charge-sheet had been also filed in the court of law against No. 91004592 HC Barat Ram and No. 121111121 Ct. Candharpa Das of BSF. The Commission forwarded a copy of the above report dated 31.12.2016 received from SP, North 24 Parganas to Minisry of Home Affairs, Government of India for comments, since BSF personnel are involved in the incident. In response, Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India vide letter dated 21.06.2017 has forwarded a report from DIG (Ops) B, BSF, which reiterates the version of the BSF already communicated vide letter dated 29.08.2014 and considered by the Commission on 02.03.2017. The report also mentions that the criminal trial in FIR No. 133/14 has been claimed by the BSF from the Learned Court of ACJM, Basirhat u/s 80 of the BSF Act for trial as per evidence on record. The Commission has carefully considered the matter in its entirety. The Commission proceeds in cases of alleged violation of human rights, on the basis of preponderance of probability. In this case the police investigation in FIR No. 133/14 has found involvement of two BSF personnel and charge sheet has been against them. As such the test of preponderance of the probability is more than satisfied in this case. The Commission does not consider it necessary to await the outcome of the trial under the BSF Act. The law will take its course. The human rights of the deceased Sohag Sahjee, have been prima facie, found to have been violated at the hands of the BSF personnel for which the State is vicariously liable to compensate the NoK of the deceased. Since the report of the SP, North 24 Parganas has already been sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India and comments obtained, it is not necessary to issue any show cause notice. The Commission, therefore, recommends to the Government of India through the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, to pay a sum of Rs. 5 lakhs to the Nok of the deceased Sohag Sahjee. The Action taken on the recommendation shall be submitted within three months.

Kirity Roy

Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor)
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Phone- +91-33-26220845
e. mail : kirityroy@gmail.com
Web: www.masum.org.in

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