Felani verdict to dominate BGB-BSF talks
Mohammad Jamil Khan

The controversial acquittal of the lone accused in Felani murder case by a special BSF court that irked her family as well as the BGB officials will be on top of the agenda during the director-general-level conference that starts in New Delhi today.

A month into the acquittal, the BSF chief is yet to approve the verdict before its official announcement. The BGB already expressed frustration and said that it would file an appeal against the verdict that came on July 3 after consultation with the victim’s family.

Meanwhile, Amnesty India on July 13 submitted a petition with the Supreme Court of India alleging that human rights were violated in the murder case. Moreover, West Bengal-based rights group MASUM has decided to move the Indian top court challenging the verdict together with Dhaka’s Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK).

Another petition filed by Felani’s father and Salma Ali, the executive director of Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers Association, against the first verdict of September 6, 2013 is pending with the Indian Supreme Court.

Terming the judgement injustice, parents of Felani Khatun have rejected the verdict outright.

In the both the verdicts, the court said that the self-confessed BSF member, Constable Amiya Ghosh, had been acquitted for inconclusive and insufficient evidence. It is the first-ever trial of any BSF member for border killing.

Apart from border killing, the two forces will also discuss cattle, arms and drugs smuggling, poppy cultivation at border points and human trafficking during the four-day event.

The two countries share around 4,000km border.

At least 23 Bangladeshi nationals were killed – 15 shot dead while eights others tortured to death – and 38 others injured in attacks by the BSF from January to June this year, ASK says based on reports from 10 national dailies. It adds that the BSF members also abducted 49 people during this time.

Since 2010, the Indian authorities have been saying that they would use non-lethal weapons but it has never been materialised. Despite making such pledges, the BSF highups defend shooting at Bangladeshi people by saying that they open fire for self-defence only.

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) chief Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed will lead a 22-member delegation at the 41st DG-level talks. On the other hand, the 24-strong Indian team will be led by Border Security Force (BSF) Director General Shri DK Pathak, a BGB press release said. The previous conference was in December in Dhaka.

The BGB chief is accompanied by senior officials of the paramilitary force, representatives from the Department of Narcotic Control, and several ministries.

The conference will end on August 6 with the signing of a joint record of discussions. Maj Gen Aziz will meet Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Secretary Anil Goswami.

The BGB chief, for the first time, will also take salute during the passing out parade of the BSF’s sub-inspector training at its academy at Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh on August 7.

A friendly handball match will also be held at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium on August 5.

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