BSF will consider retrial of Felani murder case
Mohammad Jamil Khan

India’s Border Security Force chief DK Pathak yesterday said that they would consider holding a fresh trial in Felani Khatun murder case if her family is aggrieved with the lower court verdict that acquitted the self-confessed killer.

The BSF director general mentioned that they were yet to approve the verdict handed down on July 3 by a special court in Cooch Behar of West Bengal. He said that the court could be reconstituted if the family wanted.

In response, Border Guard Bangladesh chief Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed said that they would provide all possible assistance in the fresh trial after talking to Felani’s parents. The BGB would talk to her parents and ask them whether they want retrial in a new court.

Pathak made the comment after the end of director general-level talks between the two border forces in New Delhi yesterday. Mohosin Reza, public relation officer of the BGB, confirmed about the discussion.

The Felani issue was not on the agenda, but the BGB side raised the matter.

The same special court on September 6, 2013 acquitted Constable Amiya Ghosh, drawing massive criticism. Felani’s parents rejected the verdicts terming those injustice.

In the meantime, rights group 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 body MASUM has decided to move the Indian top court challenging the verdict together with Dhaka’s Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK). They already contacted with Felani’s father and took his consent.

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

Constable Amiya Ghosh was acquitted for “inconclusive and insufficient evidence,” the court said. It is the first-ever trial of any BSF member for border killing.

Felani, a 15-year-old girl, was shot dead while returning home in Bangladesh along with her father and maternal uncle on January 7, 2011. She used to work as a housemaid in New Delhi.

Though Felani’s father and uncle had crossed the barbed-wire fence using a ladder, the teenager was shot when her clothes got entangled in the wire.

Her body was left dangling on the barbed wire fence for nearly five hours. It is alleged that she had been alive for at least four hours after being shot.

Rights group ASK states that at least 23 Bangladeshis were killed and 38 others injured by the BSF along the border between January and June this year.

During this time, the BSF personnel abducted at least 49 people.

Even yesterday, the body of a Bangladeshi cattle trader was recovered from the border. He was tortured to death at a BSF camp near Naogaon border on Wednesday night.

According to a BGB statement, the two forces discussed about border killings, cattle, arms and drugs smuggling, poppy cultivation at border points and human trafficking issues during the conference that began on August 3.

The event ended yesterday with the singing of a joint statement of discussions.

Before his return to the country tomorrow, the BGB chief is scheduled to take salute during the passing out parade of BSF’s sub-inspector training at its academy at Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh today. It is the first time for any BGB chief to enjoy the privilege. 

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