• Monday, Jan 17, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:02 am

A license to kill

  • Published at 04:54 am May 24th, 2013
A license to kill

Indian Border Forces (BSF) have shot and killed two more unarmed Bangladeshis on the border with India.

It’s absolutely unacceptable that incidents like these, between countries officially at peace, are tolerated even once, but for it to happen repeatedly without denting diplomatic relations, is a criminal violation of international norms.

Indian security forces have killed nearly 1,000 Bangladeshis over the last decade - for crimes as minor as not being able to prevent their cattle from grazing on the wrong side of the fence.

The dead include children as young as 13, a completely innocent 15-year-old girl whose body was left hanging on the barbed wire fence for hours; cattle traders, smugglers, farmers and fishermen. Many are shot while still in Bangladeshi territory.

Section 46 of India’s Code of Criminal Procedure forbids security forces from killing people not accused of an offence punishable by death, especially if they are not threatened, but offenders on the border are rarely taken to task; on the contrary, an official directive was issued over a decade ago, allowing them to shoot to kill.

When the issue is brought up at diplomatic meetings, a great deal of lip service ensues, such as promises to use non-lethal weapons, but the killings continue.

As nationals of a sovereign country, we do not accept our rights being so wantonly violated by the security forces of another country, without it leading to significant diplomatic fallout.

The government can and must use stronger language as well as any other means at its disposal to prevent further incidents like these.

It must make it clear to India that it will not be “business as usual” until these matters are addressed satisfactorily.  

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