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NHRC Approached to Investigate Alleged Rape, Suicide, of Schoolgirl by BSF Guard

KOLKATA: A 12 year old schoolgirl was allegedly raped by a Border Security Force jawan when she was returning to her home on the India-Bangladesh border. She committed suicide and the absence of action against the alleged rapist has now been questioned and taken up with the Human Rights Commission by well known rights activist Kirity Roy.

The young girl was a student of Class VII in Gosaipur village on the India Bangladesh border. Her father is a daily wage earner. She had gone for private tuition at a place called Trimoohini on the morning of May 7,2015. It was cloudy and people were rushing back home for fear of heavy rains. She was rushing as well and near Check point 7 she was stopped by a few BSF personnel. They told her that she was being questioned as she was riding a new bicycle. She had no documents to prove the purchase with her of course, and kept pleading with them that the bicycle was old, and she had used it for a while now. However, she was not listened to and using this pretext the said BSF man snatched the keys from her and locked her bicycle.

The BSF chap reportedly assaulted her, and in obscene language told her that if she spoke of this to anyone she would be in trouble, as her bicycle was smuggled from across the border. Her mother who by this time had come out looking for her found the traumatised girl at the check post.

She was on tears and narrated the whole incident to her mother. When the BSF man was confronted by the mother, he shouted at her, insisted that the bicycle was stolen and allegedly touched the girl again in front of her mother. He later let them go, but kept the bicycle. There was of course, no female BSF guard at the check post.

The girl and her mother reached home and girl narrated the story to her father. The girl reportedly went into her room, bolted the door from inside, and hung herself.`Hearing the screams of her mother, the villagers came rushing to the house, and the girl was taken to the local hospital in serious condition. Later at night she died.

In the letter to the NHRC Chairperson, Roy has written:

“I want to bring into your notice an incident of molestation of a 12 year old school going girl by Border Security Force guard while she was returning from her private tuition. She was a class VII student. The insulted and humiliated girl failed to bear the psychological distress and later hanged herself to death at her home. The involved BSF guard stopped her forcefully, seized her bi-cycle and insulted her by saying as a smuggler. It was reported that on pretext of conducting a search the accused BSF guard stationed at the check-post, fondled her private parts. When the girl protested, she was illegally detained at the check post for more than half an hour. Her mother came to know about the incident while she was searching her daughter and a portion of this inhumane act was witnessed by her.

The role of the police was under question as the father of the deceased girl already submitted a written complaint with details of the molestation to Hili police station on 8.05.2016 and based on this complaint one FIR was registered vide Hili Police Station Case No. 141/16 dated 08.05.2016 under sections 341/354/305 of Indian Penal Code section 10 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 but the accused has not been arrested yet. The Investigating Officer of the case Mr. Sushanta Kumar Pal; Sub Inspector of Hili Police Station, while called on his mobile (9733385815) on 2nd June 2016 at 5.53 PM, informed us that no arrest has been made, though he informed us that during investigation the presence of the accused at the place of occurrence has been proved, the accused was posted at that check point with another BSF personal at the time of incident. On 27.05.2016 the father of the victim sent a written complaint by fax to the Superintendent of Police, South Dinajpur demanding stringent punishment of the accused BSF guard. But the accused BSF guard is still at large. Senior BSF officials, however, denied the charges of molestation with the intention of conceal the crime of accused BSF guard.

This act of offence by Border Security Force personnel and subsequent inactive role of police was against the pledge; which the Government of India has taken during the Fourth World Conference on Women; known as Beijing Declaration; where the government had said that they are determined to Prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. The act of the BSF personal was not only savage and brute but also against the national and international legal provisions. The torturous act was in contravention of Article 19 and 37 of UN Convention on Rights of the Children; where the convention has stated that the right of every child to be protected from being hurt or badly treated and not to be punished in a cruel or hurtful way and India has ratified the convention way back. The perpetrator BSF personnel violated Articles 2, 5 and 8 of the UN Code of Conduct for law Enforcement Officials. They also violated Articles 7 and 17 of ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political rights), Article 21 of the Constitution of India

Reportedly, there was considerable tension in the area following the incident and incident was broadly published in regional media.” The letter asks for a NHRC investigation into the entire incident, action against the BSF personnel, adequate compensation for the victim.”

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