INDIA: Scheduled Caste woman tortured by Border Security Force personnel

Dear Friends, 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to forward an appeal from our partner organization, MASUM in West Bengal. A Scheduled Caste woman was allegedly tortured by Border Security Force (BSF) guards on 10 April 2016 in Dinhata police station limits, West Bengal.
For more information, please contact: Kirity Roy, Secretary, MASUM & National Convener of PACTI, Phone- +91-33-26220844 / 0845, Email :, Web:

Thank you. 
Urgent Appeals Desk 
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) 
Scheduled caste woman allegedly tortured by BSF personnel in West Bengal

17 May 2016

Name and other details of the victim
: Ms. Renubala Barman; belongs to Scheduled Caste community, wife of Mr. Paresh Barman; aged about 35 years, resident of village- Dewanbas- Bharbandha, under Dinhata police station of Coochbehar district, West Bengal
Name and details of the perpetrators: Two unknown male personnel of BSF and Ms. Babita and Ms. Jyotika, both constables of Border Security Force posted jointly at Gitaldah Border Out Post of 124 Border Security Force Battalion
Date and time of the incident: 10 April 2016 at around 1:20 pm
Place of incident: BOP at the bank of the river ‘Kasem Ghat’ at village- Dewanbas- Bharbandha, under Dinhata police station of Coochbehar district
Secondary Victims: Master Prosenjit Barman; aged 17; son of the victim and Ms. Nanibala Barman; aged 60; mother of the victim

Case Details

Ms. Renubala Barman is a destitute Scheduled Caste woman; estranged by her husband and living with her minor son and aged mother in great difficulties. She used to work on the fields of other people and often ferried cumin seeds from one side of the river to another. Every other day, she collected cow dung in her bamboo basket from adjoining villages and dries it in cake to use it as fuel.

The Border Security Force (BSF) at the area of occurrence are stationed at the bank of the river at the side of the village where the victim lives, and the border from this point is nearly 3.5- 4 kilometers away. At the other side of the river, there are three Indian villages; Daribas, Jari Dhorola and Badurchuti with 5-6 thousand population. Everyday villagers face intense humiliation, subjugation and torture at the hand of the posted BSF personnel while crossing the river for all their practical requirements.

On 10 April 2016, at around 1:20 p.m., Ms. Renubala Barman reached the above mentioned Kasem Ghat with her basket full of cow dung which she collected from adjoining villages at the other side of the river. At that time four BSF personnel were on duty at the mentioned BOP of Kasem Ghat; two of them were male and another two were women, as mentioned in the perpetrators list. While she reached at the spot, the four BSF personnel in first instance dropped the basket from her head and littered the cow dung on the earth. The victim asked why they littered cow dung which she collected in scorching sun. The victim and BSF personnel were arguing over the issue and all of a sudden, four BSF personnel shoved her to earth by holding her neck and started beating her with their bamboo sticks. Due to one of the blows, the upper portion of her left hand became swollen and marks of the blows became apparent on her neck and back. The BSF personnel then started to kick her with their boot clad feet. The physical aggression made the victim sick and the BSF personnel left the scene. 

A local Panchayat member rescued her and she was brought to the Dinhata Sub Divisional Hospital at 2:30 p.m. on the same day by our activists. At the emergency ward of the said hospital, the Medical Officer on duty, Dr. Saswati Naskar examined her and she was admitted to the hospital till 12 April 2016. It was reported that while the victim was admitted at the hospital, BSF officials in plain clothes entered and pressurized to bring her to the BSF Camp but it was not possible due to her injuries.

On 19 April 2016, the victim made a written complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Coochbehar but till date no action has been initiated. The victim is living under severe physical illness and mental agony.

This act of offence by the Border Security Force personnel and the subsequent inaction of the police was against the pledge which the Government of India has taken during the Fourth World Conference on Women, known as the Beijing Declaration, where the government had said that they are determined to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. The perpetrator BSF personnel violated Articles 2, 5, 7 and 8 of the UN Code of Conduct for law Enforcement Officials. They also violated Articles 7 and 17 of the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political rights), Article 21 of the Constitution of India and legitimize our long standing demand for immediate ratification of United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment. Our attached fact finding report gives details of the incident.

Therefore we seek urgent intervention of the Commission in the following manner:-
• The complaint made by the victim to the Superintendent of Police; Coochbehar must be treated as an FIR
• The whole matter must be investigated by a neutral investigation agency recommended by the Commission.
• The BSF personnel who have committed the crime must be must be booked immediately
• Recommend the authorities to take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological security and integrity of the victim and witnesses and the victim must be provided with adequate financial compensation.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Kirity Roy
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor)
Balaji Place
PIN- 712203

Tele-Fax – +91-33-26220843
Phone- +91-33-26220844 / 0845
e. mail :

Please send your appeals to:
1. The Chairman,
National Human Rights Commission,
Manav Adhikar Bhawan,
Block-C, GPO Complex, INA,
New Delhi- 110023


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : AHRC-FUA-004-2016
Countries : India, Thailand,
Issues : Administration of justice, Human rights defenders, Rule of law,