UPDATE (India): Border Security Force continues to threaten victims’ families


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-043-2008
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Extrajudicial killings, Impunity, Legislation, Threats and intimidation, Victims assistance & protection,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is informed by MASUM, a local human rights organisation in West Bengal involving the Border Security Force (BSF) officers stationed in West Bengal. It is reported that the BSF officers who killed two persons in December 2007, are now threatening their family to keep them silent. Despite the passage of seven months since the murder of two persons, the case is yet to be investigated.


Kalidas Ghosh was killed by the BSF in December 2007. On 18 January 2008, some BSF officers visited the house of Kalidas Ghosh. The officers came to disburse some money to the family as it was sanctioned by an insurance company in the name of Kalidas’s mother Aparna Ghosh. The insurance payment was INR 30,000 (USD 700). BSF also offered INR 30,000 in cash.

The BSF officers also started visiting the family often asking the family to keep silent about the Kalidas’ death. The BSF officers even forced the victim’s mother Aparna to sign on the blank paper.

Kalidas (photo: the teenage victim murdered by the BSF; please note that this photo may cause discomfort to the viewers) was shot dead in a school by the BSF constable Mr. Ram Dhan Rathore on 28 Dec 2007. For more information about the case, please see AHRC-UAC-003-2008.

MASUM had written to the Minister of Home Affairs asking for an intervention in this case. However a letter from the ministry issued in reply to MASUM tried to play down the incident. According to the ministry the BSF has already paid some compensation to the family of the victim which is adequate compensation for death. The letter says that the BSF officers paid some money to the victim’s family and were providing further monitory help for the victim’s family. In addition, the Minister criticises the local human rights defenders’ work against the BSF and suggests that they ignore the work of the BSF to combat smuggling. The minister however ignores that in most cases of extra-judicial killing, the BSF often label the victim as a smuggler as a means of justifying a murder.

Another victim, killed by the BSF on 10 Dec 2007, Mr. Bishnu Pada Roy’s family, has also been asked to keep silent about the incident and to sign on a blank paper. The BSF have reportedly deposited INR 50,000 (USD 1,168) at Sagar Gramin Bank in the name of the victim’s wife Kakoli Roy on 14 January 2008. Please refer to AHRC-UAC-080-2008 for original case.

Only one of these two cases was registered at the local police station. After the murder, the BSF filed complaints against the two deceased victims accusing them as smugglers. This is a common strategy adopted by the BSF in all past cases of extrajudicial execution.

The fact that the BSF have provided compensation to the victims’ families accompanied by their threatening behaviour or forcing signatures highlights that the BSF acknowledges their crime and intend to suppress it. In these circumstances the compensation paid to the victims’ families is nothing but a mere channel for mere intimidation.


These two cases illustrate typical proceedings following an extrajudicial killing by the BSF. When the BSF commits a murder the police refuse to register a complaint from the victim’s family. Most of the cases committed by the BSF in West Bengal that AHRC has dealt with since 2007 are instances where the local police have refused to register complaints against the BSF. Please refer to previous urgent Appeals, AHRC-UAC-084-2008, AHRC-UAC-080-2008, AHRC-UAC-046-2008, AHRC-UAC-003-2008, UA-314-2007, UA-272-2007, UA-251-2007, UA-157-2007, UA-110-2007 and UA-072-2007.

On the contrary, in eight out of the above ten cases the BSF has filed complaints against the victims which were all registered by the local police.

The BSF is a paramilitary unit that virtually has absolute control in the border area. BSF officers are notorious for serious human rights abuses such as extrajudicial killing, torture, rape and are also engaged in cross-border smuggling and corruption. Those who reside around the Indo-Bangladesh border are on a daily basis exposed to harassment and maltreatment by BSF officers.

BSF officers are regulated by the Border Security Force Act (BSF Act) 1968 and the Border Security Force Rules (BSF Rules) 1969. The Sections of BSF Act such as Section 22(b), 24(a) and (c), 28, 40, 41(f), 46 and 47 etc. states that the offences against ordinary person are punishable under the BSF Act and Rules. In particular, Section 47 of BSF Act states that “a person subject to this Act who commits an offence of murder or of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against or of rape in relation to, a person not subject to this Act shall not be deemed to be guilty of an offence against this Act and shall not be tried by a Security Force Court unless he commits any of the said offences, (a) while on active duty; (b) at any place outside India; or (c) at any place specified by the Central Government by notification in this behalf“.

The above two cases of extrajudicial execution are not cases that qualifies to be exclusively tried in a Security Force Court as the crimes were not committed during active duty – one killing happened inside the school and the other while the victim was on the way to meet his friend. Conditions (b) and (c) are also not applicable to these killings. However, the BSF Act seems to be meaningless in practice as no extrajudicial killing cases by the BSF has been tried irrespective of the nature of the court.

Common actions and proceedings that normally surround extrajudicial killings by the BSF, such as the refusal to register the complaint against the BSF, registration of a counter complaint against the deceased victim by the BSF, no investigation into the killing, provision of money under threat.  These confirm that the BSF in the border areas of India controls policing, has ensured the collapse of the rule of law and deprives people of their right to security.

Neither the central nor the state government has not taken any substantial action to stop the extrajudicial killings by the BSF. For impartial investigation to exist the government needs to either enforce the local police authority to carry out their duties or build an independent investigation agency. The neglect by the government of India on the issue of extrajudicial killing is reflected in the fact that they have further ignored the visiting requests of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions since 2000, even though India is a state party of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Please write letters to the authorities mentioned below expressing concern over the case and demanding an impartial investigation without delay and actions to be taken against the BSF officers and police accused in these cases.

The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions calling for an intervention in this case.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear __________,

INDIA: Threatening the families of murdered victims by the Border Security Force must be stopped

Name of victims: 
1. Mr. Kalidas Ghosh (minor, deceased)
2. Ms. Aparna Ghosh, mother of Kalidas Ghosh
(The family lives in Angrail Dakshinpara village)
3. Mr. Bishnu Pada Roy (deceased)
4. Ms. Kakoli Roy, mother of Bishnu Pada Roy
(The family lives in Angrail Uttar Colony village)
Name of alleged perpetrators: 
1. Mr. Ram Dhan Rathore, a constable, Border Security Force who killed the victim 1
2. Mr. Narayan Khatry, a constable, Border Security Force who killed the victim 3
3. Other unidentified officers in the Border Security Force threatening the deceased victims’ families
Date of incident: since December 2007
Place of incident: 
1. Angrail Dakshinpara village, under the jurisdiction of Gaighata Police Station
2. Angrail Uttar Colony village, Post Office Angrail, under the jurisdiction of Gaighata Police Station in 24 Parganas (North) district of West Bengal

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the actions of the Border Security Force (BSF) in West Bengal. I am informed that the BSF had murdered two persons in December 2007. I am further informed that to conceal their crime the BSF officers are now threatening the families of the victims.

I have learned that the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has released Urgent Appeals regarding these two cases. The local police have also failed to intervene in these cases. They have even failed to register cases against the BSF. According to the information I have received, recently the victims’ families are harassed and intimidated by the BSF officers.

I am further informed that while the local police fail to investigate into the killing itself, In January 2008, the BSF provided money INR 30,000 (USD 700) and INR 50,000 (USD 1,168) for two victims’ families respectively. I am of opinion that this money is not a compensation for the victims’ families but a means of concealing their crimes. The BSF reportedly forced the victims’ families to sign on the blank paper and threatened them to keep silent.

These incidents illustrate the complete impunity enjoyed by the BSF in West Bengal over the state police in India, particularly in West Bengal. I am also shocked by the attitude of the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Shivraj Patil, where in a letter written to a local human rights organization the Minister has not only justified the murder committed by the BSF, but has hailed that the little compensation paid by the BSF to the victims’ families as being adequate and also has further criticized the local human rights group for lodging complaints against the BSF.

I, therefore, urge you to intervene in this case so that the murder of the two victims named above are investigated and also the allegations of threat and intimidation by the BSF against the family of the deceased are immediately enquired. The victims’ families must be given immediate protection and the family must be paid appropriate compensation. Murder charges must be pressed against the BSF officers and the accused officers must be tried in a civilian court.

Yours sincerely,



1. Director General
Border Security Force
Block No. 10, CGO Complex
Lodhi Road
New Delhi – 3
Fax: +91 11 24360016
E-mail: bsfhq@hub.nic.in

2. Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee
Chief Minister/ Minister of Home Department
Government of West Bengal
Writers’ Buildings
Kolkata – 700 001
West Bengal
Fax: +91 33 2214 5480 / 2214 1341
E-mail: cm@wb.gov.in or prsecycm@wb.nic.in

3. Director General & Inspector General of Police
Government of West Bengal
Writers Buildings
West Bengal
Fax: +91 33 2214 4498 / 2214 5486

4. Chief Secretary
Government of West Bengal
Writers’ Buildings, Kolkata – 700001
West Bengal
Fax: +91 33 2214 4328
E-mail: cs@wb.nic.in

5. Home Secretary
Government of West Bengal
Writers’ Buildings, Kolkata – 700001
West Bengal
Fax: +91 33 22143001
E-mail: sechome@wb.gov.in

6. Justice Mr. Rajendra Babu
National Human Rights Commission
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
New Delhi 110001 
Fax + 91 11 2338 6521 
E-mail: chairnhrc@nic.in

Thank you

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org)