INDIA: A foreigner allegedly raped by the Border Security Force in West Bengal


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-214-2007
ISSUES: Corruption, Impunity, Police negligence, Police violence, Sexual violence, Violence against women, Women's rights,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from MASUM, human rights organisation based in West Bengal regarding the alleged case of rape of a Bangladeshi woman by the Border Security Force (BSF) stationed at the Indo-Bangladesh border. It is alleged that the woman who was taken into custody by the BSF along with another woman while they were attempting to sneak into India from Bangladesh were taken into the border outpost of the BSF and raped by the BSF officer. It is also alleged that inspite of the incident being discovered by the superior officers of the BSF, as the act of rape was being committed is hushed up by the BSF with the help of the local police.


According to the information received, on June 7, 2007 Ms. Champa Khatun and Ms. Asha Begum were trying to illegally cross the Indo-Bangladesh border at about 6.45pm from Bangladesh to India. They were trying to cross the border near the Kaharpara I & II Outpost at Kargil Point. This place is within the jurisdiction of Raninagar Police Station in Murshidabad district of West Bengal state. Champa and Asha are Bangladeshi citizens and while they were crossing the border without proper documents.

In the attempt they were intercepted by the officers from the BSF stationed at Kaharpara I & II Outpost. This outpost is manned by officers from the ‘G’ Company attached to the 90 Battalion of the BSF. Champa and Asha were detained temporarily by the BSF at the outpost. After a while it is alleged that Champa went out from the outpost for changing her wet cloths and Asha was alone in the outpost. It is alleged that at this time an officer grabbed Asha by her hand, dragged her out from the outpost and raped her in front of yet another officer who was also present there.

Asha cried out and at that time a team of BSF officers from the Intelligence Branch of the BSF happened to come there. An officer of the intelligence wing who came to the spot directed Asha to be medically examined and also instructed for a compliant to be lodged at the Raninagar Police Station. Asha was taken to the Bondhonpara Primary Health Centre at Raninagar at about 2.20am. However Asha was not examined at the medical centre. From the medical centre Asha was taken to the Raninagar Police Station. But the police refused to take her into custody. The BSF returned to their camp along with Asha where she was detained with Champa.

The next day morning the BSF went to Raninagar Police Station with Asha at about 10am. By this time the news got out and a crowd gathered in front of the police station. There were also members of the media present at the police station. However the area was cordoned by the BSF and the BSF prevented the public from entering the station premises or meeting the victim.

At about 2pm Mr. Mohan Banshi Haldar, the Sub Divisional Police Officer from Domkol arrived at the police station. At about 3pm he sent Asha to the Beharampur District Hospital by a police vehicle for medical examination. In the meanwhile Asha had complained to the police about the incident, but the police refused to register a case against the BSF officer who raped her. The accused officer was not sent for medical examination.

At the Beharampur District Hopsital, Asha was asked to wait outside while the police officers were talking with the doctor inside. After about 30 minutes Asha was called inside and the doctor Mr. Kanjilal examined her. After the examination, the doctor declared that Asha was not raped. It is alleged that Dr. Kanjilal is in good terms with the local police.

Later Asha and Champa were sent to the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Lalbagh on June 9, 2006. This was because by then the Raninagar police had registered a case against them as case number 109 under the relevant provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946. The court ordered Asha and Champa to be detained in judicial custody. It is alleged that the officers at the Lalbagh Prison refused permission to anyone who tried to contact the victim. Mr. Singh, the officer at the prison, when contacted by MASUM informed MASUM that Asha had informed him about the rape.

Asha was produced at the court on June 21, 2007. Mr. Gouri Sankar Biswas, an advocate appeared for Asha in court. The victim through the lawyer filed an application in the court regarding the entire incident. The lawyer requested the court to issue an order for fresh medical examination of the victim. The case has been adjourned by the court to be taken up on July 4, 2007 and in the meanwhile the Raninagar police is also asked to file a report in the court.

The AHRC is concerned about the manner in which this case was dealt with by the local police. From the facts of the case, it is evident that the local police is trying to cleanup the matter so as to protect the BSF officers from any possible prosecution. In an alleged case of rape, irrespective of the nationality of the victim, the local police on receipt of a complaint by the victim have to register a case of rape. For this the police will have to takedown the statement of the victim and immediately send the victim for medical examination. This procedure was not observed by the local police.

Additionally, the conduct of the medical doctor opining that Asha was not raped soon after a medical examination is also suspicious. An opinion regarding rape is a matter of scientific investigation, for which in addition to a physical examination the minimum requirement is to gather vaginal smears from the victim and to send it for forensic examination. Even in cases where the smear is prepared after a considerable extent of time after the alleged incident, a scientific examination could prove whether there has been a sexual intercourse or not by the alleged accused as claimed by the victim. The local police appear to have consciously avoided this procedure also.

In these circumstances the AHRC calls for your urgent intervention into this case so that the case is thoroughly investigated and the accused is charged with the offence that he has allegedly committed. The conduct of the police officers at the Raninagar Police Station and the medical doctor responsible for not properly examining the victim must also be investigated.

Please send a letters to the relevant authorities listed below calling for an immediate investigation into this case.

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Dear _________,

INDIA: A foreigner raped by the officers of the Border Security Force stationed at the Indo-bangladesh border in Murshidabad district of West Bengal

Name of the victim:
Ms. Asha Begum, aged 19 years, daughter of Saral Hossain, residing at Lakshmipur, Rajpara, Rajsahi district, Bangladesh [the victim is currently held in judicial custody at the Lalbagh Prison in Murshidabad district, West Bengal]
Alleged perpetrators:
1. Officers of the Border Security Force of the ‘G’ Company attached to the 90 Battalion of the Border Security Force stationed at I & II Outpost of the Border Security Force at Kargil village, Murshidabad district, West Bengal
2. The Officer-in-Charge of the Raninagar Police Station, Murshidabad district, West Bengal
3. Dr. S. B. Kanjilal, Medical Officer, Baharampur District Hospital, Baharampur, Murshidabad district, West Bengal
Date and place of Incident: On 7 July 2007

I am writing to you to express my concern regarding the case of Ms. Asha, a victim of rape currently detained at the Lalbagh Prison in Murshidabad in connection with Crime 109/2006 of the Raninagar Police Station.

I am informed that Asha was taken into custody by the Border Security Force (BSF) officers stationed at I & II Outpost of the Border Security Force at Kargil village, Murshidabad district on June 7, 2007 at about 6.45pm. I am informed that Asha was taken into custody along with one Ms. Champa who was also taken into custody by the BSF while they were trying to cross from Bangladesh to India. I am informed that both of them are citizens of Bangladesh, who were trying to sneak into India.

I am informed that the BSF officer later raped Asha within hours after she was taken into custody, which was discovered immediately by the superior officers of the BSF from the intelligence branch, who happened to visit the outpost on the same day. I am concerned to know that the victim, though was immediately taken to the Raninagar Police Station was refused to be taken in by the police officers at the station and also refused to be given medical attention. Later the victim had to return to the BSF camp.

The next day when the victim was produced at the police station, the Senior Divisional Police Officer from Domkal Mr. Mohan Banshi Haldar, ordered the victim to be produced at the Beharampur District Hospital for medical examination. It is alleged that Dr. S. B. Kanjilal, the medical officer at the hospital under pressure from the BSF and the police declared that Asha was not raped after a physical examination. I am surprised to know that a medical doctor without resorting to any forensic laboratory examination, merely by physically examining the victim has given such a verdict.

I am informed that the victim is not an accused charged with offences under the Foreigners’ Act, 1946 is being kept in judicial custody. I am also informed that the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate has adjourned the case to be taken up on July 4, 2007 for the consideration of the victim’s complaint regarding rape and the manner in which her complaint was treated by the Raninagar police.

I am surprised to know that inspite of several complaints against the manner in which the BSF treat suspects and ordinary people in Murshidabad and along the Indo-Bangladesh border, no action whatsoever has been taken against these officers on complaints of abuse of authority or their  involvement in criminal activities as it happened in this case.

I therefore urge you to immediately intervene in this case and ensure that the BSF officer who raped Asha is brought to justice. I also request you to take appropriate action so that the dereliction of duty by the police officers at the Raninagar Police Station who refused to record Asha’s complaint is immediately inquired into. I also request you to inquire into the manner in which Dr. S. B. Kanjilal examined the victim and take appropriate action against the doctor if he is found guilty of willful neglect of duty.
Yours sincerely,



1. Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee
Chief Minister/ Minister of Home Department
Government of West Bengal
Writer’s Building
Kolkata – 700 001
West Bengal
Fax: +91 33 22145480/ 22141341

2. Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed
Chief Adviser 
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Office of the Chief Advisor
Tejgaon, Dhaka 
Tel: +880 2 8828160-79, 9888677
Fax: +880 2 8113244 or 3243 or 1015 or 1490 
E-mail: or (to the Secretary)

3. The Chief Secretary
Government of West Bengal
Writers’ Buildings, Kolkata – 700001
West Bengal
Fax: +91 33 22144328

4. The Home Secretary
Government of West Bengal
Writers’ Buildings, Kolkata – 700001
West Bengal
Fax: +91 33 22143001

5. Mr. A. B. Bhora
Director General & Inspector General of Police
Government of West Bengal
Writers Buildings
West Bengal
Fax: +91 33 22145544

6. The Chairman
West Bengal Human Rights Commission
Bhabani Bhavan, Alipore
Kolkata – 700027
Tel: +91 33 4797259 / 5558866
Fax: +91 33 24799633

7. Ms. Yakin Erturk
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
Room 3-042
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9615

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (