Saleem Samad with Laili Begum from Kurigram
A court in West Bengal has once again acquitted an Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier Amiya Ghosh on Thursday of the charge of killing Felani Khatun.
The General Security Forces Court (GSFC) of India's BSF has upheld a previous court of inquiry verdict absolving its Constable Amiya Ghose from charges of murdering Bangladeshi girl Felani Khatun in the wee hours of January in 2011.
A BSF General Security Forces court gave the verdict after the hearing of the revision trial. The court has reached the same conclusion as it did in the previous time and acquitted him on the same grounds.
The BSF has not formally announced the GSFC verdict as it needs clearance of its Director General.
Felani's family is likely to challenge the GSFC verdict in higher Indian court after her father Nurul Islam rejected the verdict calling it a 'parody of justice.'
He went to India's Cooch Behar twice to testify in the trials. "Amiya Ghosh should have hanged. Instead, the Indian government made a mockery of us in the name of trials," he remarked.
Kurigram Judges Court Public Prosecutor Abraham Lincoln, who provided legal assistance to Felani's family, said, "This verdict raised questions about India's judicial system. This verdict will embolden BSF to continue border killings. This would create a crisis in border management."
The Public Prosecutor also observed that the verdict contradicted the concepts of human rights and justice.
Meanwhile, Kurigram BGB Director Lt Col Zakir Hossain did not comment on the issue, but said senior officials will decide on the recent judgement after BGB receives the verdict.
At 3:15am Felani Khatun, 16 years old along with her father Nurul Islam Nuru in a dense and cold foggy night of January 7 in 2011 came near the Indian side of the barbed wire fence opposite Anantapur Border Outpost in Kurigram.
In the family of Nuru and Jahanara few months after their first child (girl) was born, but unfortunately she did not survive. The child Felani (means object to be thrown away or to discard).The couple had given their second child the name Felani, because of the fear of premature death of their first child.
When Felani was crossing the border over the barbed wire fences, she wore red and white coloured woolen-sweater, deep blue churidar or salwar-kamiz and ornaments - one Nak-ful (that is, silver nose-ring or nose-pin), one putir-mala (that is, string of beads), one silver-chain, one bangle or wristlet, a pair of silver Payel (that is, ankle-bells).
Amiya shot from the rifle in the silent night which pierced Felani's heart and she fell down from the bamboo ladder and her body began to hang on the border fence. Seeing this, in fear for life, her father and the agents (dalals) of both sides fled from the scene of occurrence under the cover of darkness.
Bangladesh Human Rights Monitoring Team of Bangladesh (HRMTB), mentioned in their fact finding report, "Though the body of the deceased teenager was found hanging on the fences till 11:00am, even, when the soldiers of the BGB, of Anantapur BOP, who were on patrol duty, went to the spot of the incident at around 6:15am, but yet they could not locate the body of Felani due to heavy fog.
Meanwhile, West Bengal's human rights group MASUM, which had closely followed the trial, has rubbished the GFSC verdict.
Its chief Kirity Roy has described the verdict as 'pre-meditated' and said the BSF had decided to protect their trooper at any cost.