The authorities also possess the funds and an arsenal of legal mechanisms through which such problems may be addressed. It is therefore inexcusable that the state's inaction has forced Bharat, his family and the community into alleged lives of crime to simply survive. Less excusable still is the exploitation of position and power by paramilitary forces to inflict grievous hurt on an unarmed man with such impunity and disregard for rule of law.
AHRC referred to the concerning the torture of Mr Bharat Mondal by BSF personnel attached to Mourashi Camp of Chowski No. 2 under Outpost No. 2 of 105th Battalion of BSF on 30 December 2011. It said that according to the fact-finding conducted by MASUM, Mr Bharat Mondal was an agrarian labourer before losing his lands to erosion by the river.
This is a problem also faced by many of Bharat's neighbours, and like them, Bharat had no means of livelihood or income to support his family of six. Although Bharat has a job entitlement card under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 scheme, he did not get any work, and so had to allegedly resort to cross-border smuggling of cattle for income.
It is reported that around 8am on 30 December 2011, Bharat attempted to smuggle seven or eight head of cattle across the border when the Border Security Forces (BSF) jawans apprehended him. They roughly handled him, stripped him naked and assaulted him severely. The BSF hit him repeatedly with wooden sticks and rifle butts and also kicked him with boot clad feet. Bharat's left arm was broken as a result of the violent assault. Bharat bled profusely and lost consciousness, whereupon the BSF jawans left him to die.
When Bharat's wife, Ms Chintamoni Mondal, heard about the torture and critical condition of her husband, she rushed to the scene with a few neighbours and brought Bharat to Godhanpara Block Primary Health Centre for treatment. The doctor who attended to Bharat at GBPHC referred Bharat to the Domkal Sub-Divisional Hospital and Baharampur New General Hospital because of the severity of Bharat's condition. Bharat's family had him admitted into Baharampur NGH where the victim is currently undergoing medical treatment. Although his family desperately needs the income, Bharat's condition precludes the possibility of returning to work.
The BSF personnel subsequently warned Bharat's family and neighbours against registering a complaint at the police station or disclosing details of the incident to others. Yet, the aggrieved family somehow plucked up the courage to make a written report before the Superintendent of Police of Murshidabad on 23 March 2012 and forwarded a copy of that complaint to the Officer-in-Charge of Raninagar Police Station. Despite the effort to pursue the matter through established branches of the justice system, the police have to date not taken any action to investigate and prosecute the BSF jawans responsible for the senseless, unprovoked and violent attack on Bharat.
AHRC said that this highlights several systemic failures in the administration of Murshidabad in West Bengal. They include the lack of transparency, accountability and discipline in the operation of armed forces, which breeds impunity and disregard for the law and the pervasive, excessive, and oftentimes senseless, use of violence by provincial authorities against individuals within their jurisdiction.
It also stated the lack of enforcement and/or poor communication by India's central government and judiciary of basic protocol (for making arrests, interrogating, detaining and trying suspects) amongst law enforcement agencies and paramilitary forces such as the BSF and the lack of responsiveness of the police to aggrieved locals
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