Excessive force used in Bangladeshi girl's shooting, admits BSF

Kolkata, Sep 21 : The Border Security Force (BSF), which has ordered a revision trial in the fatal shooting of a minor Bangladeshi girl, Felani Khatun by one of its troopers, Saturday admitted use of "excessive force" in the case and said it was difficult to justify the shooting.

Addressing the media here after participating in the Sep 14-19 Director General-level talks (DGLT) with the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in Dhaka, BSF's Additional Director General B.D. Sharma said the force was under pressure following a trial court declaring the accused trooper not guilty.

"We had to be defensive in the Felani case following the Bangladesh media covering extensively the trial where the accused was held not guilty. It is a tragic incident and difficult to justify or defend the firing. There was excessive use of force," he said.

Felani Khatun, 15, was shot Jan 7, 2011, by trooper Amiya Ghosh while crossing over to Bangladesh at the international border checkpoint at Chaudharihat in Cooch Behar district. Gory pictures of her body, hanging upside down on the barbed wire fence, were splashed across the internet.

The body allegedly hung for hours before the border troops of both the countries brought it down.

Ghosh was charged with culpable homicide and the BSF initiated a General Security Force Court (GSFC) trial against him which Sep 6 found him "not guilty" following "inconclusive and insufficient" evidence against him.

But senior BSF officials did not agree with the court's findings and have ordered a revision trial.

The proceedings against Ghosh were begun Aug 13 by a five-member BSF GSFC headed by its Assam-Meghalaya frontier DIG (Communication) S.P. Trivedi who conducted the hearings at Sonari BSF camp near Cooch Behar under Sections 64 and 65 of the Border Security Force Act, 1968 and its Rules, 1969.

Sharma, who ordered the revision trial after disagreeing with the findings of the GSFC, denied any pressure behind his decision for the revision trial.

"There was no pressure behind the decision, although the findings of the GSFC evoked strong response in Bangladesh. It is a legal process and our legal cell after careful examination of the case opined that there should be a revision trial," said Sharma.

He said the revision trial is likely to begin soon.

--IANS (Posted on 21-09-2013)

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