The Border Security Force has financially compensated two families who lost their kin in firing by its troopers in the Tripura frontier. The BSF said the financial support was given in compliance with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) directive.

Families of Abu Hanif and Abdul Haq from separate villages in Sonamura of west Tripura received a sum of Rs. 7 lakh and Rs. 5 lakh respectively. Officers of the 19 th battalion of the BSF recently gave away the compensation in the presence of State government officials.

“This is not our policy to award compensation whenever such incident occurs. We stand by our position that our jawans opened fire in self defense”, a senior BSF official who wanted his name to be withheld told the Hindu on Wednesday.

Abdul Haq, an auto rickshaw driver, was killed on January 27, 2011, when BSF troopers opened fire on suspicion of his involvement in cattle smuggling to Bangladesh. In the other incident, BSF men shot dead daily labourer Abu Hanif from point blank range on May 15 the same year.

Families immediately lodged complaints in local police stations claiming that the victims were innocent. BSF too registered complaints with police alleging the men were smugglers and they resorted to firing in self defense when they came under attack.

“Money has been given to the families in accordance with the directives of the NHRC. We claimed money from the Government for the purpose”, the BSF official said.

BSF had earlier paid compensation to a border firing victim at Amjadnagar in Belonia of south Tripura. It is likely to support another family in Kailashahar of north Tripura that lost a member in BSF firing some years ago.

A senior police official said the NHRC has been intervening in border firing deaths as the State Government has been following its instruction to report such incidents. He said the NHRC conducts its own investigations before issuing a directive.

Tripura shares a 856-km boundary with Bangladesh on three sides and smuggling through unfenced border is rampant. Tension between BSF and the residents often breaks out in border villages resulting in death of even innocents.