The Supreme Court has served notice on the Centre and the Border Security Force Director-General, acting on a petition from the father of a minor girl for a fair re-trial of a BSF constable who is accused of gunning her down while they were crossing the India-Bangladesh border. The petition also sought compensation.

A Bench of Justices H.L. Dattu and Madan B. Lokur heard Aparna Bhat, counsel for girl’s father Md. Noor Islam, and Executive Director of Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association Salma Ali.

The petition said the first petitioner was a resident of Nageshwari sub-district in Koorigram district of Bangladesh, near the Indian border. After he came to India illegally, his daughter Felina was born in Kolkata. While he and Felina were crossing the border, she got stuck in the fence. She was shot dead by constable Amiya Ghosh of the 181 Battalion at the Chaudharihat checkpoint in Cooch Behar.

Iternational law violated

The petitioners said the gruesome act not only violated the human rights of the victim but also shook the principles of international law for protection from torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. They said the trial started on August 13 this year, more than two years after the incident. A five-member BSF General Security Forces Court, headed by the BSF Assam-Meghalaya frontier DIG, conducted hearings at the Sonari BSF camp under Sections 64 and 65 of the Border Security Force Act, 1968, and its Rules, 1969. Amiya Ghosh was acquitted.

The petitioners said their plea raised important questions of law: “Whether maintenance of law and order means not ensuring due process of the law; whether the procedure for prosecution prescribed in the Foreigners Act is not applicable to BSF personnel; whether the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which both India and Bangladesh are signatories, is not applicable to security agencies; and whether India, a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is not mandated to follow principles of natural justice and other human rights enshrined therein.”

Father seeks fair re-trial of constable who shot her dead