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Sunday, February 3, 2013

[] Trial of Felani killing yet to start

2 yrs on, trial of Felani killing yet to start

Two years have passed since Bangladeshi girl Felani was killed on Phulbari border by the Indian BSF, but the trial of the case could not start as yet as things remained confined to exchange of letters between the two sides over procedural matters.Proceedings in the case is yet to start due to bureaucratic complexities over physical presence of three Bangladeshi witnesses in the Indian court, a senior official of  Bangladesh Border Guard told New Age recently.

'BGB is waiting for a reply from the BSF about where and when the three witnesses should go for their appearance in the Indian court. But BSF has not replied to our queries as yet,' BGB director general Major General Aziz Ahmed told New Age.

Felani, a 15-year-old girl, was shot dead by the Indian border guards while she was crossing into Bangladesh over the barbed-wire fences on Phulbari border in Dinajpur January 7, 2011.  The brutal killing shocked people both in Bangladesh and India and drew widespread condemnation.

Three Bangladeshis are on the list of five witnesses prepared by the BSF. But Bangladesh authorities could not send them to India to testify in the court in last several months as the case remained stuck in procedural tangle.The BSF earlier recorded statements of the three Bangladeshi witnesses, including Felani's father Nur Islam Nuru , during a primary investigation of the murder.After investigation, BSF submitted charge sheet against its constable Amiya Ghosh, who shot Felani with his 5.56mm INSUS rifle.

According to Indian law, Amiya Ghosh will be tried by the Indian General Securities Forces Court (GSFC) which gave an order on October 18, 2012 to start the trial in the Felani murder case.But the court could not start the proceedings as the BSF have failed to produce the three Bangladeshi witnesses.The GSFC is equivalent of the Indian court martial.

Felani's alleged killer constable Amiya Ghosh has been allowed to stay at his station, 181BSF battalion.
The BSF wrote to the BGB authorities in October last year asking it to send the three Bangladeshi witnesses to the Indian GSFC court.The Indian High Commission in Dhaka also requested the Bangladesh government to take necessary steps to send the witnesses.

The Bangladesh government, in its reply, sought to know about the questions the Bangladeshi witnesses might be asked by the court.But the BSF refused to send the possible questions in advance.In its letter the BSF said, 'It is not possible to let the Bangladesh government know in advance about the possible questions to be asked by the court,' the sources said.Thus several letters have been exchanged between India and Bangladesh over the matter.

The BGB director general said, 'I took over a few months ago…What I know about the matter is that BGB has received a letter from BSF regarding the three witnesses whom the Indian court wants to examine.''In December last, Rangpur sector headquarters of BGB wrote to the BSF to know about the location, time and date for the three Bangladeshi witnesses to be present for their appearance in the Indian court. But the BSF has not replied to the BGB letter as yet. We are waiting for the reply,' he said.'The BGB is ready to provide all necessary support,' he added.

Meanwhile, Felani's father Nur Islam Nuru is anxiously waiting to hear that the killer of his innocent daughter has been punished.'I am the number one witness to the murder of my daughter on the border… I was on the spot. I am ready to testify in the Indian court and demand justice…,' Nuru said.

Felani's father also said that last month, a BGB member came to his house and took him to the camp of 27 Battalion. They told him that he might need to go with them to India to testify as a witness to his daughter's killing.'Later I received threats from some locals that I might invite trouble if I go to India to testify. Now I am worried…,' Nur said.'But I am ready to go to the court any day. The then home minister Sahara Khatun came to my house and gave me Tk 3 lakh. I had requested the home minister to take action against Felani's killers. But I did not see any action in last two years. I have doubt if the government is serious about it,' he said.

On the morning of January 7, 2011, Felani and her father were returning from India as the date of her marriage had been set. Her father crossed into Bangladesh by scaling the barbed-wire fences but Felani failed as her clothes got tangled in the barbed wire on the international border 947 ( between pillars 3 and 4 at Anantapur, Fulbari) and she was shot dead by the BSF. Felani used to work as a domestic help in New Delhi.

The body of Felani remained hanging from the barbed wire fences for about four hours before the BSF soldiers took it away. The BSF later handed over Felani's body to the BGB.


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