India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended its Home Ministry to pay a compensation of half a million Indian rupees to the family of murdered Bangladeshi girl Felani Khatun.
The NHRC verdict stated that: “The Commission is aware that the security forces are discharging a sensitive job at the borders. They must, however, adhere to some discipline and norms while performing such duty,” adding that a compliance report be submitted from the ministry within six weeks.
Quoting a BSF order, which asks its troopers to ‘exercise utmost restraint when dealing with unarmed women and children’, the verdict went on to say that Felani was an unarmed girl. As a result, the BSF constable who shot at her acted in disregard of the circular issued by the BSF Headquarters.”
The NHRC turned down the Home Ministry’s petition to keep in abeyance the issue of compensation, adding that there can be no justification for shooting at an unarmed girl.
“The Commission does not find any justification for keeping in abeyance the payment of monetary relief to the next of kin of the deceased till the finalisation of revision of the GSFC proceedings.
“Hence the Commission recommends payment of compensation of a sum of Rs 500,000 to the next of kin of the deceased girl,” the NHRC verdict read.
After a BSF court exonerated Constable Amita Ghose and let him off on the Felani murder case, West Bengal’s Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) had moved the National Human Rights Commission for compensation.
Describing the NHRC verdict as a ‘moral victory’ for those fighting to get justice for Felani, MASUM chief Kirity Roy said, “Monetary compensation is no solace for the loss of a son or a daughter. But this verdict proves what we have alleged is right and what the BSF has been doing is wrong.”
Suggesting that the BSF should review the case now, he added that the ‘errant constable’ should be booked for an unprovoked murder.