The incident took place on November 7, 2014, when the student was standing near his residence in Hatkhola village. A pellet hit his right eye while BSF personnel were firing at fleeing smugglers.
West Bengal: A Class XII student, Mohammad Ali Halsana, was caught between the Border Security Force and fleeing smugglers in his village in West Bengal’s Nadia district when his right eye was hit by a jawan’s pellet gun. His family had to mortgage their lands to afford his medication and the family of six had come under duress. It is said that the BSF threatened witnesses with more pellet gun firing if they revealed what had happened.
Now, The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Centre to pay compensation of Rs. 3 lakh to Halsana. The NHRC’s decision came on a complaint filed by Kirity Roy, secretary of human rights organisation Banglar Manab- Adhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM).
“The Commission recommends to the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, to make a payment of Rs. 3,00,000 as compensation to the victim, Mohammad Ali Halsana,” The NHRC report said.
“The incident took place on November 7, 2014, when the student was standing near his residence in Hatkhola village. A pellet hit his right eye while BSF personnel were firing at fleeing smugglers. In February 2016, the NHRC summoned the Director General of Police to submit a status report of the FIR lodged against the concerned jawan Naseb Chand, of 119 Battalion of Mahakhola Border Outpost, in the Chapra police station,” reported The Hindu.
A 2015 complaint filed by Kirity Roy with NHRC tells the story in more detail. “It is revealed during the fact-finding that on 7.11.2014 at about 10.30 in the morning; Mohammad Ali Halsana came out of his residence for the purpose of going to market. At that standing in front of the gate of his residence, he saw that The Border Security Force personnel by a Zypsy Car were chasing cattle smugglers. Then suddenly one of the BSF personnel started firing from his service rifle. In such firing the victim, Mr. Mohammad Ali Halsana was shot and he fell down on the ground sustaining bullet injury on his right eye. His mother Ms. Lutfa Halsana rushed to the spot. The BSF personnel ran towards the victim and attempted to assault with a wooden stick. But due to protest by the local people and Ms. Lutfa Halsana, the BSF personnel did not assault. The BSF personnel left the place issuing threats that the villagers would be gunned down if the incident was reported to anyone. The victim was immediately evacuated to nearest Chapra Block Primary Health Centre (BPHC) but due to his serious physical condition, he was referred to Shaktinagar Hospital. As the victim sustained bullet injury on his right eye, his family members admitted him at Sankara Nethralaya (An eye hospital) in Kolkata. About Rs.7, 50,000/- was incurred in the medical treatment of the victim and his family arranged the said money by mortgaging lands. At present the victim is staying in his residence under medical care,” the complaint said.
After about one and a half year of the summons, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (headquarters) of Nadia filed a report to the NHRC stating that the chargesheet had been submitted in the case under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons) of the Indian Penal Code.
“Having considered the report, the commission, came to the conclusion that the human rights of the victim were violated by the BSF person, for which the Government of India is vicariously liable and should make reparations to the victim,” the NHRC stated.
“Soon after, the commission issued a show cause notice asking the Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs as to why a compensation of Rs. 3 lakh should not be awarded to the victim. In response, the Under Secretary to the Home Ministry forwarded a report of the Deputy Inspector General (Operations) of BSF, who argued that as per Section 19 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the NHRC “has no power” to issue show cause notice in relation to matter of the armed forces,” reported The Hindu.
“However, it is prima facie found from the charge sheet that the BSF person is liable for the grievous injury caused on the right eye of the victim, violating his human rights, for which the Government of India is vicariously liable and should make reparations to the victim,” stated the NHRC order.