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Woman dies at BSF gate

Malda, May 14: A 19-year-old woman died without medical attention as the BSF refused to open a border gate at Duisatadighi early this morning and let her to be taken to the Malda medical college despite repeated pleas by her husband and neighbours for around two hours.

Duisatadighi is located on the other side of the border fence and around 150 families live there. The villagers can access the mainland only through the border gate that is manned by the BSF. The gate is opened thrice a day — from 6am to 8am, 10am to noon and 4pm to 6pm.

Julie Bibi complained of chest pain last night and her husband Rezzak Shiekh and family members took her to the border gate.

“We requested the BSF jawans to open the gate so that she could be rushed to the Malda Medical College and Hospital. We kept on shouting for two hours, but the two jawans posted there paid no heed. Around 2.30am, all villagers had gathered at the spot and pleaded for mercy. An officer from the local camp soon reached the spot and opened the gate. But my wife had died by then,” said Rezzak.

Duisatadighi is 35km from Malda.

The villagers held a demonstration at the gate against the BSF this morning. Rezzak filed a complaint with Kaliachak police against the border force for causing the death of his wife.

The incident has generated outrage in political circles with everyone crying foul against the border guards.

“The matter should be probed at the highest level. The guilty should be punished and compensation paid to the family of the victim. The BSF is bound to open the gates for the Indian citizens residing on the other side of the fence in case of an emergency,” said Biswanath Ghosh, the former CPM MLA of Kaliachak.

The incident was also condemned by women and child development minister Sabitri Mitra and Congress MLA of Baishnabnagar, Isha Khan Chowdhury.

The deputy commandant of 123th battalion of the BSF, Pranay Kumar, said there was no fault on the part of the border guards. “The BSF is not at fault. We had even made arrangements for a vehicle to take the women to the hospital. But she had already expired. The incident was very unfortunate,” Kumar said.