A 24-year-old was allegedly gunned down by a Border Security Force (BSF) constable in Cooch Behar district near the India-Bangladesh border on Saturday morning, with central force sources claiming he was a smuggler and the family that he was a migrant worker.
The incident again brought to the surface charges of the BSF’s high-handedness in border villages.
Family members said that Prem Kumar Barman of Bharbandha village of Dinhata sub-division walked out of his home on Saturday morning.
“My son was a migrant worker who came home from Bangalore recently. He went out for a smoke. Soon, we got a phone call that he was gunned down by the BSF,” Shiben, his father, said.
Prem’s body, local residents said, was found at nearby locality Ghoshpara. Police were informed and recovered the body.
BSF sources, however, claimed the youth was involved in smuggling. They said the youth, along with some associates, were trying to smuggle cattle to Bangladesh when a BSF constable spotted the act and tried to dissuade them, leading to an altercation. The group allegedly attacked the constable which made him fire in self-defence.
His family and villagers insisted Prem had no connection with smuggling.
“As far I know, the youth who died in the BSF’s firing was a migrant worker. If he was a smuggler, the BSF should have nabbed him and handed him to the police. Why did they open fire?” asked Udayan Guha, the north Bengal development minister and Dinhata MLA.