BSF suspends eight troopers for filming assault

The Border Security Force (BSF) on Wednesday suspended its eight troopers after a video clip allegedly showed its men thrashing a suspected cow smuggler near the Bangladesh border here.

"Eight soldiers from the 105 Battalion of the BSF (posted here) have been suspended. A high level probe headed by a superior officer of the rank of a commandant has also been ordered," BSF spokesman Parashar said.

The video, aired on news channels, shows BSF soldiers beating a naked man, whose hands are tied behind his back.

"I have not seen the footage yet but whatever action is required will be taken. However, the allegation that the video has been shot by BSF personnel using a mobile phone is highly unlikely because the jawans are prohibited from using mobile phones when on duty," BSF Inspector General (South Bengal Frontier) Ravi Kumar Ponoth said.

Villagers claim that the video was intentionally shot by the BSF troopers and distributed among the people to instill fear among them.

"I was there when the incident happened. Seven BSF soldiers were beating this man while another soldier was shooting the video on his mobile. The man from the other side of the border (Bangladesh) was beaten because he tried to smuggle out a cow without paying them," an eyewitness told a Bengali news channel.

A Murshidabad-based NGO Masoom said such incidents were common in the border villages.

"Such incidents are frequent. If you see the footage, it is very clear that the video has been purportedly shot to instill fear among the villagers. As per our finding, the man was from Bangladesh and has died following the beating. We have lodged a complaint regarding this before the NHRC (National Human Rights Commission)," Masoom's secretary Kirity Roy said.

Roy said the incident happened on Monday.

However, the police said they are yet to receive any complaint.

"We are not aware about any such video," Murshidabad Superintendent of Police B.L. Meena said.

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