Felani kin frustrated at verdict

Relatives of Felani Khatun are frothing with anger and frustration at the verdict of Indian Border Security Force’s (BSF) tribunal acquitting the accused of the murder of the Bangladeshi girl.

The special tribunal set up at Cooch Bihar in India to try Felani murder case pronounced constable Amiya Ghosh ‘innocent’ in its verdict on Thursday.

Ghosh had been found responsible for killing her in an investigation into the incident happened on January 7, 2011.

BSF officials said the verdict had been sent to the force’s Director General for final endorsement.

The 15-year-old girl was shot dead while scaling the barbed-wire fence at Anantapur border point in Kurigram’s Phulbari Upazila on her way back to Bangladesh.

Hearing the news on the tribunal verdict, Felani’s father Nurul Islam said: “We hoped after testifying (against the accused) in India that we’ll get justice. But I don’t understand what judgment it is. My daughter was shot dead like a bird, but we got no justice.”

Now he wants to move an international court for justice and has sought the government’s cooperation.

Felani’s mother Jahanara Begum said: “We wanted death penalty to those who killed my innocent daughter. But they (BSF) have poked fun (at us) in the name of trial.

“The Indian government has betrayed us.”

Kurigram Public Prosecutor Abram Lincoln, who observed the tribunal’s proceedings, said justice was trampled. “The possibility of stopping border killings created through the trial has vanished.”

He feared that incidents of human-rights violation across the border would rise if the verdict stood.

Kurigram Border Guard Bangladesh’s officer Maj Syed Abdullah-al Mahmud said they were not confirmed about the verdict despite making several attempts to contact the BSF.

The macabre murder of Felani caused huge media outcry both at home and abroad. The picture of her hanging body in the fence was widely published.

The trial of her murder started at the BSF tribunal on Aug 13. Felani’s father and maternal uncle Abdul Hanif testified in the tribunal on Aug 19.

Commander of 45 Battalion of the BGB Lt Col Ziaul Haque Khaled also observed the tribunal proceedings.

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