BSF Ace Commando Anubhav Atrey Faces Court Martial Over ‘Civilian Death’

Once hailed as a hero, BSF commando Anubhav Atrey is now in a downward spiral. The assistant commandant from the 113 Battalion of the Border Security Force, who featured in a documentary created by the National Geographic Channel on the agency that’s India’s first line of defence, is now facing court martial over a “civilian death”.

Atrey purportedly got into trouble over self-defence action that resulted in the death of a Bangladeshi teenager last year in a suspected case of cross-border gold smuggling.

 

The incident took place on May 14 last year when the officer was deployed at Banpur post of BSF in Krishnaganj village of West Bengal’s Nadia district.

The killing sparked a furore in Bangladesh at a time when BSF chief KK Sharma was on a visit to Dhaka for talks with his counterpart, putting pressure on the force to act against one of its own.

WHAT HAPPENED

In his statement to the court of inquiry, the officer said, “There were 12-15 gold smugglers who came close to the fence with 2 carrying packets of gold articles to be thrown across to the huts in the Indian side, while 10 of them were carrying sharpedged weapons (machetes or da). But at 10 am, as the smugglers came close to the fence, the BSF constable in the team rushed without any arms to apprehend the suspects.”

In the panic which followed, the officer said he sensed that the smugglers speaking in chaste Bengali told each other “niye jaai (drag the constable into Bangladeshi territory)”.

Another one said, “maar”, which the officer said meant that there was a life-threatening situation for his junior. Atrey said he decided to use the non-lethal weapon, firing the first shot in the air.

The second shot was taken following the standard operating procedure (SOP) at the waist from a distance of 40-50 metres as the miscreants did not honour his appeal and became more aggressive. The shot hit a boy who later died in Bangladeshi territory. Based on an understanding between the BSF and BGB, the border guarding force of Bangladesh, patrol parties on both sides keep a mix of lethal and non-lethal weapons.

After this the smugglers ran to safety across the fence. Minutes later, the commandant informed the officer that the Bangladeshi force had informed them of a “civilian death”.

The two forces held a flag meeting where the BGB was allegedly convinced by the officer’s explanation. But facing heat from Bangladeshi media and the incident looming large over successful talks between the Indian and Bangladeshi contingent, sources say, Atrey became a scapegoat. The court of inquiry blamed the BSF troops for faulty planning but did not recommend any action. But before Atrey could heave a sigh of relief, he was called in for further recording of evidence. The officer who left a teaching job in Kendriya Vidyalaya says he now regrets his decision.

source: intoday

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In his statement to the court of inquiry, the officer said, “There were 12-15 gold smugglers who came close to the fence with 2 carrying packets of gold articles to be thrown across to the huts in the Indian side, while 10 of them were carrying sharpedged weapons (machetes or da). But at 10 am, as the smugglers came close to the fence, the BSF constable in the team rushed without any arms to apprehend the suspects.” In the panic which followed, the officer said he sensed that the smugglers speaking in chaste Bengali told each other “niye jaai (drag the constable into Bangladeshi territory)”. Another one said, “maar”, which the officer said meant that there was a life-threatening situation for his junior. Atrey said he decided to use the non-lethal weapon, firing the first shot in the air. The second shot was taken following the standard operating procedure (SOP) at the waist from a distance of 40-50 metres as the miscreants did not honour his appeal and became more aggressive. The shot hit a boy who later died in Bangladeshi territory. Based on an understanding between the BSF and BGB, the border guarding force of Bangladesh, patrol parties on both sides keep a mix of lethal and non-lethal weapons. After this the smugglers ran to safety across the fence. Minutes later, the commandant informed the officer that the Bangladeshi force had informed them of a “civilian death”. The two forces held a flag meeting where the BGB was allegedly convinced by the officer’s explanation. But facing heat from Bangladeshi media and the incident looming large over successful talks between the Indian and Bangladeshi contingent, sources say, Atrey became a scapegoat. The court of inquiry blamed the BSF troops for faulty planning but did not recommend any action. But before Atrey could heave a sigh of relief, he was called in for further recording of evidence. The officer who left a teaching job in Kendriya Vidyalaya says he now regrets his decision.

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