Barbed Wire
The harassment on the poor villagers of Bagdogra under Kuchlibari Police Station, Block and Sub-division Mekhliganj, in Coochbehar district, West Bengal; caused by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with 'E': Company of 45 Battalion at Bagdoqra Border Outpost by restricting their movement through Gate No-35, 36 and 37 is a regular phenomenon. All the people living in Bagdogra village, belong, to Scheduled Caste Community. About 300 families live in the said village and 95% people earn their livelihood by agriculture. Almost all of them have agricultural lands situated beyond the barbed fencing amounting more than 500 acre. BSF constructed Barbed Wire somewhere 500 metres somewhere 900 metres even somewhere 1 kilometre inside India from the actual Indo-Bangladesh border posted inside the Indian Territory, not on actual border line.

The major problems faced by the villagers of this area are restrictions caused by the BSF while going into their fields for the purpose of agriculture through the aforesaid Gates. BSF keeps the gates open for only three hours in a day and villagers have to deposit their Identity Card and register their name before BSF personnel posted at the respective gate. Whether they have finished their work done or not, they have to return back within that period of time. Whenever the villagers lodge complaint before BSF in this regard, they do not pay any attention to their words. BSF kept the Gates open all the day a year back but since then they imposed whimsical restrictions in the name of security of the country.

If necessary, villagers cannot carry more than two cattle at a time for their agricultural work. Government did not take any initiative for irrigation and electrification in the area and villagers somehow made irrigation system for them by their own. Despite having sufficient land in the area, Government has not constructed road outside the barbed wire resulting problems for the farmers to bring their crop from their farmland. According to the villagers of the area, the expenditure is more than what they earn from one bigha of land.

BSF has imposed restriction on cultivating corn and jute whimsically. According to BSF these crops are raised in height and it prevents the security of the country. In this challenging situation, villagers are facing tremendous financial loss and so many of them forced to migrate outside of the state in search of livelihood for their family which damages the safety of their family and the education of children.
Kirity Roy, Secretary, MASUM
National Convenor—PACTI

Vol. 51, No.37, Mar 17 - 23, 2019