A meeting to discuss on the alleged harassment meted out by the Border Security Force (BSF) on a Veterinary and Animal Husbandry (V&AH) official was convened today by Amlarem MLA Lahkmen Rymbui.
Rymbui announced that it was decided that both the BSF and the police would investigate into the case.
The meeting was attended by BSF, police and officials of the home department.
“Decided that BSF & Police would investigate the case & also see that in the course of policing the border areas no harassment be made to the local residents,” the former home minister said on X.
Meanwhile, the Meghalaya Veterinary Services Association (MVSA) has demanded a written apology from the BSF authorities for the atrocities committed on association’s member Dr. Seiboklang Buam who is also the Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Officer of Muktapur veterinary dispensary under Amlarem civil sub-division.
In its emergency central executive committee meeting held today, the MVSA strongly condemned the high handedness of BSF personnel Rajender Kumar and his colleague on Buam.
“The association has taken strong cognizance of the incident, the news of which has been widely circulated in the electronic and print media. The MVSA also resolved to appraise the highest authority of the BSF, Meghalaya Frontier Headquarter on this unfortunate and uncalled incident, which has traumatised the concerned member of the association. The association also demands that a written apology from the concerned BSF authorities be issued with an assurance that such kind of inhumane and humiliating acts do not recur in the future,” the MVSA said in a statement issued today.
Buam has alleged that he was harassed by BSF troopers at Lakroh Shiv Mandir, Hawai Tilla, West Jaiñtia Hills yesterday afternoon.
The veterinary officer said that while on his way to catch fish from a nearby river, he was stopped by two BSF troopers who began questioning him.
Stating that he took out his mobile phone and started recording the harassment, Buam said the BSF personnel who were annoyed snatched the mobile phone from him and asked him to strip his clothes. He claimed that the two BSF troopers asked him to kneel down and beg for forgiveness, which he refused. He also said that they threatened to drag him to the zero line and shoot him dead.
Buam said that he was saved by the early intervention of local women who witnessed the incident.The United Democratic Party (UDP) has slammed the alleged highhandedness of the BSF.
“This act on the part of the BSF personnel, who are supposed to provide security along the border area, has put the entire security force in bad light,” UDP general secretary Jemino Mawthoh said in a release. “This shameful act on the part of the BSF personnel is highly unbecoming and uncalled for.”
The UDP will raise the issue with the BSF higher-ups.
The Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) also met the Amlarem Sub-Divisional Officer and condemned the BSF’s behaviour.
In the letter to the SDO, the pressure group said that as a responsible defence body, the BSF is entrusted with safeguarding the nation’s borders and citizens and it is deeply troubling to learn of such actions perpetrated by the force.
“Not only did they subject him to physical torture, but they also brazenly threatened to shoot him and attempted to drag him across the zero line under false accusations of smuggling. It is only by sheer luck that the intervention of nearby fishermen, including women, prevented further escalation and potential loss of life,” the KSU said.
According to the students’ body the victim has reported that the BSF personnel subjected him to even more degrading treatment by forcibly undressing him naked and coercing him to apologise by touching their feet.
“Such humiliating and dehumanising actions are utterly reprehensible and have no place in a civilised society governed by the rule of law. The victim of this barbaric incident is identified as a government employee in the Department of Veterinary. The fact that a person of his stature could be subjected to such brutality raises serious concerns about the safety and security of all citizens, particularly those living along the border areas who may be poor and illiterate. This incident underscores the urgent need for accountability and reform within the BSF to ensure that such flagrant abuses of power do not recur,” the union stated in its letter.
According to the KSU this incident, unfortunately, is not an isolated one.
The union alleged that the BSF’s 4th Battalion has gained notoriety for its harassment of market goers and farmers.
“They frequently block vehicles, subjecting drivers and traders to exhaustive searches that result in significant losses of goods and merchandise. After conducting these searches, they often leave without offering assistance, leaving the affected individuals to bear the burden of arranging their goods, a process that can take hours and result in further financial losses,” the KSU stated in its letter.
The students’ body also said that it cannot tolerate or condone the terrorisation and intimidation of its community by those entrusted with protecting them.