BSF shoots down student at border, sparks row in Bengal

Seven people were injured in clashes with BSF jawans in Cooch Behar district of northern West Bengal on Saturday following the death of a student who was allegedly shot by the border personnel.

The incident occurred at Chengrabandha along the India-Bangladesh border in the district earlier in the day. The deceased was identified as Tapan Burman, 20.

Though high-placed sources in the BSF did not issue any statement, local residents said Tapan had gone out in the wee hours of Saturday to relieve himself when the jawans shot him on the suspicion that he was trying  to cut the barbed fence. They said the man was killed on the spot.

Tapan was a second-year student of Chengrabandha College and a resident of Kamath-Chengrabandha, the residents said.

They came out on the streets as soon as the news of Tapan’s death spread and protested against the BSF. Clashes followed soon during which the jawans allegedly opened fire again, injuring seven.

While two of them were critically injured and admitted to Jalpaiguri District Hospital in critical condition, the rest were taken to a nearby hospital. Sources in both hospitals said all of them had suffered bullet injuries.

According to the villagers, the BSF jawans regularly walk into villages adjacent to the border, taking away whatever they wish besides damaging the local people’s property.

Admitting that villagers have often complained about the highhandedness of the BSF jawans, a senior district police officer said: “A police team has reached the spot and is looking into things.”

The protesters also blocked the busy Chengrabandha-Chowrangi junction near the border, affecting the traffic on Siliguri-Cooch Behar and Mathabhanga-Chengrabandha routes, the officer said. He said police personnel are patrolling the area while the administration was closely monitoring the situation.

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