“Trigger happy” : excessive use of force by Indian troops at the Bangladesh border

TriggerHappyThis report documents a pattern of grave abuses by India’s Border Security Force (BSF) against both Bangladeshi and Indian nationals in the border area along India’s 2,000 kilometer long international fontier with Bangladesh in West Bengal state. The abuses include cases of indiscriminate killing and torture.

Most of the abuses documented in this report are related to efforts by the Indian government to deal with cross-border smuggling, particularly cattle-rustling. However, as this report shows, the abusive methods used by the BSF are disproportionate to the problems that the Indian government faces on its eastern border. Numerous ordinary Indian and Bangladeshi citizens resident in the border area end up as the victims of BSF abuses, which range from verbal abuse and intimidation to torture, beatings, and killings. Furthermore, because of the near total absence of effective accountability mechanisms for abuses carried out by members of the BSF, even the most serious abuses by border guards go unpunished. This sends a clear message that the Indian government finds such abuses acceptable.
This report is a joint publication of Human Rights Watch, Malum and Odhikar. It contains maps, a summary with key recommendations, a description of the methodology used in compiling the report, and chapters on
  • Background: risk of attacks by border guards,
  • Excessive use of force and indiscriminate killings by the BSF,
  • Torture and ill-treatment of border residents and
  • Recommendations.
With Annexes:  Alleged killings of Bangladeshi nationals by the BSF, Alleged killings of Indian nationals by the BSF, Acknowledgements.


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