‘Won’t be at peace even after death without getting justice for my daughter’

Felani's body remained hanging over the barbed wire for fo hoursFile photo

Altough twelve years have passed since the killing of teenager Felani at the Phulbari border in Kurigram, her family members are still waiting for justice over the killing.

The judicial proceedings of this highly discussed case are pending at the High Court of India.

Felani’s parents are still waiting for justice for their daughter.

On 7 January 2011, 15-year-old Felani from the South Kalnitari village of the Nageshwari upazila in Kurigram was shot dead by the members of the Border Security Force (BSF) of India.

Today, Saturday, marks the 12 years of the incident.

Early in the day of the incident, Felani and his father Nur Islam were returning to home from India through the Anantapur border with the help of Indian agents.

She was shot dead by BSF member Amiya Ghosh while crossing the barbed wire fence on the border line with a ladder. Her body was kept hanging from the barbed wire for at least five hours. The image of Felani’s body hanging from the barbed wire fence sparked widespread criticism worldwide.

Speaking to Prothom Alo on Friday, Felani’s father Md Nurul Islam said, “We went to India in search of fortune. We were returning home that day to marry off Felani. On our way, BSF member Amiya Ghosh shot her right in front of my eyes. I had no other way than fleeing without taking her body. They (BSF) kept her body hanging from the barbed wire fence like that for five hours.”

Later in 2013, at the face of the criticism from the human rights activists from all over the world, the trial for Felani’s killing commenced at the special BSF court in the Cooch Behar district of West Bengal in India. Felani's father Nur Islam and uncle Hanif testified in the court at the time. However, the special court acquitted Amiya Ghosh of the case on 6 September 2013.

Felani’s family rejected the verdict and filed a writ petition challenging the verdict of the special court to the Supreme Court of India with the help of Indian rights organisation Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha. Felani’s father testified before the court again on 17 November 2014 following the start of the retrial of the case on 22 September. Later, on 2 July 2015, the court acquitted Amiya of the case again.

Following the verdict, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court on behalf of Felani’s father on 14 July same year. The hearing on the writ petition was held on 6 October. The next hearing on the writ was delayed several times from 2016 and 2020. The next hearing is yet to be held. 

Nur Islam said, “Amiya Ghosh was acquitted of the case in the trial in the special court of BSF. Therefore, I filed a writ petition with the Supreme Court of India. However, the court stalled the proceedings giving the excuse of the pandemic. I demand the highest punishment for Amiya. I demand that the governments of both countries assure a proper justice over the incident.”

Felani’s mother Shahanara Begum said, “They took everything away from me by killing my daughter. I won’t get peace even after death without seeing justice for my daughter.”

The public prosecutor of the Kurigram court and legal advisor of Felani’s father, Abraham Lincoln told Prothom Alo that the hearing on the writ petition filed with the Supreme Court of India had been stalled due to the pandemic situation. He expects that by ensuring justice for this case, the two countries will go one step forward in the way to sign the agreement to stop border killing.