Famous Bengali movie personality and staunch secularist Aparna Sen, in a recent event referred to Bharat’s Border Security Force (BSF) as “rapists and murderers”.
The central government’s decision to expand the BSF’s jurisdiction from 15 km to 50 km in three border states – Assam, Punjab and West Bengal – has not gone down well with the opposition. It is noteworthy that all three states face a huge problem of cross-border smuggling of cattle, narcotics and other contraband, apart from threat of terrorism and illegal immigration (through the eastern border).
In West Bengal, the ruling TMC had strongly opposed the decision by moving a resolution in the Legislative Assembly against this mandate. Even before that, on Monday, November 15, during a press conference organized by the Left Front at the press club in Kolkata, Aparna Sen voiced her resentment over the BJP government’s decision to increase the BSF jurisdiction in the border areas of West Bengal. She was livid that the central paramilitary force was being granted more power.
She highlighted that the condition of West Bengal’s citizens is already debilitated, and alleged that if the authority of the BSF is extended, the condition of the people will become ‘more miserable’. She demanded that the government consider the life of the people residing in the border areas and enables them to do business and sell farm products.
However, the film maker-cum-politician crossed the line when, in her strong criticism of the central government, she ended up calling the Border Security Force personnel ‘rapists’ and ‘murderers’. Her vile discourse has been recorded on camera and has attracted heavy flak.
Further, legal troubles also await her as BJP leader Anirban Ganguly has sent a legal notice to Aparna Sen demanding her to tender an unconditional apology. BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh has also called Aparna Sen anti-national for her derogatory remarks against the forces safeguarding the country’s borders.
Aparna Sen is not the only “intellectual” in West Bengal that has slandered the BSF in derogatory language; the Trinamool Congress is guilty of using similar descriptions for the BSF while discussing the resolution on Tuesday at the assembly. Opposing the extension of BSF control from 15 to 50 kilometres, TMC MLA Udayan Guha brought accusations of committing atrocities on the people against the BSF. Guha also alleged the BSF jawans ‘touch women inappropriately’ during inspections.
“We have seen the kind of atrocities that BSF perpetrates on people. A child who has witnessed his mother being touched inappropriately under the garb of frisking, when she returns from the field, can never be patriotic, no matter how many times you chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ in front of him. These incidents give birth to anti-social elements,” said the MLA.
Earlier, Guha had said that BSF jawans may be ‘involved in smuggling’ after the BSF shot down cattle smugglers at the Bharat-Bangladesh border. Guha asserted that the cattle smugglers cannot carry out the cross border smuggling without the help of the BSF; hence the latter could be involved in such smugglings.
Slandering the entire force, which works in extremely tough conditions and routinely loses men in clashes with criminals and illegal immigrants, based on the alleged actions of some bad apples is not something one would expect from elected representatives who swear loyalty to the Constitution. But then, one can get away with anything in India as long as one wears the cloak of secularism.