April 2002 News

Rape: BSF chief assures jail, sack if charges proved

22 April 2002
The Indian Express
Aasha Khosa

New Delhi: Border Security Force (BSF) Director General Gurbachan Jagat today admitted that the recent gang-rape of a young girl in south Kashmir had sullied the image of the BSF. He added that the incident had pushed into oblivion the good job done by the forces in fighting insurgency in Kashmir during the last two years. Promising to award exemplary punishments to the two BSF jawans accused in the case, Jagat said: ‘‘The inquiry into the case should be completed in 10 to 12 days.’’ He said the two accused, if found guilty, will not only be dismissed from service but will also be sentenced to a minimum of seven to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment. ‘‘Two days ago, I was in Kashmir and we were all happy with the results of our anti-insurgency operations and also with the fact that the force had not got itself into any kind of controversy or breach of human rights this year,’’ Jagat said, terming the incident as the ‘‘most unfortunate thing that could happen.’’ Jagat said that following the incident fresh instructions had been issued to BSF officers to monitor jawans when they are out on patrol duties. ‘‘I want the punishment in this case to serve as a deterrent in future,’’ he said. He said that he is pained by the plight of the rape victim but added there was little he could do for her. ‘‘Extending financial help is the responsibility of the state government and we have our own constraints which prevent us from taking over that responsibility.’’ Jagat denied reports that the BSF had been soft on its officers who were found involved in committing excesses in the Valley. He said the BSF personnel, who were found guilty of rape in five cases in Kashmir, had been already awarded seven to ten years’ imprisonment. Also, all of them had been dismissed from service, he added. He said the court martials of the Army and the BSF were governed by almost the same set of rules.


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