The family of Felani Khatun, a 15-year-year-old Bangladeshi girl who was killed by Indian border guards, did not give up hope for justice as they observed the 11th anniversary of the gruesome murder on Friday.
Felani worked as a domestic help in New Delhi. She was returning home with her father through Anantapur border in Kurigram district on January 7, 2011, when members of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) shot her dead. Her body was handed over to Bangladesh a day later.
A picture of her lifeless body hanging from the barbed-wire fence went viral, triggering a global outcry and prompting BSF to open an investigation into the killing.
BSF pressed charges against Constable Amiya Ghosh but he was acquitted by a special court in 2013. Amid criticisms, BSF later decided to revise the trial but another judicial court upheld the verdict, acquitting Ghosh for the second time in 2015.
Felani's frustrated father Nur Islam later moved to the Indian Supreme Court with the assistance of human rights group Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha.
The full bench headed by the chief justice accepted the petition in 2015 and show-caused several bodies concerned, including the Indian home ministry. But the Felani family has not yet received justice as the date of the hearing was postponed several times.
"We’ve gone to many people, including human rights activists, seeking justice for the murder of our daughter. I have not got justice even after 11 years," said Felani's mother Jahanara Begum.
Her father Nur Islam said he had gone to Cooch Behar and testified twice in the court there, raising the atrocity of BSF member Amiya Ghosh. “Still we’ve not got justice. But we’ve not left our hope for justice from the Indian Supreme Court yet,” he said.
Kurigram Public Prosecutor SM Abraham Lincoln, who provided legal aid to Nur Islam in the Felani murder case, said the organisations that were show-caused placed their statements in the court.
He said the date for hearing in the Supreme Court was changed several times and later the hearing was scheduled for August 28, 2018, but was finally not held.
Abraham said he doesn’t know the latest progress of the case that was hampered by Covid-19 pandemic.