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HomeLatest NewsFarmers of Cooch Behar protest BSF’s ‘high-handedness’

Farmers of Cooch Behar protest BSF’s ‘high-handedness’

– Shabana Javed

Kolkata, Dec. 28: BSF, which is assigned to protect the borders, is causing difficulties for the villagers along the Bangladesh border. Yes, thousands of farmers of Cooch Behar district are worried about the excesses of BSF. They marched to the district magistrate’s office with a memorandum, alleging high-handedness of the BSF troops that guard the border and seeking administrative intervention.

Cooch Behar has a large population of minorities, whose livelihood depends on agriculture. However, farming on their land is difficult for these poor farmers, who not only have to seek permission from BSF to cultivate their land but also to tell them what to cultivate.

“The BSF stops us from cultivating jute and corn in our land and says such crops reduce visibility at the border,” said a farmer.

In fact, in some areas, the situation has reached such an extent that a farmer has to seek permission from the local BSF camp before planning the cultivation of any crop. “We are harassed on different pretexts and want the administration to step in. Farmers like us are facing huge problems at the border,” said Abdul Sattar, an elderly farmer.

“We have filed complaints with the police and the administration but no steps have been taken so far. That is why we have come to the district magistrate’s office today,” said another protester, Jainuddin Sarkar.

The protest march, organised by the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), had participants from the Tufanganj subdivision of the district. According to them, there are acres of farmland beyond the fences and many farmers are dependent on it.

In Tufanganj-I block alone, there are around 9,000 farmers who have farmland behind the fences. Each has at least 10 bighas of land, said Bakir Hossain, another farmer. Farmers demanded that the administration should see to it that they do not face any inconvenience.

“If the BSF doesn’t let us cultivate crops on our land, they should pay Rs. 30,000 as compensation for each bigha of land. Officials of the district administration should take up these issues with the BSF,” said a protester.

The BSF officials have refused to say anything on this matter.

Now, it’s to be seen what steps the Chief Minister will take on this matter. In the past, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and MP Abhishek Banerjee have questioned the BSF’s conduct in Cooch Behar.

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