Special Indian court begins trial of BSF soldier accused of killing Bangladeshi teenager

The trial of an Indian paramilitary soldier accused of killing of a Bangladeshi girl along the border between the countries began Tuesday, an Indian official said.

A special court in Cooch Behar town of West Bengal state began hearing the case of the border guard accused of killing the 15-year-old girl as she was crossing into Bangladesh in January 2011, said B. D. Sharma, a spokesman for India’s Border Security Force.

The paramilitary force had set up a special court for the trial of the guard, Amiya Ghosh. It is the first time a BSF soldier has gone on trial for a border killing.

The girl’s father and Bangladeshi officials were expected to travel to India later this month to testify at the trial.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has repeatedly criticized the Indian force in recent years for killing Bangladeshis along the border. It has branded the Indian force as a “trigger happy” agency and urged India to investigate all killings along its border.

The South Asian neighbours are often at odds over issues involving their nearly 4,000-kilometre (2,500-mile) border. India says Bangladeshis sneak over illegally. Bangladesh accuses Indian troops of using extreme violence along the border.

India says most of the people killed along the border are smugglers. Bangladesh has long urged the use of non-lethal weapons against anyone trying to cross the border illegally.

India says there are camps of Indian insurgents inside Bangladesh, but Dhaka says the claim is unfounded.