Monday, June 23, 2008

Abuse uproar at BSF camp

OUR BUREAU & AGENCIES
Srinagar/Patna, June 22: A group of 110 Bihar police recruits deserted a BSF training centre in Udhampur after a trainee alleged sexual harassment, prompting twin investigations by the force and the Bihar government.

BSF deputy inspector-general J.B. Sangwan confirmed that an investigation had been launched into the allegations but said they “appeared to have been cooked up”.

“Around 110 of them have left but the rest are with us. Many were of a higher age and, perhaps, finding the training tough, incited others to leave the camp,” Sangwan said. A three-member panel will conduct the investigation.

Those who fled were part of a batch of 372 Bihar constables who had arrived at the camp a week back to be trained for 40 weeks in ways to combat Naxalite guerrillas.

Bihar police chief S.C. Jha said in Patna a commandant of the Bihar Military Police, Ramnarayan Singh, had left for Udhampur last night to conduct the probe.

Like Sangwan, Jha suggested that the allegation appeared “frivolous”, saying it may have been fabricated by trainees unable to cope with the rigours. “The BSF camp is very tough. The cops might have cooked up a cock-and-bull story to escape the sessions.”
The BSF filed a “missing” report with the police. Udhampur police chief Ashkoor Wani said since he hadn’t received any specific complaint from the Bihar recruits, no case was registered.

On Friday evening, the recruits staged a dharna in front of the training centre and did not call off their protest even after senior BSF officers tried to pacify them. “The protests continued till late in the evening. On Saturday morning, they boarded a train to Jammu and then went to Bihar,” a police official said. Bihar officials confirmed the trainees had reached their villages.

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