Shabbo Kumari patrols the border

Photo by Poulomi Basu

The Lens blog at has a photo essay by Poulomi Basu about women guards of the Indian Border Security Force.

Most of the recruits were from impoverished rural areas. If she could observe them not only in training but with their families as well, she would be able to tell the story of their transformation from villagers into soldiers.

The most haunting image Basu has  is the one above.

One of the most riveting photographs shows a dead man hanging upside down, his legs caught in the high barbed wire fence that India has constructed to demarcate the border. Guards had shot the man as he and others tried to enter Pakistan near Attari, in Punjab State, Ms. Basu said.

She was taken to the spot by the media chaperones of the border patrol. “’Madam, here, see the blood,’” Ms. Basu recalled them saying.

These minders were unsure what she could be allowed to photograph. In the end, however, they not only allowed her to take pictures, they supplied the equipment. Her Nikon F80 had stopped working earlier in the day, she said, and the minders loaned her a Canon point-and-shoot.

“They were actually proud that they had killed these guys, but they were worried about the accusations of human rights violations,” Ms. Basu said. “They told me, ‘This is not what people ever get to see.’” [See the full photo essay here.]

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