BGB protests at continued border killings
BSF pledges justice in Felani killing caseStaff Correspondent
Dhaka once again protested at frequent incidents of killing and shooting on the frontier as the border forces of Bangladesh and India began a director-general level conference in Dhaka on Sunday.
The Indian Border Security Force assured the Border Guard Bangladesh that they were trying to bring the incidents of killing down to ‘zero level’ claiming that the BSF was using non-lethal weapons along the border.
In the meeting behind closed doors at the Peelkhana headquarters of BGB, the BSF director general, Subhash Joshi, also assured Bangladesh that justice would be done in the Felani killing case.
The acquittal of the accused in the Felani killing case triggered strong protests in Bangladesh. Besides, the Indian plan to deploy drones to the border also caused concern in Bangladesh.
The BSF on Friday announced it was going to hold ‘a revision trial’ in the Felani Khatun killing case.
The BSF had shot dead Felani on January 7, 2011, when she was crossing the border into Bangladesh over barbed-wire fences at Anantapur of Phulbari in Kurigram along with her father.
The Bangladesh side expressed concern over all types of killings along the border, especially since the last DG-level meeting was held in New Delhi in March.
BSF has killed 15 Bangladeshi citizens between March and July this year.
Despite repeated assurances, the Indian border guards have killed at least 986 Bangladesh nationals, including 15 children, by different means like using bullets and explosives, and beating since 2000, according to rights watchdog Odhikar.
The DG-level talks discussed ways to curb smuggling of weapons, particularly small firearms, across the border.
The BGB sought cooperation from its Indian counterparts to tackle the crime.
The BSF admitted that it was happening as organised gangs of gun-runners were active along the frontier.
The BSF chief suggested coordination among the agencies concerned of the two countries over the matter as both the countries were going to hold elections soon.
BSF expressed concerns about the production of forged Indian currency notes and sought Bangladesh’s cooperation in this regard.
BGB officials told the BSF delegation that Dhaka was also concerned about the matter and had formed a task force to tackle the problem.
The BSF requested sharing of intelligence about production of fake currency notes.
On the sidelines of the meeting, the BSF tried to convince the BGB that they had no plan to use unmanned aerial vehicles along the Bangladesh border.
The BGB director general, Major General Aziz Ahmed, told New Age, ‘All relevant issues have been discussed.’
The conference tried to find ways to stop killings and injuries in the frontiers and smuggling of arms and drugs in line with the Coordinated Border Management Plan which was signed on July 30, 2011.
It also discussed resumption of the regular meetings between deputy commissioners of Bangladeshi districts and district magistrates of the districts concerned in India apart from the regular BGB-BSF level meetings.
The DG-level meeting takes place twice a year, one in Dhaka and another in New Delhi.
The BGB-BSF DG-level meeting will continue till September 19 at the Peelkhana, the officials said.
Major General Aziz is leading a 19-member Bangladesh team and BSF director general Subhash Joshi is heading a 20-member Indian team to the border talks.
Five Indian states — West Bengal, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Assam and Tripura — share a 2,429-miles of border stretch with Bangladesh.
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