Sunday, April 14, 2024

BSF says 7 killed in 2011, reports say 21

BSF assures BGB of ending border killing
India’s Border Security Force director general Raman Shrivastava on Friday reassured his Bangladesh counterpart of ending the killing of Bangladeshis in the frontiers.
Raman at a joint briefing at the Border Guard Bangladesh headquarters in Dhaka after the director general-level meeting between the BGB and the BSF said that the border killing was unfortunate and they regretted it. The meeting began on September 26.
‘We have no intention of killing… What you say killing is actually not killing but death… It has come down significantly,’ he claimed.
He also claimed that the border killing was gradually decreasing and the number was 55 in 2009 but in 2011 so far, the number came down to 7.
The BSF arrested 685 Bangladeshis in 2009, 1638 in 2010 and 2,300 in 2011, he said.
There were 333 instances of fence-cutting in 2008, 566 in 2009, 924 in 2010 and 637 in 2010, said the BSF chief.
Rights activists, however, have doubted the BSF chief’s commitment as he quoted ‘wrong statistics’ about the borders killings.
According to rights organisation Odhikar, 21 Bangladeshis were killed by the BSF and six more by Indian civilians in the frontiers between January 1 and August 31, 2011.
According to figures available with Odhikar, 998 Bangladeshis were killed, 996 injured, 226 arrested, 957 abducted and 14 raped by BSF personnel or Indian hooligans and 107 went missing after being attacked allegedly by them between January 1, 2000 and August 31, 2011.
Of the victims, 75 were killed and 335 injured by
the Indian civilians while BSF personnel were responsible for other remaining incidents.
Between January 6, 2009 and August 31, 2011, a total of 200 Bangladeshis were killed, 215 injured, 74 abducted and a woman was raped in the frontiers.
Of the victims, 7 were killed and 15 injured by the Indian civilians while others were made victim by the BSF, the Odhikar report says.
The Border Guard Bangladesh director general, Anwar Hossain, also contested the figure of killing given by the Border Security Force.
He told New Age that the actual figure was much more than seven, as claimed by the BSF chief.
The killing and other human rights violations by the BSF in the borders still go unabated despite repeated pledges made by the Indian authorities.
Promising an end to border killings, Raman on March 12 said, ‘Non-lethal weapons will be given to the border guards in sensitive areas of the India-Bangladesh frontiers.’
He made the remarks at a joint press briefing after a five-day meeting between the director generals in New Delhi.
On Friday, Raman also said that the BSF had introduced non-lethal weapons in many places to stop border killings.
‘Following the announcement,’ Odhikar secretary Adilur Rahman said, ‘the BSF has now resorted to the medieval tactic of killing Bangladeshis, by stoning and stabbing, and hitting them with rifle butts or running speeding boats over them.’
The BSF has, however, killed 16 unarmed Bangladeshis till August 31 since Raman made the remarks.
At Friday’s briefing, BGB director general Anwar Hossain said that border killings were unacceptable and such killings hampered good neighbourly relations.
‘It has for long been a source of tension between the two countries but it has come down after the summit between the two prime ministers that was held in early September in Dhaka,’ he said.
He also said, ‘India has assured us that they would take necessary steps to stop such killings.’
The BGB follows international norms and never open fire on Indian civilians who cross the borders, the BGB chief said. ‘In case of illegal border crossing, we arrest the persons.’
The BSF has been asked to follow such international norms, he said.
Anwar said that there were some problems when the Tin Bigha Corridor was opened for 24 hours but ‘things are now okay.’
India announced unfettered access to Dahagram and Angarpota through the Tin Bigha Corridor during the visit of Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh  to Bangladesh in September 6-7.
There will be coordinated efforts to manage the long and porous border and a management plan has already been developed, the BGB chief said.
‘The BGB and the BSF have agreed to control drug and human trafficking and illegal movement along the border,’ he said.
The BSF chief said that joint border management would get a complete shape by October 31.
India has handed over a list of criminals and insurgents and forged currency traffickers to Bangladesh and urged action against them, he said appreciating Bangladesh for taking action in this regard.
He said forged currency was not made in Bangladesh rather it was used as transit to reach India.
Anwar said that in 2010, the BSF had handed over some lists but subsequent operations did not yield much of a result. ‘We will hunt the criminals.’

-With New Age input

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