Border killings: Dhaka calls them murder, New Delhi cites self-defence


Dhaka : Trespassers being killed by India’s Border Security Force (BSF) is the latest bone of contention at the ongoing talks between the top brass of the two neighbours’ border guards.

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Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) says the BSF personnel shot dead 55 “unarmed persons” this year, calling them �murders’.

The BSF says the people were smugglers and cattle-lifters who move across the international border under the cover of darkness and they shoot “in self-defence”.

The response of New Delhi to Dhaka’s plea to stop the killing of unarmed Bangladeshis by the BSF “was, as usual, lukewarm”, New Age newspaper said Monday about the talks that opened Sunday.

It quoted a source as saying that Dhaka requested the Indian border guards to stop such murders and abide by the international laws and the laws of their own country.

“In response, as on previous occasions, India argued on Sunday that such killing occurred as a self-defensive measure when trespassers, especially cattle traders, crossed the border.”

The Indian delegation also said Bangladeshis should “stop illegal trespassing which would reduce such killing”.

The Indian side also has to guard against movement of armed Islamist militants who operate on both sides of the border and separatist militant outfits active in its northeastern region.

At least two Bangladeshis in Dinajpur and Chuadanga districts were killed Sunday morning. More such incidents were reported last week.

“That the death count should be so high should shock any conscientious person, of whatever country. These killings somehow occur with an appalling frequency, and can only serve to cast a shadow on Indo-Bangladesh relationship which is entirely avoidable,” The Daily Star said in an editorial.

While smuggling of goods is a regular phenomenon along the 4,300 km border, cattle-lifting from Indian side to Bangladesh is on the rise.

The two sides agreed to strengthen joint patrols to prevent smuggling.

In the meeting, the BSF officials emphasised the need for making joint efforts to prevent human trafficking and cooperation in curbing trans-border crimes.

BDR Director General Major General Mainul Islam is leading a 22-member side while M.L. Kumawat, his Indian counterpart, leads an 18-member delegation in the talks.