IT IS disquieting that Border Security Force of India picked four Bangladeshi nationals from the bordering areas of Lalmonirhat and Thakurgaon on Sunday only a day after the border forces of Bangladesh and India had concluded a two-day medical camp in Dhauki border in Sylhet to improve relations between the forces and bordering people. The BSF members, as New Age reported on Monday, picked up a cattle trader from Durgapur border area of Lalmonirhat district early Sunday. According to a United News of Bangladesh report, as reported by New Age, the BSF members detained three others from Paria border of Thakurgaon district in the same hours of the same day. Notably, Border killing by the Border Security Force of India has been going on for quite a long time, if not incessantly, then intermittently. Dhaka’s protests lodged with New Delhi in this regard from time to time also failed to make the Indian authorities take necessary measures to avert recurrence of border killings in future. As such, there are also instances in which Indian nationals also pounced on Bangladeshi cattle traders on the suspicion that they were cattle thieves and beat them to death in the Indian territory.
The BSF director general promised at director general-level talks of Bangladesh and Indian border guards that the border guards of the two neighbouring countries would jointly try to put an end to the border killing. It should be pointed out that the BSF top brass have time and again assured and reassured their Bangladesh counterparts of effective steps against border killing and detaining Bangladeshis unnecessarily. However, such steps have hardly been forthcoming. Regrettably, the Awami League-led government has miserably failed to impress upon its Indian counterpart the growing public concern over repeated killings on the border. Against such a grim backdrop, it would perhaps not be unjustifiable to conclude that people on the other side of the border may increasingly feel justified in killing Bangladeshis on mere suspicion. It is all the more so given the express reluctance of the Indian authorities to bring the perpetrators of such killings to book and the Bangladesh government’s apparent inability or unwillingness to pursue justice. The detaining of these Bangladeshis by the BSF is, therefore, worrisome.
While India’s high-handed attitude, coupled with lack of sincerity, could be blamed for the killing and detaining of unarmed Bangladeshis by the Indian guards, the subservient attitude of the Awami League-led government of Bangladesh towards India is no less to blame. Bangladesh, at the moment, must take up the issue effectively with India and put in required political will and sincerity in its effort to get these Bangladeshi nationals back into the country from the clutches of the Border Security Force of India and prevent this kind of activities on the frontier, shaking off its policy of appeasement.
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