Border Guard Bangladesh director general major general Md Shafeenul Islam on Wednesday said Bangladeshi people were being killed 20 kilometres inside India and he condemned those incidents as ‘killings’ in the name of fighting petty crimes while refusing to accept the conventional category — ‘border killing.’
Border Guard Bangladesh chief came up with a new definition at a programme held at the border force headquarters in Peelkhana during the inaugural ceremony of a Data Centre.
The BGB chief went on to add, ‘Human life is very important whether it is our citizen or theirs. Our force is cognizant of human rights. No killing is acceptable to us.’
‘But the term border killing is a misnomer. It implies that the killing has taken place on the border,’ the BGB chief told the reporters and hastened to ask, ‘Can we term these murders “border killings” when they take place 15 to 20 kilometres inside [Indian] border?’
He pointed out to the journalist that a spade should be called a spade and termed every murder as ‘killing.’ He further said that it is killing in the name of fighting ‘petty crimes’.
If the killing took place within 200 yards of the border or on the no man’s land it could be termed as border killing, he argued.
Asked whether he had any statistics on such killings inside the Indian territory or in areas proximal to the border, he said this year eight Bangladeshis were killed so far.
BGB chief took issue with such incidents. ‘Why do members of Indian Border Security Force are killing Bangladeshis instead of arresting them. Bangladeshi people were getting killed when the Indian force were supposed to use non-lethal weapons instead of lethal ones,’ he added.
The BSF troops join the rank from various regions across India including Kashmir, and they need more time to become sensitised to the people living near the border areas. They easily become ‘trigger-happy’ when Bangladeshis are involved, said the BGB chief.
Last year, he said border killing was reported until October. It increased slightly during the winter.
‘Due to the fog in winter, the illegal trespassing usually increases. People cross the border even by cutting the barbed wire fences,’ said BGB chief.
He said they have intensified their vigilance along the western frontier so that none can cross the border.
‘We are arresting people every day when they set out to cross the border,’ he added.
According to the Border Guard chief, they have now a digital surveillance system in place on Putkhali border to check the border crime while another surveillance system was under trial on Tekhnaf border.
They have started getting benefits of the surveillance systems, he said, adding, ‘We expect that human trafficking and smuggling will reduce in the border regions.’
He said their troops were facing extreme hardship to protect the borders. ‘We can give better protection of borders once we will have border road that are yet to be constructed,’ he said, adding, ‘There are many border outposts which need seven days to reach.’
Binoy Krishna Mallik, executive director of Rights Jessore, said it doesn’t matter how far the place of incident is from the border, it is important whether it is related to the border or border forces. These are nothing but border killings,’ he told New Age.
As of February 3, 2019, the Indian Border Security Force shot dead seven Bangladeshi in less than five weeks along the Bangladesh-India border.
According to Ain o Salish Kendra six Bangladeshis were shot dead by BSF along border in January, four of them on the Thakurgaon frontier and one each on Nilphamari and Rajshahi border.
In 2018, ‘trigger-happy’ BSF killed 14 Bangladeshis, according to the Kendra.
According to Odhikar, at least 1,144 Bangladeshi were killed by the Indian border force between 2001 and 2018. Bangladesh and India share a border of 2,429 miles.
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