AFTER a schoolboy of Goalpara in Chuadanga was shot at point-blank range on May 14, 2016 by the Indian Border Security Force, the Border Guard Bangladesh and the BSF agreed at the 42nd director general-level talks between the two border forces in Dhaka on May 16, 2016 to carry out ‘joint investigation’ into border killings. Regrettably, the Indian side now disagrees with that decision, that too on a flimsy ground. At the 44th border talks between the two forces, which began in Dhaka on as New Age reported on Monday, the Indian delegation led by BSF chief argued that the Indian home ministry was against joint investigation into such incidents as the police, not the border forces, were responsible for investigation. Moreover, they agreed to carry out ‘joint verification’ or ‘joint appraisal’ of border killings. One has reasons to describe all this as a ploy on Indian part to avoid the responsibility of such gruesome killings that have been perpetrated for long by its security force members in violation of all bilateral treaties, agreement and international norms. The BSF authorities ignored BGB’s all requests over joint investigation of the border killings. More than 28 Bangladeshi civilians had been shot dead by BSF in the period.
The BGB earlier sent a draft of the joint investigation form to BSF authorities. But the latter kept the former waiting over its response till date, saying that the Indian home ministry did not approve the plan. In fact, there has so far been hardly any example in which the BSF authorities kept their words given on preventing border killing. The force’s top brass repeatedly assured their Bangladesh counterparts of not allowing the BSF to use lethal weapons along the Bangladesh border in the period only to forget later. One can also recall here the Felani murder in which the BSF authorities are yet to live up to their promise to ensure justice although more than six years have gone by since the girl was shot dead by a BSF member on the barbed wire fence along the Kurigram border. It cannot be denied that it is essentially the India appeasement policy pursued by the incumbent government like its predecessors which has emboldened the Indian authorities to disregard bilateral agreements like the one on joint investigation of border killing.
In any case, the BGB top brass need to assert that their Indian counterparts must live up to their earlier pledges to bring down border killing to zero without any delay. As a part of this, all the incidents of border killing should be investigated properly and credibly.
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