IT IS, although shocking, but not surprising that India’s Border Security Force personnel shot at a Bangladeshi young man when they fired into a group of cattle traders in the Ratnai frontiers of Thakurgaon on Thursday. Indian guards, as New Age reported on Friday, fired into Bangladeshis when they were returning to Bangladesh. Not only that, the Indian border guards killed two Bangladeshi students on the Khoshalpur border in Jhenaidah on June 20, according to another report. Border killing by the Indian guards has been going on for quite a long time. Dhaka’s protests lodged with New Delhi in this regard failed to make the Indian authorities take necessary measures to avert the recurrence of border killings. There are instances in which Indian citizens also attacked Bangladeshi cattle traders on the suspicion that they were cattle thieves and beat them to death in India. There are reasons to believe that in such cases, the killers could very well have been inspired by the impunity with which the Indian border sentinels have killed hundreds of Bangladeshis over the years.
The Indian guards are reported to have orchestrated the intrusion of Indian citizens into Bangladesh on a number of occasions, either to catch fish or harvest crops. The Border Security Force’s director general promised at director general-level talks with Bangladesh that the border guards of the two neighbouring countries would jointly try to end the border killing. It should be pointed out that the ranking BSF officials have time and again assured and reassured their Bangladesh counterparts of effective steps against border killing. However, such steps have hardly been forthcoming. Regrettably, the Awami League 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.
Conscious sections of the Indian society have consistently condemned such violations of human rights on the border and criticised their government’s failure to put an end to these. While India’s high-handed attitude, coupled with lack of sincerity, could be blamed for the killing of unarmed Bangladeshis by the Indian guards, the subservient attitude of the Awami League government towards India is no less to blame. At the moment, Bangladesh must take up the issue effectively with India and put in required political will and sincerity in its efforts to prevent further death in the frontiers, shaking off its policy of appeasement.
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