Friday, March 25, 2011

Indian border guard killed, maimed nearly 300 Bangladeshi

SALEEM SAMAD

THE "TRIGGER happy” Indian border guards have killed and maimed more than 300 Bangladeshi along the international border between two countries, which never had a war.

Home Affairs Minister Ms Sahara Khatun told parliament on Thursday that since January 2009 till March 2011, a total of 136 Bangladeshi have been killed by Indian border forces, while 170 villagers living along the international border suffered bullet wounds.

She told the parliamentarians that the two countries sat in flag meetings several times to defuse the border tensions.
Khatun assured that two Ministry level meetings in last December and January this year in Bangladesh and Indian capitals agreed to zero-killing by Indian border guards (BSF). India vows to rein in 'trigger-happy' soldiers along Bangladesh border.

New York-based Human Rights Watch in December alleged that Indian troops used excessive force at the Bangladesh border. In a report titled "Trigger Happy," the organization charged that the BSF killed people with impunity at the border. HRW said that more than 900 people had been killed over the past 10 years along Bangladesh's western border with India.

The HRW report documented a pattern of abuse by BSF against both Bangladeshi and Indian nationals in the border area of West Bengal state. The abuses include cases of indiscriminate killing and torture.

In a joint memorandum in March, India has agreed to equip its border guards with non-lethal weapons to stop killing unarmed Bangladeshis along its border. [ENDS]

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes in Jihad, forced migration, good governance and politics. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com