Thursday, February 09, 2012

Indian border guard chief remark outrage Bangladesh

SALEEM SAMAD

BANGLADESH GOVERNMENT, as well as the rights groups are outraged after the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) chief said that it is not possible to stop border firing completely.

The BSF director general U.K. Bansal told the BBC on Tuesday that it is not possible to stop border firing completely and his Bangladesh counterpart Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) chief Maj.Gen. Anwar Hossain disagrees and said on Thursday that killing at the border under any circumstances is not acceptable.

The remark is contrary to Indian government’s agreed policy and continues to maintain a shoot-at-sight policy for any Bangladeshi illegally crossing the international divide, foreign minister Dipu Moni told reporters on Thursday.

Last July, the Indian home affairs minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said the Indian guards will no longer shoot people crossing the porous border from Bangladesh. Instead the guards will use rubber bullets after warnings.

Two days after the anger is still being raged, two more Bangladeshi citizens on Thursday have been shot and wounded by BSF at Satkhira in south-east, lieutenant colonel Abu Bashir confirmed with the private wire service bdnews24.com.

Bangladesh Human Rights Commission chief Prof. Mizanur Rahman on Wednesday threatened to raise the issue at the United Nations Human Rights Council, unless BSF stops killing and torture of innocent Bangladeshis.

In December 2010, New York based Human Rights Watch in a report described the Indian border guards as "Trigger Happy" force and documented hundreds of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, torture, and ill-treatment by the BSF.

In January 18, 2012, Indian news channel NDTV showed a disturbing video of what appears to be a group of BSF guards in uniform beating up a young Bangladeshi man ruthlessly near the Bangladesh border after he allegedly refused to give them a bribe. BSF top officers acknowledged that this incident took place and the perpetrators were fired.

The rights groups Odikhar and Ain Shalish Kendra (ASK) documents the killings on the border have denounced the border killings as extrajudicial murders.

The NGO’s stated that it is one of the most dangerous international borders, where an estimated 350 Bangladeshis and 165 Indians have been killed by Indian forces since 2006, since India began to fence the borders.

India in the east, shares 2,544 miles of porous and soft border with Bangladesh and have constructed walls with barbed wire, roughly 70 percent border with Bangladesh to stop illegal border crossing. The rest of the border is running across the delta's shifting rivers, which are unfenceable, but patrolled.

Livestock, food stuffs, gun-running and drug trade are regularly brought from India into Bangladesh. Illegal immigrants from Bangladesh cross into India to find jobs.

However, Gen. Hossain said on Thursday that the incident of killing at the border is on the decline in the last two months.

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow, is an award winning investigative reporter based in Bangladesh. He specializes on Islamic terrorism, forced migration, good governance, press freedom and elective democracy. Ending his life in exile from Canada he has recently returned home. He was detained, tortured in 2002 and later expelled in 2004 for whistle-blowing of the safe sanctuary in Bangladesh of the Jihadist leaders who fled during Anglo-US invasion of Afghanistan. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com