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Ramifications of Indo-Bangla border talks on shooting, killing, injuring ‘unarmed’ citizens

By Safowan Hossain Khan* 

The 53rd Director General (DG) level border conference between the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and the Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) took place in Delhi from June 11 to 14, lasting four days. Major General AKM Nazmul Hasan, Director General of BGB, led a 14-person delegation from Bangladesh while Sujoy Lal Thaosen, Director General of BSF, led a 10-person team from India at the four-day conference.
The meeting covered topics such as shooting, killing, and injuring unarmed Bangladeshi citizens near the border as well as smuggling different kinds of contraband into Bangladeshi territory.
On the first day of the discussion, it was also discussed how to get rid of unlicensed development infrastructure and other blocked development projects within 150 yards of the border as well as the infiltration of forcibly displaced Myanmar citizens into Bangladesh via the Indian border.
The conference also covered a number of other topics, such as the construction of an effective water treatment facility to remove waste water from the border canal that runs from Agartala to Akhaura, the reopening of the Rahimpur Canal's mouth with the Kushiara River in Jokiganj, the exchange of information on potential locations for regional separatist armed terrorist groups' camps and their activities, and the prevention of Indian telecom networks from expanding inside Bangladeshi borders.
The expansion of bilateral relations, the efficient implementation of the "Coordinated Border Management Plan-CBMP" to handle border management and border-related issues, and different efforts aimed at boosting mutual trust and goodwill were also covered.
The identical Bangladesh-India border gave rise to a number of issues such as cross border smuggling, terrorist activities, border fencing, human and drug trafficking, border killing etc that often vitiated friendly relations between the two neighbours. More importantly, millions of people living in the border continue to suffer economic hardships and physical restrictions due to frequent incidents along the border.
In order to improve local life and ease border tensions, the border guarding forces of India and Bangladesh have decided to launch five development projects along their 4,096-kilometer shared border.
Five development projects were decided upon, to enhance efforts towards regional progress and prosperity
A bailey bridge will be built, roads will be repaired, and retaining walls will be strengthened, among the five projects. The initiatives will be carried out in Assam, West Bengal, Mizoram, Meghalaya, and Tripura, five bordering states.
Construction of a bailey bridge over the Sonai River in Mohanpur, which is on this side of the border, is one of the projects, according to BSF personnel. Bangladesh intended to finish the Ramgarh School building. Similar to this, the two sides agreed to build a brick road close to the Tripuran city of Dharmanagar's Ragna Nagar Land Customs Station.
BGB received approval with a rider for electrical supply network expansion work close to the Jhalongi and Vitorbari pockets on the other side of the border. BGB received approval with a rider for electrical supply network expansion work close to the Jhalongi and Vitorbari pockets on the other side of the border. 
It was mutually agreed that construction projects could proceed "without changing the course of the river and sluice gate" that serve as Tripura's border markers. Additionally, the two nations approved the building of retaining walls along the rivers Bugai and Mymensingh on both sides of the border.
A total of five development projects were decided upon, enhancing the joint efforts towards progress and prosperity in the region. The decision will have a profoundly positive impact on the lives of the population along the India-Bangladesh border. This choice demonstrated the two prime ministers' shared commitment to giving development projects that benefit border communities and fulfill their ambitions first priority.
The two forces agreed to have a meeting of nodal officers within a month to resolve issues relating to infrastructure and development projects. The single row border fencing is also in progress. According to the BSF, the two friendly neighbors also agreed to "pursue and share real-time information and interrogation reports of traffickers (if any) and assured to remain extra vigilant to curb them in order to make the India-Bangladesh border crime free.
On the subject of violent incidents along the border, both neighbors agreed to work cooperatively and professionally, increase joint patrolling, vigilance particularly during the late hours of the night to early morning, intensify public awareness campaigns, share real-time information, and make every effort to bring these criminals to justice.
*Bangladesh researcher specializing in South Asian affairs


Kirity Roy said…
Date: 21st June, 2023


Recently, at camp Chhawla in New Delhi the 53rd DG-level conference of BSF and BGB (Border Guard Bangladesh) took place between 11th and 14th June. It is disheartening to note that the primary demand of the border populace, i.e. bringing down border killing to zero, has again failed to take the center-stage during the talk. We have seen earlier that it has already been decided that the border between India and Bangladesh will be free of lethal weapons. Even during the prime ministerial meeting between Mr. Narendra Modi and Ms. Sheikh Haseena it was pledged that the number of border killings will be brought down to zero. But, in this recent meeting between the DGs of the two forces as we noticed, all these pledges and goals were thoroughly disregarded.

We are celebrating the 75th anniversary of independence in India. Similarly in Bangladesh, it is the 52nd anniversary. But still we are unable to create a safe and humane space in the bordering region between India and Bangladesh. Till date it is bearing the ill-repute of being one bloodiest border in the world and as Human Rights Watch named, one of the most trigger-happy regions in the world.

It is ridiculous that this tortuous regime is running all of these shams in the name of curtailing smuggling while these forces themselves are corrupt in an astronomical proportion. It is an open secret that the smuggling business runs under the protection of BSF and BGB itself while innocent people get shot and killed.

We know that India is an exporter of beef to the West. Then why is it so difficult to legalize the trade of cows with Bangladesh? If legalized, it will definitely be a fruitful step to cut down cross-border cow smuggling. In the 2217 km long international border between West Bengal and Bangladesh, there is no single Border Hat. Instead of taking these fruitful steps, the authorities are hell-bent to take futile and violent steps.

The authorities must remember that the two countries in question here are friendly states. Then why are they treating this border the same as the Indo-Pak border? We, MASUM, fail to understand that. Thus we strongly demand that the Indo-Bangladesh border must be administered along the similar line of the border between India & Nepal and India & Bhutan. The region of West Bengal through which the Indo-Bangladesh border runs through is geographically and culturally continuous with the neighboring country. It was merely a random partition by a British official named Cyril Radcliffe. The region is densely populated and highly marginalized. We, MASUM, demand that all these factors must be kept in mind and the authorities of both the countries should immediately take a departure to achieve an amicable and humane solution of the border issues.

Kirity Roy




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