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Indo-Bangla border area killings 'continue': Demand to make public 'illegal actions'

By Our Representative 

Commenting on a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina at G20 summit, two West Bengal-based non-government organisations, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) and Odhikar, have recalled that exactly a year ago, on 7 September, 2022, a joint statement released by both the Prime Ministers, had expressed satisfaction that the “number of killings along the Indo-Bangladesh border had been reduced significantly.”
“They also praised the border guards of both the countries for their efforts to stop smuggling and trafficking across the border. However, ironically a few hours after the release of that statement, Minarul Islam, a minor Bangladeshi school student was shot dead at the Dainur border of South Dinajpur district by the Indian Border Security Force”, the two NGOs point out in a media communique.
The NGO communique, signed by Kirity Roy and ASM Nasiruddin Elan representing them, respectively, said, “It has been a matter of disgrace that the number of killings perpetrated by the border guards at the Indo-Bangladesh border has drastically escalated this decade.”
Stating that the Monmohan Singh government in July 2011 too made an effort to reduce border killings by introducing non-lethal weapons to the BSF at the Indo-Bangladesh border, the NGOs regret, “However, as soon as the Modi government came into power in 2014, the decision was made to revert back to the use of lethal weapons by the BSF, which resulted in rampant killings at this border.”
The NGOs claim, “An estimated population of around 60 thousand families resides in West Bengal within the Indo-Bangladesh border and border fence. This population, despite being bona fide citizens of India, are living under constant threats, physical torture and degrading treatment from the border guards.”
Praising border guards' actions by two Prime Ministers either reflects their naivety or their political intention to subdue illegal actions
They add, “Even after the joint statement issued by both the Prime Ministers last year, we have reported many incidents of killings by the border guards, along with inhuman torture perpetrated by them, upon the residents of the Indo-Bangladesh border villages.”
“Therefore”, they insist, “Praising the border guards' actions by the Prime Ministers either reflected their naivety on the issue or their political intention to subdue the illegal actions of the forces of these two neighbouring countries.”
“Now in the light of the G-20 summit, as Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visits India and meets the Indian Prime Minister, we demand that the year-old statement and its implications, made by the Prime Ministers, be reconsidered”, the NGOs’ communique says.
“We demand that the exact number of killings and enforced disappearances, along the Indo-Bangladesh border should come to light and the responsible border guards be tried under law for the human rights violations and crimes committed. If the true intent of the governments of both countries is to bring peace at the border, then their actions should start with ending impunity within two friendly neighboring countries by taking punitive actions against the guilty personnel”, they add.

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