Indian Border Security Force (BSF) has so far killed 68 Bangladeshi nationals along the borders since 2009, Home Minister Sahara Khatun told Parliament on Monday. Replying to independent member Mohammad Fazlul Azim, she said, 14 Bangladeshi citizens were killed since January this year.
The Home minister said the Bangladesh Rifles strongly protested against the killings. Besides, during the Prime Minister’s visit to India in last January the matter was discussed with special importance and efforts are underway to find out permanent solutions to this problem. Diplomatic efforts also continued in this respect.
Replying to a supplementary question of Jatiya Party lawmaker Nawab Ali Abbas Khan on the BSF firing on Bangladeshi villagers at Jointapur in Sylhet leaving many people wounded, minister Khatun said the government is looking into it and initiatives are on to resolve it.
Tension escalated in the Sylhet border on Monday after the Indian BSF turned down a Bangladesh Rifles request to stop Indian nationals from intruding into Bangladesh territory, on the pretext that the
Indian government had not given them the authority to do so. The BDR Sylhet sector commander Colonel Niamul Islam Fatemi had told “New Age” over telephone on Monday evening that they had requested the BSF officials in the flag meeting to ask Indian nationals not to cross into Bangladesh territory.
The BDR official told his Indian counterpart in the meeting that if the BSF did not prevent their people from intruding into Bangladesh, the BDR could not ask Bangladesh nationals not to resist the Indians.
‘The land belongs to them [Bangladeshis] and we cannot ask them to hand over their ownership to others,’ Colonel Fatemi had said.
Indian civilians are accused of trespassing and fishing in Kendribil marsh, some 300 metres inside Bangladesh territory. At least 15 Bangladeshis were reported injured when the BSF and Indian Khasia tribesmen opened fire on Bangladeshi villagers on Sunday afternoon when they tried to resist the Indian nationals from fishing in the Kendribil marsh.
Sources said the tension triggered by digging of bunkers and taking position with heavy weapons by the BSF about 150m inside Bangladesh territory in Pratappur border on Thursday night seemed to diminish Monday noon as the BSF agreed to sit in a flag meeting.
Residents of villages along the Pratappur border, including Uttar Pratappur, Hazipur, Dhalarpar, Balurkona and Pangthumai, who fled their homes Friday morning did not return till Monday.
Home Minister Sahara Khatun mentioned the BDR-BSF Director General level meeting held in New Delhi on March 7-12, when the matter was also discussed.
Replying to AL member Apu Ukil, the Home Minister said that of the 68 victims, two were shot dead within Bangladesh territory. Bangladesh Rifles strongly protested in writing against the killings. She said of the 68 people killed by BSF, 10 were killed between the zero line and Indian barbed wire fence, 38 outside the barbed wire fence, 17 in the area where there is no barbed wire and one in marshy land.
The Home Minister said a proposal from the BDR is under consideration of the government to stop the killing of the innocent Bangladeshis by BSF.
(UNB, Sangsad Bhaban and Bangla info sources )
Tuesday March 16, 2010