India on Saturday once again assured Bangladesh that its Border Security Force would not shoot dead any unarmed civilians, under any circumstances, on the borders.
The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a ‘Coordinated Border Management Plan’ to check crimes such as killing, human trafficking and drug smuggling.
‘We have issued strict instructions to our Border Security Force to the effect that in no circumstances should its personnel fire on anyone trying to cross the border, either from Bangladesh to India or India to Bangladesh. The message has been aimed at the jawans,’ said the Indian home affairs minister, P Chidambaram, at a joint press conference held after official talks with his Bangladesh counterpart, Sahara Khatun, in the Bangladesh Secretariat.
Consequently, the number of casualties from shooting, he claimed, has significantly come down to seven this year from 33 last year.
When he was told that a Bangladeshi national was stoned to death on Lalmonirhat border, Chidambaram said that the allegation has been flatly denied.
The Indian minister, however, said that firing might be justified only when a gang actually attacks the BSF.
Despite such assurances from India time and again, the killing of innocent
Bangladeshis by trigger-happy BSF personnel still continues.
He arrived in Dhaka on Friday night for a 24-hour official visit.
Chidambaram led a 12-member delegation while Sahara Khatun led a 17-member delegation at the meeting that lasted for one and a half hour.
‘We have been assured that the BSF will not shoot dead any unarmed civilians on the border in the future,’ Sahara told reporters.
She said that Bangladesh has protested strongly whenever such killings took place on the border.
The director general of the Border Guard Bangladesh, Major General Anwar Hussain, and director general of the Border Security Force, Raman Srivastava, signed the MoU on the ‘Coordinated Border Management Plan’ on behalf of their governments in the presence of the ministers.
Both the countries will increase patrols in ‘designated areas’ along the border to check cross-border crimes and illegal movement of persons, according to the border management plan. Bangladesh and India share a porous border of 4,098 kilometres.
Both the sides hoped that the agreement would improve the quality of border management and security.
The Indian minister, referring to the implementation of the Indira-Mujib land boundary agreement of 1974, said that all the border-related issues, including exchange of the enclaves, 6.5 kilometres of un-demarcated border areas and the lands in adverse possession were discussed at the meeting.
Chidambaram confidently said that these long-standing issues would be resolved during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in 6-7 September, 2011.
When reporters drew his attention to Bangladesh’s demand for extradition of two convicted killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family — Captain [retired] Abdul Majed and Risaldar Moslehuddin Ahmed — the Indian home minister said that they might be hiding in India.
‘No resources will be spared to apprehend them…But we need more intelligence about their location,’ he told reporters.
In reply to a question, he claimed that the Indian premier had not said that 25 per cent of the Bangladeshis are anti-Indians and in the clutches of the ISI (Pakistani intelligence agency). ‘No such statement has been made by our prime minister.’
Chidambaram separately called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and foreign affairs minister Dipu Moni on Saturday afternoon.
Dipu Moni told Chidambaram that the recurrent killing on the border does not reflect the existing excellent relations between the two countries, according to meeting sources.
Chidambaram was scheduled to leave Dhaka for Delhi in a plane of the Indian Air Force on Saturday night
Source: NEW AGE