April 17, 2005


Almost three corners of is surrounded by India. There have been many border clashes between Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) & Indian Border Security Force (BSF) in the recent years. A human rights report says one Bangladeshi was killed in every five days on an average. BSF members often killed and kidnapped Bangladeshi farmers without any reason. A total of 466 people were injured, 467 arrested, 491 kidnapped, 39, including eight children, missing and five women raped by BSF, the report also claims.

Now what is the reason behind those killings? In many of the border areas adjacent villages share common compounds or agricultural fields divided by the invisible border. That doesn't stop the people from crossing over to smuggle goods or earn their livelihood and come back home. The troublemakers are the border patrols. They demand extortions and interfere with their free movement. And of course they have the license to kill at will citing a border tresspassing. India has been pushing since long to complete border fencing to deter economic migrants from Bangladesh to India. In my opinion this move will also be beneficial for Bangladesh because it will decrease the illegal border trade which is twice of the documented ones and this will eventually protect Bangladesh's manufacturing industries. But what India is doing is that they are building the fences within 150 yards of the no-mans zone, which is a violation of international rules. And in many cases they are aggressive in their intensions. Bangladesh has made it clear that if the fencing is done outside the no-mans zone it has no problem with it.

In addition, there are also some disputed territories which are still unreconciled. The perils of keeping disputes alive culminated to more bloody battles which only hampered the two countries relations and did not establish anything.

Yesterday there was another shootout between BDR & BSF in Akhaura district bordering the Indian state Tripura. There are reports that three Bangladeshis killed including a girl in the shootout. However the Hindustan times gave a completely different view of the incident. If you read the Indian media, you will know that BDR open fired, BSF jawans was injured etc. They just simply ignored the Bangladeshi casualties.

It is ironic that the percentage of Indian civilians death is very negligible. That means most of the time the Bagladeshi civilians are targeted in the shootouts and by whose gun they are killed is self explanatory. And I think the BSF Jawans were shot at by BDR to defend the civilians and themselves.

I am still in search of the truth behind the border shootouts and why many Bangladeshi civilians are killed. I hope that the border fencing is completed in quick time so that no more Bangladeshi civilians (and Indians in the process) are killed. Meanwhile Bangladesh government should raise this issue in international quarters and demand proper investigation. Whichever side is found guilty, should compensate the affected families.

I wonder how long the Indian media would continue to have a jaundiced eye-view on these incidents.

Related: Nitin posts his views on this.

Update: This is turning out to be a lengthy brawl. India & Bangladesh both have claimed willful, unprovoked attack by the opposite side. Meanwhile the Indian media is still ignoring the Bangladesh civilian casualties and fabricating how the BSF personnel was dragged by force (?) 250 yards inside Bangladesh Territory. The India-Bangladesh border trade on the other side of the country was put on a halt because of these incidents. Indian BSF is now empowered with shoot at sight orders and lets see how more civilians have to die to establish their superiority.

Further Update: I seem to have been vague in the number of Bangladeshis killed by BSF. The number is stunning - 377 killed in last five years. And yet Bangladesh government has not asked for probes and asked for compensation from Indian government.

The tension seems to have diffused and Bangladesh ordered probe for the BSF jawan killed. For the 377 Bangladeshis killed above was there any probe or concern?


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