DHAKA (Agencies): Bangladesh and India on Saturday agreed to launch joint border patrols to curb killings and crimes.
“Both sides have agreed to extend joint border patrolling, mass awareness programs and necessary socio-economic development activities with a view to downing the incidents of murders, injuries and attacks on unarmed civilians of both countries to zero level,” said a joint statement issued after a four-day conference attended by border forces of both countries in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.
“The BSF chief Rakesh Asthana stated that death or apprehension of criminals on the border are irrespective of nationalities. He further stated that BSF personnel fire with non-lethal weapons only in self-defence when they are surrounded by large numbers of miscreants armed with ”dah” (cleaver-shaped knife), sticks etc, and their lives are endangered.
“DG BSF assured that the death incidents along the border will be made to reduce significantly in near future,” a BSF spokesperson said in a statement issued in New Delhi.
Reiterating the need for joint efforts to uphold human rights and curb violence on the border, both the sides agreed to take extra precautionary measures along the border, including intensifying public awareness programmes, undertaking appropriate socio-economic development programmes and real-time information sharing, he said. The spokesperson said the two sides also decided to frame new standard operating procedures (SOPs) in view of crossing of “significant” number of mentally challenged Indian nationals to Bangladesh.
The two forces also decided to “share real-time information” with each other expeditiously through formal or informal channels regarding smuggling of narcotics, human trafficking, fake Indian currency notes (FICN), cattle, arms, ammunition, explosives, information related to anti-social elements, activities of IIGs (Indian Insurgent groups) and breaching or damaging of border fence, following commonly agre-ed specific formats, he said.
The spokesperson said both the forces “appreciated the efforts made to improve mutual relations through various confidence building measures (CBMs)”. “All the agreed events undertaken earlier in CBMs will be resumed once COVID-19 pandemic situation becomes normal,” he added.
BGB Director General Islam said that his Indian counterpart has assured me that “he would do his best to ensure that we can avoid the loss of human life.”
He said that Bangladesh has 4,427 km-long border with India which has many rivers, marshes, hills alongside plain lands. The BGB has set up outposts in every five km of the frontier.
They agreed to provide aid to the victims of human trafficking and facilitate their rescue and rehabilitation as per the law of the land.
Both the sides also agreed not to undertake any development work within the 150 yards of the border without prior information and to expedite the concurrence of all pending development works, officials said. They agreed to ensure that no unauthorised river bank protection works take place along the common border rivers.