For the first time in history, an 8.3-kilometre strip of the Bangladesh-India border has been declared a crime-free zone following a joint initiative of the two countries to clamp down on human trafficking, drugs and firearms smuggling, and terrorist activities.
The announcement was made at around 1pm on Friday in a small ceremony held at the border area between Sharsha in Jessore, Bangladesh and North 24 Pargana in West Bengal, India.
The ceremony was attended by Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) Director General Major General Abul Hossain, Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Director General Shri KK Sharma, and other senior officials from both BGB and BSF.
Also present were Jessore 1 lawmaker Sheikh Afil Uddin other local administrative officers, and media representatives including Ekushey TV CEO Bulbul Monjurul Ahsan, and Bangladesh Pratidin Editor-in-Chief and News 24 CEO, Nayeem Nizam.
The crime-free zone was established in the formerly vulnerable areas along the Bangladesh-India border following a 2017 proposal from Major General Abul Hossain in a BGB-BSF senior level meeting held in New Delhi.
With the agreement of Shri KK Sharma, the two border forces began preparations to declare the 8.3km of border area between Patuakhali and Daulatpur border outposts in Bangladesh and Kalyani and Gunarmath border outposts in India as a crime-free zone.
As a part of that preparation, BGB installed surveillance devices such as CCTV cameras, searchlights and thermal imagers on the Bangladesh side of the border to keep the area under close observation.
The BGB has also been raising awareness among the locals regarding crime prevention in the border area.
The BGB and the BSF will work as force multipliers to keep the zone safe for residents, while both countries will work to rehabilitate people found to be involved with border crimes, with assistance from the locals.