In the first ten months of 2020, a total of 40 people were killed in border violence on the Indo-Bangla border
Despite repeated promises by its top brass to bring down border killings, the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) gunned down two local young Bangladeshis along the India-Bangladesh border at Betna in Haripur upazila of Thakurgaon early yesterday.
The deceased, identified as Nazir Uddin, 28, of Haripur upazila and Rabiul Islam, 26, of Baliadangi upazila, were local cattle traders, according to Haripur police station Officer-in-Charge (OC) SM Aurangzeb.
The men, police said, along with their associates decided to cross the border at Betna and trespass into India early on Tuesday to bring home cattle illegally.
After they entered India, the cattle rustlers were spotted at Phulbari in Uttar Dinajpur, at which point the Border Security Force or BSF opened fire at them. The shooting left Nazir and Rabiul injured. They were rescued and brought back to Bangladesh territory by their associates. They succumbed to their injuries while on their way to hospital.
OC Aurangzeb said the bodies had been sent to Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital morgue for autopsy.
Meanwhile, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB-50 battalion) Commander Lt Col Shahidul Islam said a letter had been sent to BSF protesting the incident.
At a director-general level conference of the BGB and the BSF in Dhaka in mid-September, the Indian border security chief reiterated India’s promise to bring down border killings to zero.
BSF Director General Rakesh Asthana at the time claimed that the BSF used lethal weapons only as a last resort and non-lethal weapons were used first.
“Our policy is to bring border killings down to zero,” he added.
In the first ten months of this year, a total of 40 people were killed in border violence on the Indo-Bangla border, according to data compiled by the human rights campaigner Ain O Salish Kendra.
Of them, 29 people were shot to death while six other deaths occurred due to physical torture. During the 10 months, 22 people were injured and another 20 were abducted by the Indian border force.
The rights group Odhikar says no fewer than 1,144 Bangladeshis were killed by BSF members between 2000 and 2018.