• Wednesday, Feb 19, 2020
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Putting a stop to border killings

  • Published at 11:57 pm January 3rd, 2020
Dhaka Tribune

Border killings can be brought down if there is the right political will

Despite friendly bilateral relations, and assurances from Delhi that killings on the Bangladesh-India border would be brought down to zero, last year’s statistics tell a different story, and it is a grim one.

In the year 2019, at least 43 Bangladeshi citizens were killed by Indian Border Security Forces. This number looks even more unfortunate in light of the fact that in the previous year, border killings had been brought down to 14.

What accounts for this threefold increase? It seems that at first we were making progress, and then a wrong turn was abruptly made.

If the 2018 number proves one thing, it is that border killings can indeed be brought down if there is the right political will. Right now, BSF’s claims are not helping. They are saying that fewer than 35 Bangladeshis have been killed at the border, while our BGB personnel claim otherwise.

In order to tackle the problem meaningfully, first the truth must be ascertained and agreed upon.

Of course, illegal activities at the border must also be curbed. Cattle smuggling, intrusions, and cutting down of barbed wire on the border fence are cited as the key reasons for these killings, and a mechanism must be put in place to prevent these activities. 

However, a human life is precious, and killings at the hand of a friendly neighbouring nation do a disservice to all citizens who have put faith in our strong bilateral ties. This trust cannot be jeopardized.

The results of 2018 show it is fully possible to bring down border killings. Let us try to do even better in 2020, and show that 2019 was an anomaly.