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SOURCE: IANS

Simultaneous Coordinated Patrols both during the day and night will help curb cross-border crime, senior Border Security Force (BSF) officials told their counterparts from Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) during the ongoing Inspectors General BSF-Region Commanders BGB Level Border Co-ordination Conference underway in Kolkata.

The BSF has also taken up issues such as attacks on its personnel by Bangladeshi smugglers, particularly those involved in the smuggling of cattle.

“We had suggested co-ordinated patrolling by the two forces during our past meetings. Now, we are looking forward to simultaneous patrolling. Such patrolling will not allow border criminals to flee back into their own country once challenged by border guarding troops of the neighbouring one. This is a regular occurrence nowadays. Whenever criminals from Bangladesh are challenged at the International Boundary (IB), they flee back to their own side. They could be nabbed if there is a BGB patrol across the IB at that time,” a senior BSF official said.

The BSF insists that criminals are encouraged by the knowledge that there are hardly any BGB patrols across the border. This prompts them to take on BSF troops whenever challenged.

At times, these attacks are so vicious that BSF personnel are forced to open fire in self-defence (after pellets fired from Pump Action Guns fail to deter criminals), resulting in deaths.

This point was highlighted when the issue of deaths of Bangladeshi nationals in BSF firing along the IB came up during the Conference.

“The BGB has expressed concern regarding the smuggling of Phensedyl cough syrup, a banned substance in Bangladesh. We have provided details about the quantity of Phensedyl that has been seized by the BSF and the apprehensions made. However, we have also pointed out to the BGB that this racket can’t be eliminated totally unless the demand from across the border seizes. We have also raised the issue of gold smuggling from Bangladesh and the constant flow of illegal immigrants from that country,” another BSF official said.

The Bangladeshi officials apparently insisted that cattleheads are no longer smuggled across the border from India. The BSF didn’t agree to this.

Attempts to smuggle cattle continue but incidents have come down due to greater vigil by the BSF, it was mentioned.

The BSF has also brought up the matter of several development works along the IB that have been held up due to objections by the BGB.

Both sides have appreciated the need for more co-ordination and continued Confidence Building Measures for better border management.

The Indian delegation is headed by Dr Atul Fulzele, IG, BSF, South Bengal Frontier. The other members include Ajay Singh, IG, North Bengal Frontier and Kamaljit Singh Banyal, IG, Guwahati Frontier.

The BGB side is being led by Brig Gen ABM Nowroj Ehsan, ADG and region commander, North West Region, Rangpur. K M Azad, ADG and region commander, South West Region, Jessore, is also part of the delegation.