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SOURCE: PTI

The incidents of killing criminals along the India-Bangladesh international front will be “made to reduce significantly”, BSF chief Rakesh Asthana said on Saturday as he reiterated that his troops only fire when their lives are endangered by cross-border miscreants.

The Border Security Force (BSF) Director General was speaking at the end of the four-day bi-annual talks with their counterparts Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in Dhaka.

The BGB team during the meeting was headed by its DG Maj Gen Shafeenul Islam.

“The BSF chief stated that death or apprehension of criminals on the border are irrespective of nationalities. He further stated that BSF personnel fire with non-lethal weapon only in self-defence when they are surrounded by large number 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 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 program 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 BSF DG suggested that an SOP could be drawn up early in mutual consultation to address this humane issue which could expedite the disposal of such cases and alleviate the suffering of such people.

“Both sides agreed to look after the humanitarian aspects of the victim first and then verify the nationality of the mentally challenged persons and thereafter, handing or taking over can be expedited with cooperation from one another,” the spokesperson said.

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 agreed 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.
This was the 50th DG-level meeting between the two sides. The next edition is slated to be held in India.