Kolkata: One week after a BSF jawan was shot dead and another critically injured after Bangladesh’s paramilitary force BGB opened fire, country’s home minister Asaduzzaman Khan urged India to stop “border killings of trespassers” by the Border Security Force (BSF).
Khan reiterated on Thursday that it was “misunderstanding” and “argument” between the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) and its Indian counterpart which led to the firing incident in the Murshidabad district on October 17.
On October 17, in a shocking incident and perhaps for the first time in decades, BSF soldier Vijay Bhan Singh was shot dead while another seriously injured after BGB opened fired at them after a flag meeting along the international border of River Padma at Murshidabad district.
Speaking exclusively to News18 over telephone, Khan, said, “Our officials from the fishery department and the BGB were deployed in the area to protect ‘mother Ilish’ (Hilsa fish) from illegal fishing as they lay eggs during this season in River Padma. They noticed Indian fishermen entering our territory and indulging in illegal fishing of Hilsa. The BGB caught them but later released two and kept one in custody. Then BSF came in a speed boat and there was some altercation which led to the firing. It was purely an accidental case.”
The BSF found in an enquiry that the firing by Border Guards Bangladesh was "unprovoked and unwarranted". The BSF claimed that the BGB patrol did not release Indian fisherman and also tried to "cordon off" the BSF troops which is when the firing took place.
But Bangladesh home minister insisted that “no one tried to cordon off anyone. There was some misunderstanding and altercation and firing took place.”
Asked why Bangladesh is not releasing the Indian fisherman, identified as Pranab Mondal, Khan said, “I think DG-level talk between the BSF and BGB will be held soon. After that there are some official formalities. Once it is complete, we will release him.”
“Ï am still claiming that we share a magical relationship with India. All I would like to highlight is to stop border killings of Bangladeshis at the border and I hope that in future such firing incidents will not happen at the border,” he added.
Khan said no discussion has taken place with Amit Shah yet on the entry of Indian fishermen and the firing incident. “But yes, during our meeting in India, I asked him to look into the border killing. Yesterday, again, one Bangladeshi national was killed at the Dinapore border.”
A departmental inquiry has been set up against BGB jawan Sayed and the Director General of Border Guards, Major Shafeenul Islam, has been asked to submit a report at the earliest, he added.
India shares a 4,096-km-long border with Bangladesh. The Indian side of the Indo-Bangladesh border passes through West Bengal (2216.7 Km), Assam (263 Km), Meghalaya (443 Km), Tripura (856 Km) and Mizoram (318 Km).
On October 17, two Indian fishermen had approached the local BSF camp and told them that BGB has detained a fishermen identified as Pranab Mandal a resident of Jalangi in Murshidabad. Immediately, a team of officers on speed boat went to resolve the issue but situation aggravated around 10.30 am at the water channel of River Padma near Boundary Pillar number 75/7-S.
A statement issued by the BSF said, “During flag meeting BGB patrol did not release Indian fisherman and also tried to cordon (gheroa) BSF troops. Sensing the situation worsening, BSF party immediately returned but BGP troops opened fire on returning BSF party and one of the bullets hit Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh (belongs to Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh) while other hit the boatman Rajbir Singh on his right hand. Vijay Bhan Singh who received bullet injury on his head was declared brought dead in a nearby hospital.”
River Padma offers one of the finest qualities of Hilsa fish and three Indian fishermen went to catch them in the morning. Trouble started after BGB detained all the three Indian fishermen who were fishing in Bangladesh territory.