The Border Between Bangladesh And India Has Become A Death Trap

A 15 years old Bangladeshi girl was shot and killed by India’s Border Security Force (BSF) on 7th January 2011, at India-Bang
A 15 years old Bangladeshi girl was shot and killed by India’s Border Security Force (BSF) on 7th January 2011, at India-Bangladesh border.

India is not only a neighboring country of Bangladesh, but also the people of both countries are connected like a baby connected to its mother with an umbilical cord. There are many Indians whose relatives or ancestors’ lands are in Bangladesh. At the same time, many Bangladeshis have relatives in India. Besides, the border between Bangladesh and India is so critical that the civilians cannot abide by the border laws properly. For example, out of two brothers, one brother’s residence is inside the Bangladesh border, another brother’s residence is inside the Indian border and the distance between two brothers’ residences is so small that they can meet each other just crossing the border line. There are many residents and their relatives residing in this way surrounding the Indo-Bangla border. They are very close relatives, and it is very difficult to apply for a visa each time they feel to see their closest ones.

This situation was kind of obvious, and was foreseen by the people of the two countries, after the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, when Bangladesh was part of Pakistan. Even after the partition the culture and language between Bangladesh and one part of India remained the same. The people of West Bengal, a state of India, still call their currency as Taka which is the name of Bangladeshi currency. Nevertheless, India is as like as other foreign countries to Bangladesh. Bangladeshis require visas to visit India and vice-versa.

There are no visa requirements for the people of the countries of European Union. People of these countries can visit the countries of European Union without any visa. There is nothing like EU between Bangladesh and India. It means there is no way to cross the border between Bangladesh and India without visa. However, the border is being crossed regularly by local people for trade and commerce. It is also being crossed by relatives and friends separated by a line arbitrarily drawn by the British during the partition in 1947. In these cases, if anyone crosses the border illegally, the person must be stopped.

Now, let’s come to the point. Does anybody consider preventing illegal cross-border activities and killing people the same? I believe everyone would say NO. Unfortunately, the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) has killed a record number of Bangladeshis in the name of preventing illegal cross-border activities. The Home Minister of Bangladesh Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told the parliament on 7th June 2016, “A total of 591 Bangladeshi citizens were killed by Indian Border Security Force and Indian citizens in last 10 years”.

A question may arise, are the Bangladeshis only crossing the border illegally? The answer is NO. According to a Bangla daily newspaper in Bangladesh, between 1st august 2015 and 31st March 2016, 24 citizens of Bangladesh have been killed in India-Bangladesh border. Most of them were killed by the Indian Border Security Force. At the same time, 122 Indian civilians illegally entered to Bangladesh across the border. Among them, 73 persons were handed over to BSF in healthy condition. The Bangladesh police arrested 49 people, with specific charges. Imagine, if Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) soldiers were as much trigger-happy as BSF, then how many dead bodies of Indian civilians would have been found! This is not like Border Guard Bangladesh is afraid of Indian Border Security Force. Border Guard Bangladesh showed their strength and defeated the BSF in two different unrest places named Padua and Rowmari across the border in 2001. However, in terms of intruders and guarding the border, the Border Guard Bangladesh always remained cool headed. I feel honored to say that there is no such allegation against Bangladesh Border Guard of killing unarmed civilians in the border.

To prevent the infiltrators while guarding the border does not empower anyone to kill them. Undoubtedly, these kinds of murders are barbaric murders. The BSF can choose the alternative options that can prevent intruders, but they choose to kill people. This is why the BSF is called as Trigger-happy by different human rights groups. Even the India-based rights groups are also criticizing the trigger-happy nature of BSF. On the other hand, those Bangladeshis who are killed in the Indo-Bangla border are mostly accused as cattle smugglers. Interestingly, the cattle come from different states of India. So, why the BSF cannot stop transporting cattle in the border area? They should be aware of the cattle smuggling route in the first place when they head towards the border.

There were several meetings between BGB and BSF. Every time they promise not to kill Bangladeshi nationals in border, nevertheless Border Killing has not stopped yet! According to a Bangladesh based human rights organization Ain o Shalish Kendro, a total number of 46 people were killed by Indian security force BSF in 2015 and a total number of 28 people were killed by BSF this year from January to October. This is not a situation of war, the way people are being killed each year, I do not know if there are any such killings in any other border in the world!

We know India is many times bigger than Bangladesh. Therefore, to guard such a bigger border, India needs many people. India has disputes with their other neighboring countries such as Pakistan and China. If they cannot maintain a good relationship with such a small country like Bangladesh, then which country they will stand by? India must understand, a friend can be changed, but a neighbor cannot be changed. They need to maintain a good relation for their own need. At the same time, Bangladesh is very grateful to India for their greatest contribution in the liberation war of Bangladesh. However, it does not mean that India has earned the right to kill Bangladeshis in the border without any trial!

We assume, the BSF is instructed to kill Bangladeshis in the border from their decision making authority, otherwise how they are continuing to kill Bangladeshis in the border! Or, may be the Indian security forces do not have proper training how to protect border and arrest intruders without killing anyone. If they need training, they can ask for training. May be the international border guard forces along with Bangladesh can help them get proper training to guard their border. Anyhow, stop border killings!