Bringing border killing to zero level possible: BSF
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) has taken initiatives to sensitise its members to reduce the killing of civilians along the India-Bangladesh border as it is possible to bring it down to a zero level.
“We’re trying to educate our members so that such incidents can be avoided,” said PSR Anjaneyulu, Inspector General (IG) of BSF’s South Bengal Frontier, while exchanging views with a group of Bangladeshi journalists at its Kolkata headquarters last week.
Replying to a question, Anjaneyulu said the offenders, in some cases, force the BSF members to fire. “They (offenders) sometimes attack BSF members from a so close range the latter is compelled to fire,” he said.
According to official statistics of the BSF South Bengal Frontier headquarters, two BSF members were killed and 72 others injured in 2013, 99 injured in 2014, three killed and 62 others injured in 2015, and 39 injured till November 12 this year.
On April 25, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal informed Parliament that at least 146 Bangladeshi citizens were killed by Indian BSF and Indian civilians along the border since 2012.
Of them, 109 were killed by BSF, while 37 by Indian citizens. Of the killings, 34 were recorded in 2012, 28 in 2013, 40 in 2014, 39 in 2015 and five persons till April 18, 2016.
Briefing reporters at the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) headquarters in Dhaka on October 7 last, then director general Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed said a total of 26 Bangladeshi nationals were killed in border areas this year as of September and 22 of them were killed by the BSF. He also regretted as he failed to reduce the border killing to a zero level during his 4-year tenure.
When his attention was drawn about the Home Minister and former BGB DG’s remarks, the IG of BSF South Bengal Frontiers said, “Serious directives from our ministry and our senior officers as well as my direction to BSF members - please ensure there’s no causality.”
“Unfortunately, some incidents of casualties happened. We want to bring it down. I’m very sure it’ll come down to a zero level. If you want to know when, it’s not possible to giver time frame… but it’s possible to bring it down to a zero level,” PSR Anjaneyulu said.
About firing by BSF, he said his members do not fire unless they are attacked by miscreants from very close distance. “We always instruct them not to fire. Firing is the last stage,” the IG added.
When asked whether they have any statistics about incidents of killing or injury of Indian nationals by BGB firing, the IG BSF replied negative saying that they have no information in this regard.
BSF fired gun shots 15 times in 2013, 32 in 2014, 86 in 2016 and 91 times till 10 November this year, while it used non-lethal weapons 188 times in 2013, 568 times in 2014, 871 times in 2015 and 673 times till November 10 this year, according to the official statistics of BSF South Bengal Frontier headquarters.
Asked whether the number of criminal activities are increased in frontiers as the use of both lethal and non-lethal weapons have increased, the IG replied the negative saying that most of times BSF use both lethal and non-lethal weapons to warn miscreants.
Sought comments about the recent seizure of contraband sex stimulating Yaba tablets by Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) from Indo-Bangladesh border, he said he is not aware about it.
Earlier, a power-point presentation was made at the view-exchange meeting, where it was shown that BSF detained 5,028 Bangladeshis and 1,724 Indians from the frontiers in 2015 and 2,517 Bangladeshis and 1,030 Indian nationals as of November 10 this year. Among them, 1,277 Bangladeshi national were handed over to BGB in 2015 while 4,245 till 10 November this year.
Meanwhile, Indian BSF took the journalists to riverine BOPs and Floating BOPs of the Sundarbans under Hasnabad BSF battalion 160 where the visiting Bangladeshi journalists were briefed about border activities in Sector Kolkata.
The media people were also taken to Panitar BSF battalion 144 to make them familiar with practical difficulties faced by BSF and the role they play in effective management of border in the area.