Policy friendly, BSF unfriendly | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 07, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 07, 2010

Policy friendly, BSF unfriendly

BDR chief points at need for making the border guards aware of Delhi's intention; plans to take it up during 6-day meeting of two frontier forces in India from today


Maj Gen Md Mainul Islam

Director General of Bangladesh Rifles Maj Gen Md Mainul Islam said the desire of Bangladesh and Indian governments for a new phase in bilateral relations should travel down to all levels of Indian border guards.
Unfortunately, this common desire has not been echoed in many cases in the field level personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) of India, he observed.
Referring to the desire reflected in the joint declaration of Bangladesh and India during the first Delhi visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in January, the BDR chief expressed the hope the same would be reflected in all levels of BSF.
"This desire is reciprocal, never one-sided," Gen Mainul told The Daily Star on Thursday before his visit to New Delhi today to attend a six-day DG level conference between BDR and BSF.
He was talking at his office about his first fully-fledged meeting with his Indian counterpart. He will lead a 19-member delegation comprising high officials of BDR, home ministry, foreign ministry, Bangladesh-India Joint River Commission and Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi.
"We have hundred percent will to fulfil the desire of the two leaders of the two countries. But in many cases we don't see the same spirit in the ground level on their side," observed the BDR DG.
He put emphasis on "political will" to solve the problem and improve border situation.
"But this will should be communicated with the true spirit of the political decisions," he said, adding, it is necessary to build confidence between the two nations.
"I would like to tell my counterpart that they must understand the spirit of the two prime ministers," he said.
He said both the premiers agreed in the joint communiqué to comprehensively address all outstanding land boundary issues in line with the spirit of the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement.
"In this context, they agreed to convene the Joint Boundary Working Group to take this process forward."
But the BDR chief observed that lower level BSF personnel do not follow this land boundary agreement in many cases.
"But they should understand the intent of the prime ministers of the two countries. This is a big opportunity for both the countries to improve relations between their brooder guards as both the governments are heading towards a new phase of friendly relations," Gen Mainul added.
He believes the border forces should solve smaller issues at their level. "If these unwanted incidents are stopped at our level, it will improve the friendly relations between the two countries."
As many as 78 Bangladeshis were killed by BSF inside the Indian land since January 2009 till February this year. But no Indian national was killed by the BDR, the force claims.
"Killing of civilians, may be they were trespassers, must stop. This is violation of the border agreement, Indian laws and international human rights."
He added duties have clearly been described in the Joint India-Bangladesh Guideline for Border Authorities 1975. If any citizen trespasses on the land of other country, the border forces can arrest and try them or turn them in to the other side following necessary communications.
"We follow these guidelines. But deaths of our nationals in the hand of BSF is not only unacceptable but also a hatred offence," he observed.
He said forceful occupation of land by BSF has raised a new problem in Sylhet region.
There are some problems about the adverse possessed land. The BSF forcefully possesses some land in Joiynta in Sylhet region since 2006 saying it is adverse possessed land.
The BSF set up a post inside Sylhet border claiming it as "adverse possessed land," which BDR strongly opposed.
At a deputy director general level meeting, BSF promised to remove the post, which is still there.
The BDR chief said he would raise the issue at the DG level meeting, which is scheduled to start in Delhi today.
"I will give them a timeframe to withdraw their post from our land," Gen Mainul said.
He added if there is no unnecessary killing and no intrusion along the border, the friendly relations between the two countries would be strengthened.
He added India should help Bangladesh by shutting down the Phensydyle factories in its land so that the flow of such drugs to Bangladesh stops.
Indiscriminate killing and unprovoked firing by BSF, smuggling, physical verification of border pillars and adverse possessed land, formulation of integrated joint border management, abduction of border people by BSF, and pushing in Indian nationals to Bangladesh are some of the agendas of the upcoming DG level meeting.
"If we can improve the friendly relations solving these problems, we'll go further towards trade issues, which is very important for both the neighbours," Gen Mainul observed.

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