Sylhet tension may boil over into major conflict
Bangladesh Rifles has recommended that the government take diplomatic steps immediately to see the Indian Border Security Force change its aggressive attitude on the Jointapur border in Sylhet.
In a letter to the ministries of home and foreign affairs, BDR Chief Md Mainul Islam said if BSF continues to act aggressively, it might trigger off a major border conflict any time.
BDR officials said frequent intrusion and killings of Bangladeshis in indiscriminate firing by BSF heightened tension on Jointapur border.
BSF members in the bordering area have been very aggressive since early February to capture Dibirhaor, a water body rich in fish in Bangladesh's possession, they said.
"BSF intruded into Bangladesh territory in Jointapur eight times in 23 days since February 4," said a BDR official after visiting the border area last week.
He said BSF members even encouraged Indian civilians to trespass and occupy the water body.
In February, BSF fired hundreds of rounds, leaving two Bangladeshis killed and many injured.
"They also beat up and abducted a BDR jawan. He was released after 12 hours," the official said.
The BDR chief in the letter said the aggressive behaviour of the Indian border guards was aimed at capturing adversely possessed lands, including Dibirhaor in Jointapur.
According to Directorate of Land Records and Surveys, Bangladesh holds 162 acres of adversely possessed lands in Jointapur upazila against India's 60.53 acres. BSF along with civilians has been trying to capture the lands. Tension rises in the area whenever BDR tries to thwart them, the BDR chief said.
The letter said a group of BSF members intruded into Bangladesh territory on February 4 and fired on Nayek Mojibor Rahman. They abducted Mojibor after beating him. BSF refused to release him despite repeated requests from BDR. He was finally handed over to BDR after 12 hours.
On February 14, Indian border guards made an incursion into Bangladesh territory and shot dead two civilians. There were also instances of intrusion and firing by BSF on February 17, 21, 22, 23 and 27. In many cases, BDR retreated in the face of indiscriminate firing by BSF.
The letter said the situation on Jointapur frontier began to deteriorate after a BSF battalion from Kashmir was sent to the border in September 2009.
The BDR director general called his counterpart last week asking him to control the BSF members on Jointapur border, said a BDR officer wishing anonymity. The BDR DG visited the area later as the situation deteriorated following BSF's aggressive behaviour.
Bangladeshi fishermen have been fishing in Dibirhaor for decades. But now they avoid the place due to aggressive attitude of the Indian border force.
"Whenever Bangladeshis try to go there, BSF opens fire on them," he added.