Frequent killings on border to top agenda
Frequent killing of Bangladeshi nationals by Indian border guards will top the agenda of the two-day home secretary-level talks beginning in Dhaka on Wednesday.
“There will be many issues on the table, but our main focus will be the non-stop killing of Bangladeshi citizens around the borders,” Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder told The Daily Star yesterday.
Delhi is yet to act on Dhaka's proposal put forward about a year ago for use of rubber bullets by Indian Border Security Force (BSF).
According to human rights body Odhikar, 74 Bangladeshi nationals were killed on the borders last year, and four in the first week of this year.
The home secretary said, “We are seriously discouraging the use of lethal weapons in our bid to save lives of people crossing the border.” One can be detained instead of being shot and killed, he added.
Home ministry sources said the killing of a 15-year-old Bangladeshi girl by BSF on Kurigram border, the latest in a series, will be raised at the ensuing talks since Dhaka is highly concerned about it.
BSF shot dead Felani on January 7 while she was returning home from India. Shot in the chest, she died instantly.
Bangladesh has long been taking up the issue of border killings in every forum of talks with India.
“Each time the Indian side assured Bangladesh of putting an end to the menace, but unfortunately the killing spree is on,” said a senior home ministry official, seeking anonymity.
Before the home secretary-level talks, a two-day meeting of the Joint Working Group of the two countries begins today. It will take up the long-standing issue of demarcation of land boundary and adverse and undemarcated enclaves.