New Delhi: The Border Security Force,
guarding the porous Indo-Bangladesh border, has armed its
troops with "non-lethal" weapons to reduce causalities and
fatal injuries to Bangladeshi nationals attempting to cross over into this country.
The force, which guards more than 4,000 kilometres of
the border, has provided its personnel with pump-action guns
in addition to their regular weapons -- INSAS rifles and SLRs.
The guns are similar to those used by the CRPF in
Jammu and Kashmir to quell civil protests.
"The non-lethal weapons have been provided to the
troops along the Bangladesh border at sections where
suspicious border crossings are more. This has been done after
an agreement with the border guarding force of that country --
Border Guards Bangladesh -- in March this year," a senior BSF
The officer said the headquarters of the force here
has also devised a new standard operating procedure (SOP) for
the use of these weapons.
"The first fire, the challenge fire, would be from the
pump-action gun which emits rubber bullets. Firing from the
regular weapon would be done only after this step. The
sanctity and security of the Indian border would, however, be
the first in any case," the officer said.
The experiment has begun and if the results are
encouraging, the operation of the initiative will be expanded,
the officer said.
A number of people, including smugglers cross the
border at vulnerable points or in the dark which raises
suspicion and the troops resort to firing, the officer said.
An agreement to use "non-lethal" weapons by BSF was
formulated in March when a delegation of Border Guards
Bangladesh, led by its chief Major General Rafiqul Islam, met
BSF Director General Raman Srivastava and his team in New
Delhi as part of their bi-annual conference.
During the talks, the Bangladeshi side had raised the
issue of "killing" of its nationals along the border.
BGB chief Islam had said that internationally followed
Rules of Engagement (RoE) should be adhered along the
Indo-Bangla border to keep it "peaceful at any cost".
"Every individual, be it smuggler, drug
trafficker...has a right to survive till he or she is found
guilty in the court of law. That is why we have been urging
the Indian government and the BSF...please avoid firing
that kills people. You arrest them for illegally crossing the
border," Islam said.
The BSF agreed and said that it too does not want to
kill anyone and, hence, they proposed to use non-lethal