Destroy militant camps, BSF tells Bangladeshi counterpart

The Border Security Force (BSF) has asked its Bangladeshi counterparts to destroy militants` camps and hideouts within the latter`s territory, an officer said here Saturday.

Agartala: The Border Security Force (BSF) has asked its Bangladeshi counterparts to destroy militants` camps and hideouts within the latter`s territory, an officer said here Saturday.

"Around 57 camps and hideouts of northeast India militant groups still exist in different parts of Bangladesh. We have asked the BGB (Border Guard Bangladesh) to dismantle these camps and to take action against the terrorists," a top BSF officer told IANS.

He said: "The terrorist outfits of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Manipur and Nagaland have set up their camps and hideouts in different parts of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) (in southeast Bangladesh) and Moulvibazar and Sylhet districts (under Sylhet division in northeastern Bangladesh)."

These outfits include National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), United Liberation Front of Asom, National Liberation Front of Tripura, Garo National Liberation Army and Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council.

"The BGB officials though denied the presence of any camps in Bangladesh, they sought more information about the northeast India militant camps in Bangladesh," the BSF officer said on condition of anonymity.

"After Bangladesh security forces undertook occasional crackdowns against the northeast India militants, some terrorists have taken shelter in the jungles of neighbouring Myanmar," he added.

During the past few months, the Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion uncovered a huge cache of sophisticated arms, including anti-tank weapons and AK series rifles, in Satchharhi jungles in the northeastern district of Habiganj, bordering India`s Tripura.

The area was reportedly the headquarters of the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF).

The inspectors general of three frontiers of BSF in northeast India - Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram-Cachar - held a four-day border management meeting from Nov 17 with BGB officers at Tamabil in Bangladesh`s Sylhet district.

Meghalaya frontier Inspector General of BSF Sudhesh Kumar led the Indian team while the Bangladesh delegation was headed by BGB`s Additional Director General (Northeastern Region) Brigadier General Mohammad Latiful Haider.

Senior officials of India`s home ministry and Narcotics Control Bureau were also present in the meeting.

The BSF-BGB meeting discussed arms and drug smuggling, terrorism, circulation of fake Indian currency notes, border crimes, confidence building measures and to carry out fencing.

The official said the BSF has requested the BGB officials to obtain approval from the Bangladesh government for construction of a single row fence instead of a double row fence within 150 yards at the border to prevent trans-border crimes and to guard important Indian installations and border roads.

"The BGB officials have requested the BSF officials to stop killing Bangladeshi nationals along the border. We have assured them to take appropriate actions on the issue."

"Smuggling of arms and drugs and using northeastern states as corridors for their illegal hauling was also discussed in the meeting. We have asked the BGB officials to take stringent steps to prevent such clandestine trading," the BSF official added.

He said the BSF and BGB troopers are now holding coordinated patrolling along the border and the meeting has decided about intensifying such joint patrolling efforts.

"Bangladesh security forces in the recent past have seized huge fake Indian currencies` consignments and arrested a large number of people involved in circulating the fake Indian currencies. We have requested the BGB officials to share the information (with BSF) gathered about the fake currencies and their roots," he added.

In the meeting, the BSF proposed the BGB to hold mutual cultural and sports events involving people of both sides of the border as part of the confidence building measures.

Four Indian northeastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam share an 1,880-km border with Bangladesh.

The mountainous terrain, dense forests and other hindrances make the unfenced borders porous and vulnerable, enabling illegal immigrants and intruders cross over without any hurdle.

India is erecting a fence and putting up floodlights along the 4,096-km India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram to check trans-border movement of militants, and to check border crimes.