B`deshi rights watchdog accuses BSF of killing innocents
Last Updated: Saturday, January 08, 2011, 19:36
Dhaka: A Bangladeshi rights watchdog on Saturday accused the Indian border guards of killing innocents along the international border, a charge earlier dismissed by the BSF.

The human rights group Odhikar alleged that a total of 74 Bangladeshis were killed and 72 others injured by India’s Border Security Force (BSF) in the past one year.

"Fifty of the dead were killed in shootout and 24 others were brutally tortured to death by BSF troops," it said in a report published here today.

Paramilitary forces from the two countries often exchange gunfire along their troubled 4,000-kilometre border, much of which has been fenced by India.

The cross-border firing between Indian and Bangladeshi forces has been a key part of the agenda during talks between the heads of the two countries' border guards amid pledges to scale back confrontations.

India has dismissed such allegations in the past, saying most of those caught in the cross-border firing in the ?dark of night? are terrorists, smugglers and criminals who are seeking to move across the international frontier.

Major General Rafiqul Islam, the chief of border guard Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) told PTI the Odhikar data was almost identical to the ones recorded by its forces.

The BDR's director general said the issue has dominated the earlier two rounds of bilateral talks with the BSF.

He said the BDR has now decided to refer the matter to the home ministry with requests to take up the issue with the higher authorities in India "as our efforts to convince our counterparts to stop the killing visibly failed".

"They (BSF) often say the shootout victims were criminals...but) what is the definition of criminals? Even the criminals cannot be killed this way," Islam said.

The Odhikar report and the BDR chief’s allegations came a day after a report claimed that a 15-year old Bangladeshi girl was shot dead as she was trying to cross through northwestern Anantapur border in Kurigram along with her father.

The Daily Star said although the father managed to cross the border with the help of a human trafficker, the girl was killed at Chowdhurihat border.


First Published: Saturday, January 08, 2011, 19:36

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