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B`deshi rights watchdog accuses BSF of killing innocents

Last Updated: Saturday, January 8, 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

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

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 8, 2011 - 19:36

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