Border casualties unfortunate: Moni

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni accused the BNP of trying to reap benefits out of the casualties along the Indo-Bangla border.

Dhaka: Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on Sunday
accused the main opposition BNP of trying to get political
mileage from casualties in cross-border firings along the
Indo-Bangla frontier, saying the government had protested to
India against the "unfortunate" and "regrettable" deaths.

"The killings of Bangladeshis, particularly the death
of Falani by the Border Security Force were regrettable and
very unfortunate...we have already protested these incidents
strongly," she said at a press briefing here.

India has regretted the killing of 15-year-old girl
Felani in Kurigram border on January 7 and said a court of
inquiry was underway to punish those responsible for it.

Bangladesh Nationalist Party has tried to put the
Awami League-led government on the backfoot, accusing it for
not taking adequate steps to stop the "border killings".

Moni accused the BNP of trying to reap benefits out of
the casualties along the Indo-Bangla border.

"The opposition was tying to reap benefits out of the
(frontier) casualties," she added.

Giving a comparative statistics on the frontier
casualties, the foreign minister said 79 Bangladeshis were
killed in 2005 while 106 casualties took place in 2006 when
BNP was in power.

The number of people killed in the two years since
the ruling Awami League came to power in 2009 was "67 and 60
in 2010.

"During the BNP regime, the incidents were protested
`mildly`...so they don?t have the moral strength to speak on
the matter," Moni underlined.

Bangladesh and India last month agreed to sort out all
problems related to the common border within the next two
months, ahead of the planned visit by Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh to the country later this year.

Bangladesh Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikdar, who
held a crucial two-day talks with his Indian counterpart Gopal
K Pillai last month, said all border and security related
issues were discussed in the meeting and both the sides are
working sincerely to resolve the ongoing problems in shortest
possible time.

Officials familiar with the meeting said casualties in
cross-border firings dominated the talks between the top
officials.

The Indian High Commissioner Rajeet Mitter had been
summoned last month by the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry, which
had lodged a "strong protest" against the "brutal and
senseless" killing of Falani allegedly by BSF when she was
trying to return home from India, where she was working.

The Indian Home Secretary had also reiterated New
Delhi’s regret for the killing of Felani in Kurigram border
and said a probe was underway to punish those responsible for
it.

With regard to the controversy of people being killed
in cross-border firings, Pillai had said New Delhi was "not
comfortable" with the deaths of Bangladeshis. India has also
asked Bangladesh to "sensitise" its people to follow legal
routes for crossing their porous frontier.

PTI

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