Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Indian Border Security Force (BSF) have agreed to effectively implement the Comprehensive Border Management Plan (CBMP) to control border crimes, including smuggling of drugs and narcotics, arms and ammunition, fake currency and gold.
The decision was taken during the five-day 52nd director general level border conference between the border forces of Bangladesh and India which concluded at the BGB headquarters at Pilkhana in the city on Thursday.
After the JRD-signing programme, a joint press conference was held.
BSF Director General (DG) Shri Pankaj Kumar Singh has termed the Bangladeshis killed in firing by the BSF on the Bangladesh-India border as criminals.
All the deceased were involved in various crimes including drug smuggling, according to the BSF chief.
The BSF Director General made the comment in response to a question raised by a journalist at the press conference. He, however, said, “We cannot call anyone a criminal until any crime is proven in the judicial system. We talk to the Border Guard and contacted Kolkata Police and Dhaka Metropolitan Police. We share intelligence. Mafias are involved in smuggling on the border of the two countries.”
The BSF Director General said there are both good and bad people in the border areas and incidents like smuggling and illegal entry are taking place because of those ‘bad people’.
Mentioning that BSF’s relationship with the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) now better than ever, he said, “We are jointly working to prevent border-centric crime, bring border killings to zero.”
In response to a question regarding the five border killings that took place in June, BSF Director General said, “We have to face this question every year. BGB and BSF are very professional forces. We constantly discuss at different levels on the ways to stop border killings.”
In response to the question as to whether BGB considers everyone killed on the border as a criminal, BGB Director General (DG) Major General Shakil Ahmed said “We discussed in detail about the ways to stop border killings. Not reducing, but how can we bring it down to zero.”
The BGB Director General also said, “A killing at the border means not only the death of a person, but the entire family of the victim suffers. There is a negative impact on the people of the area.”
Major General Shakil Ahmed said that Rohingya citizens are entering through brokers through the Bangladesh-India border. He said that BGB has confirmed that 212 Rohingya of 51 families have entered Bangladesh.
BGB Director General said that there was a detailed discussion in the border conference about how to counter the activities of brokers. BSF has been asked to take effective action on the border in this regard. BSF has assured about this.
Rohingyas may have entered Bangladesh through an inaccessible route apart from the border, he added.
The BGB chief also said, “Both border forces are trying to exchange intelligence. We discussed about taking initiatives to strengthen formal and informal relations.”
At the border conference, India and Bangladesh have agreed to strengthen the joint border patrolling especially during the night as a precautionary and effective way to bring down death and injury to unarmed citizens of both countries to zero.
Both the forces also agreed to undertake more public awareness programmes about the laws governing the international border for the people living in border areas to reduce border incidents to zero. They also agreed to take effective measures to deter the public from indulging in activities like illegal infiltration, smuggling, human trafficking and other border crimes.
Both sides have agreed to take appropriate measures to resume the conservation works of the common rivers of the border as approved by the Joint Rivers Commission on the basis of mutual consensus.
The two countries also agreed to take initiatives for the speedy construction of barbed wire fences within 150 yards of the border at approved locations with approved design in consultation with higher authorities.
They also agreed to have a communication channel at the level of nodal officers of BSF and BGB to take quick decisions to implement the stalled development work within 150 yards of the border.
Both sides agreed to take a proper and firm stand against the infiltration of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals across the Bangladesh-India border.
To facilitate the movement of local people of Charmajardia and Khanpur areas of the Rajshahi border, the need for their temporary passage through a 1.3 km channel of India during the dry season was discussed.
Besides, strengthening the cordial relations between the two countries, both the BGB and BSF Director Generals reiterated their commitment to work together to ensure a peaceful and crime-free border.