It has always been happening along our border with India that stretches over 4,100km—border killing, which according to the context should be labelled as murders as it is taking place continuously and without any consideration of arrests and no investigation is ever conducted over the incidents.
Nonetheless, India recently said sorry for the deaths of four people along the borders of Kurigram, Dinajpur and Meherpur, but also defended saying that the BSF sometimes shoots for “self-defence”.
It made me laugh at the Bangladesh government who uses this excuse while defending the crossfire killings by elite police force ‘Rab’. It worked as a Boomerang as the Bangladesh government went silent after receiving the Indian version against its so-called written protest to Delhi.
Even if we take it into consideration that most of the deceased are alleged criminals engaged in smuggling, we should not forget that none can be executed without a trial. Every single citizen of this independent country has the right to seek justice and it is the government who is pledge-bound to ensure the right.
The Indian approach is, in no way, acceptable since they have been carrying out the murders without any “incitement” when no Indian has so far been executed by the Border Guard Bangladesh for intrusion or smuggling. Moreover, the rate of deaths is also alarming—at least to the people of Bangladesh as well as across the world. It drives the human rights organisations at home and abroad raise their voices too.
But all the efforts go in vein due to lack of political will by the Indian side to direct their forces stop using lethal weapons as pledged by the high officials and using rubber bullets instead. The Indian authorities also failed to convey their so-called assurances to the BSF personnel along the borders. The authorities also never brought to light the reasons why BSF personnel are carrying out such activities and none were reportedly punished if there were any mistake or misdeed.
As a result, the murders are on, still. Since 2000 till Dec 17, over 1,100 Bangladeshis were killed mainly by bullets in the borders areas. Of them, 84 were killed in 2010 and some 35 this year. The latest deaths took place on Dec 16 and 17. I welcome that the BSF chief sent a high-profile team to investigate the killings on Dec 18 when the BGB chief phoned him.
We have some contradiction over the number of deaths too as Odhikar, a human rights group, said BSF killed 74 Bangladeshis last year and 98 the previous year.
But BSF says 32 Bangladeshi nationals were killed in 2010 and 55 in 2009 while according to BGB sources, the numbers are 60 and 67.
Moreover, this type of killing is absent everywhere but between Israel and Palestine, and the USA and Mexico.
Leaving other issues aside, Bangladesh is not now at a satisfactory height after the Indian government had regretted the deaths since it placed arguments.
What expected from India now is that it immediately circulates a red alert on the BSF personnel against using lethal bullets and rather arresting the alleged smugglers or intruders, and if possible warning those people by blank shots. As a neighbour, large and booming economy India should be ashamed for such deaths as it continues to talk about an improved regional cooperation with the South Asian countries.
But, since the Bangladesh government is content or afraid with the Indian response, now it’s time for the people of all strata to speak up among themselves and on different media with a view to gather public opinion against such heinous acts. People may also write to the international forums and human rights organisations. Even there are at least a few people in India too who will echo Bangladesh’s concern.
Some concerned people say, about India’s “dual role play”, that it is continuing the systematic killing to make the people of Bangladesh feel and realise that their lives are merely important to India who are a comparatively big and rich nation. Like in the past, the Indian administrators think that they are supposed to bossy with all, especially those adjacent countries. India also tries to make sure that none from Bangladesh speak against any odds it do with its people or Bangladesh.
I support this view too; but do not think that our BGB men should start murdering, in retaliation, from now on. I also am not for strengthening border forces along the borders that may create a war-scene too.