Border between friends shouldn’t be this deadly

The Daily Star  June 17, 2019

Border between friends shouldn’t be this deadly

Why so many cases of torture and death?

At a director general-level border conference, the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) director general termed the killings along the Bangladesh-India border as unfortunate deaths. While they were indeed unfortunate, particularly for the families of the victims, what is most unfortunate is that these deaths were totally avoidable—and, in some cases, brutal beyond measure.

Take for instance the death reportedly from torture of Kabirul Hossain Molla at the hands of BSF men. After being caught for trespassing into Indian territory on May 10, Kabirul had petrol poured into his mouth and rectum by members of the BSF, who then left him on the no-man’s land. Hours later, Kabirul succumbed to his injuries at Satkhira Sadar Hospital. Another Bangladeshi who was similarly tortured—although he survived—by BSF men was Md Azim Uddin. In April this year, Azim had all 10 of his fingernails pulled out with pliers by members of the Indian security force. Such treatment, by any security force, is completely unacceptable under all circumstances. The BSF men could have simply imprisoned these individuals as per Indian law, instead of unlawfully torturing them.

Moreover, in the last five and a half months alone, 15 Bangladeshis have reportedly been killed by members of the BSF. And since the year 2000, more than 1,000 Bangladeshis have died at their hands. Despite the massive death toll, no BSF men have been held accountable, which is especially unfortunate given the cordial relationship between our two countries.

It’s time for the government of Bangladesh to ask its Indian counterpart to take meaningful steps to end such killings. And we hope the Indian government, considering our close relationship, will take appropriate action to stop anymore border deaths.

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