BSF shootings are not stopping

The Daily Star  July 06, 2020

What about India’s promise of bringing down the number of casualties to zero?

The way the Indian Border Security Force has been killing Bangladeshi nationals on a regular basis makes us wonder why, despite many flag meetings between the two sides to resolve the issue, such shootings continue and lives are lost. On July 4, the BSF shot a 50-year-old Bangladeshi man along the Telkupi border of Shibganj upazila in Chapainawabganj. According to the local UP chairman, the man went to the area to cut grass for the livestock. Called by some BSF men, he crossed the border. About an hour later, the BSF members dumped his body into Bangladesh’s territory. There were bullet wounds and injury marks in his body. On July 3, the BSF killed another Bangladeshi national in Jashore’s Benapole border. Several other incidents of BSF’s killing were reported in the media in the last few months. One such horrible incident was the killing of an SSC examine in Panchagarh Sadar on April 19. Reportedly, a BSF man entered inside Bangladesh territory and shot the boy dead.

Violence and killing on the border by the BSF continue despite repeated assurances made by the Indian side of bringing down the border casualties to zero. Last year, 43 Bangladeshis were killed by trigger-happy BSF members, according to Ain O Salish Kendra. And from January until May this year, 14 Bangladeshis were shot dead while 4 others were tortured to death by them. During the same time, 12 Bangladeshis were abducted and 11 were injured, estimates the rights body.

Killing unarmed and defenceless people is nothing but cold-blooded murder and the BSF must stop these routine killings. The BSF high command must keep the promises they made during the bilateral meetings held last year—they must bring down the casualty to zero by using non-lethal force to deter people trying to cross the border illegally. Torture by the BSF members must also come to an end. At the same time, the BGB should also ensure greater vigilance and monitoring on the borders to ensure our people’s security. And most importantly, our government must raise its voice about the killing and torture of its own people at the hands of the BSF members. The Indian government must take steps to stop these shootings.

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