“They were criminals”: BSF DG tries to justify Bangladeshis killed on the border

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News Desk

Director General of India’s Border Security Force (BSF) Pankaj Kumar Singh today (July 21, 2022) tried to justify Bangladeshi nationals killed on the border – terming them as “criminals”.

All those killed were involved in various crimes, including drug trade and cattle smuggling, and every shooting incident happened at night and when BSF personnel came under attack, he claimed.

The BSF chief was responding to queries at a joint press conference, following a DG-level conference between BSF and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) at the latter’s Pilkhana headquarters in Dhaka.

Killings on the border are going on despite BSF top officials’ commitment made after every talk to bring down the number of deaths to zero.

Noted right activists Nur Khan Liton, however, said it is an ill attempt by BSF to bypass their crimes by grossly terming those killed on the border as “criminals”.

Past experience says Bangladesh citizens, who crossed the border due to their lack of clear idea about the territory, were also killed, he said.

He said if crossing the border is an offence, the offenders can be detained or arrested.

According to the rights body, Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), five people were shot dead on the border by BSF till June this year. Besides, four people were wounded while six were abducted during this period.

Last year, 18 people were shot dead, one was tortured to death, and another died after being chased by BSF, ASK statistics shows.

The BSF DG Pankaj Kumar Singh at the press conference said that incidents like smuggling, human trafficking and illegal entry are happening because of “bad people on both sides of the border”.

BSF DG also said they use non-lethal weapons to prevent fatality and 89 BSF personnel were seriously injured in attacks by criminals on the border.

He, however, said both BGB and BSF are jointly working to control border crimes and bring border killings to zero.

“BSF as well as BGB are absolutely professional border guarding forces. We uphold the best of traditions of human rights whenever we are guarding the border,” he added.

Director General of BGB Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed said at least 212 Myanmar nationals from 51 families illegally entered Bangladesh from India recently.

Besides, some others may have also entered through remote border areas, he said while replying to a query at the press conference.

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