Indian security agencies should respect the sovereignty of Bangladesh and the Bangladeshi people, writes Hafizur Talukdar for South Asia Monitor
‘Bangladeshis shot dead by BSF near Lalmonirhat border: Families still waiting for bodies.’ This was the headline of Bangladesh’s leading daily Daily Star on September 26, 2021. The Border Security Force (BSF) earlier reportedly shot dead a Bangladeshi youth along the Satkhira border. (July 12, 2021, Dhaka Tribune) Numerous Bangladeshis have been killed across the border by Indian forces over the past two decades, according to a Bangladeshi rights group.
In a major international border-related move, India has increased the jurisdiction of its BSF empowering its officers to make arrests, search and seizures up to an area of 50 km in its states bordering Bangladesh, local media reports say.
Border must be peaceful
The BSF's offensive activities do not provide much security to the lives and property of the Bangladeshi citizens on the border. They fear the BSF. The issue of non-use of deadly weapons on the border and reduction of killings to zero has been discussed at various levels. India has repeatedly promised that no deadly weapons will be used at the border and that killings will be reduced to zero. But this has not happened.
In 2020, the BSF killed 46 Bangladeshis as alleged by a human rights group, the Law and Arbitration Center. In the previous year, 43 people were killed by the BSF.
Many claim that Bangladesh-India relations are a role model in bilateral relations. It is also claimed that the relations between the two countries are most cordial. Yet, why this fragile situation on the border?
Indian authorities should think and consider this cordially. The Indian security agencies should respect the sovereignty of Bangladesh and the Bangladeshi people.
The killing of Bangladeshis on the border is an attack on the sovereignty of Bangladesh. The border must be made peaceful and secure.
(The writer, a researcher, has a Master’s degree in International Relations from Dhaka University. The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at email@example.com)