445 Bangladeshis returned from India in last 2 months: BGB chief


DHAKA: Bangladesh’s paramilitary force chief said on Thursday that a total of 445 Bangladeshi nationals returned from India in the last two months following the publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) by the Indian government.

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Director General Maj Gen Md Shafeenul Islam disclosed the figure during a press briefing here.

“About 1,000 people were arrested in 2019 for illegal border crossings from India to Bangladesh, with 445 of them returning home in November and December,” he said.

After verifying their identities through local representatives, BGB came to know that all the intruders are Bangladeshis, Islam said, adding that 253 cases were lodged against them for illegal trespass, while initial investigations found that at least three of them were human traffickers.

The BGB Director said the trespassing did not create any tension between the border forces of Bangladesh and India.

Last week, Islam visited India where he said that the creation of the NRC is completely an “internal affair” of India and the cooperation between the border guarding forces of the two countries is very good.

He said the BGB will continue to do its work of preventing illegal border crossings as per its mandate.

A BGB delegation, led by Islam, was on a bilateral visit to India to hold DG-level border talks with its counterparts, the Border Security Force (BSF).

The talks took place from December 26-29, during which a host of issues related to cross-border smuggling and activities of criminals and others along the 4,096-km-long front were discussed.

Responding to a question, Islam said, “No discussion was held at the conference over the (NRC) issue”.

He said during the five-day talks held in New Delhi, the BGB demanded that the BSF should take effective steps to prevent killings of Bangladeshis on frontiers as casualty figures sharply rose in 2019.

“The number of border killings in 2019 was highest in the last four years. As per our calculation, the number of such unexpected deaths was 35,” the BGB chief said.

However, the BSF estimate of the casualty figure is much lower than our calculation, he said.

Islam said the BSF is following the policy of maintaining maximum restraint and minimal use of force even after being attacked by “armed border offenders”.

A statement issued by the BSF last month in New Delhi after the conclusion of the DG-level talks said, “On the concern of the BGB regarding the death of Bangladeshi nationals on borders, it was informed to them that a non-lethal weapon policy is strictly followed by BSF personnel on borders.

“Firing is resorted to only in self-defence, when BSF patrols are gheraoed and attacked by dah’ (a sharp-edged weapon) etc. It was specified that the BSF does not discriminate between criminals based on nationality,” it said. (PTI)