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Fewer people killed along India-Bangladesh border: BSF
Fewer people killed along India-Bangladesh border: BSF
PHOTO : BSF Special Director General (eastern command) Bansi Dhar Sharma addressing media. TIWN Pic June 20

Agartala, June 20 (IANS) After Indian border guards started using non-lethal weapons, the number of people killed along the border has come down from 100 to 12 in a year, a BSF official said here Friday.

The Border Security Force (BSF) has also proposed setting up 64 "border haats" (markets) along the border to further improve relations between India and Bangladesh.

The two neighbours share a 4,095-km border, 30 percent of which is riverine.

"We have stopped using lethal and sophisticated arms along the border with Bangladesh. During the past few years our jawans are using non-lethal weapons and as a result people killed along the frontier has come down from around 100 to 12 in a year," BSF Special Director General (eastern command) Bansi Dhar Sharma told reporters.

He said: "To further improve relations among people on both sides and to boost their economic empowerment, we have proposed to set up 64 'border haats' on the Indian side of the border."

Of the 64 'border haats', 32 are proposed to be set up along the border in West Bengal followed by 22 in Meghalaya, four each in Tripura and Mizoram, and two in Assam.

Two 'border haats' are already functioning on the Meghalaya border.

The official said that around 45 camps of militants from northeast India still exist in Bangladesh.

"BGB (Border Guard Bangladesh) are positive about demolishing Indian extremists' camps in Bangladesh. Their (BGB) deployment along the eastern frontier is insufficient. On our request, they are setting up many BGB camps along the borders with northeastern states of India," Sharma said.

"Today also, I spoke to BGB Director General Maj. Gen. Aziz Ahmed over phone and discussed about some border related problems. He responded positively," the official said, adding the BGB is now raising new battalions to strengthen their vigil along the border with India.

"To improve relations between the bordering people of the two countries, we are now conducting more civic action programmes, including cultural and health related events. BSF troopers are learning local Bengali language."

To facilitate the movement of security forces and civil officials, border roads have been built along 2,472 km (65 percent) of the border against a sanctioned length of 3,781 km.

"Fund crisis, land acquisition, terrain related issues, riverine and low lying areas, population residing within 150 yards of the border led to delay in completion of works of fencing, floodlighting and border roads," the BSF special DG said.

The BSF official reviewed the security situation along the boundary during a meeting with top officials, sector and battalion commanders here Friday. He also visited Akhaura border near here in the wake of recent incidents along the border.

BSF trooper Sandip Kumar, 28, and villager Ismail Mia, 70, were killed in a clash between the border guards and villagers along the boundary in Tripura June 6. Eleven people were injured in the incident on the outskirts of the state capital Agartala.

The Tripura government has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.

"I have asked the sector and battalion commanders to sensitise the jawans and other field officials to prevent recurrence of such incidents. Keeping close relations between the BSF and people would be the priority of the force," he added.

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