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BSF jawan killed in firing by Bangladeshi troopers

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on October 18, 2019 Published on October 18, 2019

A Border Security Force (BSF) jawan was shot dead and another sustained bullet injuries on the riverine India-Bangladesh border in Murshidabad district, 240 km from the city, on Thursday morning, according to a statement issued by the BSF. The incident took place after the BSF patrol boat, with five personnel on board, came under heavy firing from the Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) post at the conclusion of a flag meeting there, the statement said.

The shooting has sparked off hectic parleys in the corridors of power. Relations between the two neighbouring forces have been extremely cordial and this is only the second incident of firing in 14 years. In April 2005, an assistant commandant of the BSF was abducted from a flag meeting by the BGB and hacked to death. The recovery of the mutilated body of the assistant commandant had evoked sharp reactions then.

Thursday’s incident comes just a week after Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to the BSF statement, three Indian fishermen crossed the Indo-Bangladesh border and entered the Padma river on Thursday morning. The river is known to have a rich catchment of Hilsa.

The fishing boat was intercepted by a BGB patrol and the fishermen were detained. Two of them were subsequently released and were asked to alert the BSF about a flag meeting, which is generally the norm. Accordingly, the fishermen returned and approached the BSF post at Kakmarichar, under which the jurisdiction of the River Padma falls. (India and Bangladesh share a border of over 4,100 km, a part of which is riverine, making demarcation nearly impossible.)

Around 10.30 AM, the statement issued by the BSF said, the post commander along with five troopers took a boat and approached the BGB in the water channel of river Padma near Boundary Pillar 75/7-S.

However, following the flag meeting, the BGB refused to release the Indian fishermen. This, BSF sources say, is another rarity. Normally flag meetings end with the release of detained nationals and in a cordial matter. Sensing trouble, the BSF troopers tried to return; but their boat was blocked by the BGB.

The BSF boat tried to move away. But, the BGB troopers intercepted and opened fire. Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh (50) was hit on his head and died on the spot; while the boatman, who was shot in the arm, remains critical.

Published on October 18, 2019
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