Sunday, February 26, 2012

Border Killings :: Shahara happy with Indian pledges

The director generals of India's Border Security Force and Border Guard Bangladesh will meet in New Delhi on March 11-15 for talks to end the BSF firing on and killing of Bangladeshis at the border.

Home Minister Shahara Khatun made the announcement on the structured biannual director general-level meeting yesterday afternoon. She returned home, wrapping up her first official visit to India, yesterday.

Talking to a group of journalists at the Taj Man Singh Hotel in New Delhi before she left for home, Shahara said the BGB-BSF meeting would discuss how to step up consultations between the two border forces and bring an end to the incidents of firing and killing at the frontier.

The BGB-BSF meeting assumes significance as it comes in the wake of a number of incidents of firing and killing by BSF along the border.

The Indian side, during the home minister-level meeting Saturday, explained to Bangladesh the circumstances in which BSF had to open fire recently when its own jawans had come under attack and were grievously injured by members of a suspected smuggling gang.

However, Bangladesh is seriously concerned by the remarks of BSF chief UK Bansal, who in two separate interviews to the BBC and the Press Trust of India, had said the firing would not stop completely and that the BSF would open fire if dared by criminals.

Shahara said all the Indian leaders she had met in the last three days assured her that India was taking steps to completely stop incidents of border firing and killing. 

Terming her visit to India and her interaction with the Indian leadership, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, successful, Shahara said she had given the Indian leaders the impression of how the people of Bangladesh and the government of Sheikh Hasina would be inconvenienced if the stalemate on the proposed agreement on the sharing of Teesta river water was not resolved soon.

She said all Indian leaders “have conveyed to me that they are mindful of the difficulties Bangladesh faces and assured us that they are trying to resolve the Teesta issue”.

Asked if the Indian leaders had given any time frame for evolving a consensus and solving the Teesta issue, she replied in the negative.

“How can I as Bangladesh home minister press India for a time frame for solving the issue?” she said.

Shahara said the Indian leaders also said steps would be taken to make the issuance of visas for Bangladeshis easier.

She said she had also asked the Indian government to hand over to Bangladesh Capt Abdul Mazed and Risaldar Moslehuddin Khan, the two killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman thought to be hiding in West Bengal.

She said both the Indian prime minister and the finance minister have “given me their word” that the Indira-Mujib agreement on land boundary and exchange of enclaves will be placed in the Indian parliament for ratification during its upcoming budget session scheduled for March 9.
The Bangladesh parliament has already ratified it. 

Shahara also said Bangladesh was working on finalising the draft extradition treaty between India and Bangladesh.