Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hope India acts against border 'culprits': Mozena

Expressing anxiety over recent killings and torture of Bangladeshis at the border with India, the US ambassador to Dhaka has said the Indian government will have to take steps to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

Replying to journalists after visiting Puthia temple at Rajshahi, Dan W Mozena on Sunday said, "I realise that we are very close to the India border and tomorrow, I hope to visit the land border with India."

Responding to a query, Mozena said he is 'aware' of the recent 'tragic incidents' that have taken place at the border.

"These incidents are most regrettable, very sad and very tragic, and I hope the government of India will move expeditiously to hold accountable those responsible for these incidents."

Apparently referring to a recent footage televised by private Indian channel NDTV showing torture being inflicted on a Bangladeshi cattle trader by the India's Border Security Force (BSF), the US ambassador said, "...And I watched one video. They know who those people are and so I hope they will take action against them."

India has already brought to trial eight BSF soldiers responsible for the incident at Khanpur border.

He, however, reasoned that such matters should not strain the ties between the two neighbours. "...Those are the actions of a few individuals and they need to be held accountable."

"But the relations between Bangladesh and India is a different issue, and my government [the US], very strongly encourages good relations between Bangladesh and India."

Meanwhile, special secretary of Indian foreign ministry Pinak Chakravarty on Sunday told a programme in Dhaka, BSF has been strictly instructed not to open fire and they are trying to obey the order.

At the home minister-level talks between the two neighbouring countries on Feb 24 at New Delhi, the Indian minister P Chidambaram also claimed that the border killings have gone down.

Meanwhile, the recent comment made by the BSF chief U K Bansal to BBC, "Firing (along the border) can never be completely stopped," drew severe flak from the Bangladeshi quarters and was officially protested by the country on Feb 9.

A recent European Parliament delegation to Bangladesh also said that they would take up the matter with the Indian embassy at Brussels following their return there.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has already appealed to the Indian government a number of times to bring the BSF personnel responsible for border killings to book.