Vol. 4 Num 224 Sun. January 11, 2004  
Front Page

BDR, BSF agree to bust camps

Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF) of India Ajay Raj Sharma on Friday said New Delhi would get anti-Bangladesh terrorists, insurgents and criminals and bust their camps in India.

BDR Director General Major General Jahangir Alam Chowdhury handed over to Sharma a list of 39 anti-Bangladesh separatists' camps which Dhaka alleges are in West Bengal and Tripura states of India.

Sharma too gave Choudhury a list of 194 anti-India terrorist training camps and 100 prominent Indian insurgents based in various locations of Bangladesh and sought Dhaka's cooperation in dismantling the camps.

The BDR chief denied the existence of camps in Bangladesh and both sides "resolved to act promptly on information that may be shared on activities of anti-national elements of either country and not to allow use of their respective territories against the interest of the other," said an official release containing the Joint Record of Discussions between the border guards of the two countries issued here Friday evening.

Sharma and Chowdhury were jointly briefing the press after signing the Joint Record of Discussions at the end of the four-day border talks at the BSF headquarters here.

"We shall get them in case they exist," Sharma said, adding, "the BDR chief requested us to get these fellows." Sharma also said he received from the BDR chief a list of 39 camps and 91 terrorists and insurgents, and criminals operating from camps in India.

At the BDR-BSF Directors' General-level talks in Dhaka last year, Bangladesh gave a list of 29 camps in Tripura, Mizoram and Assam from where the Priti Group of Shanti Bahini has been carrying out insurgent and terrorist activities against Bangladesh, said General Chowdhury.

He said these groups, instead of surrendering in 1998, have been continuing insurgency and terrorism against Bangladesh. Besides two more extremist groups -- the Banga Sena led by Kalidas Baidya and Bir Banga Sena headed by Chittaranjan Sutar -- were carrying out terrorist and secessionist activities against Bangladesh from bases in West Bengal, he added.

The BSF director general refuted the charges that Bangladeshi criminals are residing in India and involved in smuggling of firearms and explosives into Bangladesh and that some Indian entities propagating anti-Bangladesh sentiments.

The BDR DG aired concern over firing on and killing of Bangladeshi nationals by the BSF and Indian civilians, to which Sharma said BSF troops have "displayed a high degree of restraint during the last eight months as a result of which the number of killings has gone down significantly".

About border violation allegedly by BSF and Indian nationals, Sharma denied "any advertent violation" by the BSF personnel and said protests by the BDR in this regard had been found to be "incorrect," said the release.

The BSF director general expressed serious concern over illegal migration from Bangladesh saying "this has continued unabated causing serious socio-economic problems in India". He urged the BDR DG to take effective steps to check this "illegal flow into India."