Vol. 5 Num 284 Tue. March 15, 2005  
Front Page

Dhaka urged not to fight border fencing
Indian HC in Dhaka requests in a letter

The Indian High Commission in Dhaka has requested the government to instruct Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) not to resist Border Security Force (BSF) of India from constructing barbed wire fences at some places within 150 yards of the no man's land, a well placed BDR source said.

The request was made in a letter sent to the foreign ministry yesterday.

The letter reads India at a secretary-level meeting between the two countries earlier stated that they need to erect barbed wire fences at some places. So, it requests the government to give directives to the BDR not to oppose the BSF move to erect fences on the Indian side within 150 yards of the no man's land, the source added.

Sources at the high commission confirmed making the request.

When contacted yesterday evening, Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan said he did not know anything about it as he was away from the office on official purposes.

Meanwhile, BDR sources said they would not allow India to construct fences and any other installations within 150 yards of the no man's land.

BDR and BSF members exchanged fire in different bordering areas over the last few days as BSF attempted to construct fences.

In the wake of such clashes, a high-level BDR delegation reached Agartala in India yesterday noon for a meeting with top BSF officials.

DDG of BSF Gajendra Singh Chowdhury welcomed the eight-member BDR delegation led by Deputy Director General Brigadier General SM Golam Rabbani at Tripura border.

IG of BSF for Assam, Meghalaya, Monipur and Nagaland Shri SC Srivastava will lead a 14-member Indian team.

The two sides sit at 9:00am today to deal with a number of contentious issues.

Apart from barbed wire fences, construction of roads, bridges and pump houses on the Indian side within 150 yards of the no man's land will dominate the meeting, said an official at the BDR headquarters.

"Firing on and killing of innocent and unarmed Bangladeshi people by the BSF and Indian citizens are also likely to come up at the talks," the official said seeking anonymity.

The other issues on the agenda are BSF camps on the border, security, obstruction of development work on the Bangladesh side by the BSF, and smuggling of arms and ammunition and drugs.

Indian private television channel ETV yesterday quoted Rabbani as saying that Bangladesh would not allow the BSF to erect fences within 150 yards of the no man's land.

Our Dinajpur correspondent reports: A commander-level flag meeting between BDR and BSF will be held tomorrow near Barshalu village in Atoari upazila of Panchagarh district to defuse border tension.

Colonel Kaiser Uddin, sector commander of 15 rifle battalion of Dinajpur, will lead the Bangaldesh side while Commander OP Gour from Kishanganj BSF camp will lead the Indian team.

The BDR and BSF repeatedly traded fire following a dispute over the construction of a dam at Barshalupara in Atoari upazila, panicking people of the area.

According to BDR, Water Development Board (WDB) and other sources, BSF members of Moragati outpost along with over 100 Indian villagers intruded into Bangladesh territory yesterday morning and attempted to stop construction of the dam. They also tried to loot construction materials.

BDR personnel and workers foiled their bid, local sources said.