BSF rejects commandant-level meet with Bangladesh border guards

Shillong, June 17 (Calcutta Tube) India’s Border Security Force (BSF) Thursday rejected a meeting with the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) at the commandant level over the recent firing along the India-Bangladesh in southern Meghalaya, instead demanding a meeting at the sector commandant level.

‘There was no point in opening unprovoked firing in all the border out posts. Therefore, we have rejected their (BDR) offer to hold talks at the commandant level and asked for a meeting at the sector commandant level,’ BSF Inspector General (Assam-Meghalaya) Frontier R.C. Saxena told IANS.

‘An official communique has been sent to the BDR and the BSF was expecting a positive response from our Bangladesh counterparts,’ Saxena said.

Meghalaya, which shares a 443-km border with Bangladesh, witnessed series of ‘unprovoked firing’ by the BDR June 15.

Prithvi Raj, the former inspector general of BSF (Assam-Meghalaya) frontier had accused 21 BDR battalion commander, Lt. Col Zahirul Alam of ordering his troops to fire on Indian villagers in areas claimed by Bangladesh but in ‘adverse possession of India’.

At present, there are 551.8 acres of Bangladeshi land in India’s possession, while 226.81 acres of Indian land is in Bangladesh’s possession. There are about 11 such areas in Meghalaya with several of them being in the Jaintia Hills and East Khasi Hills district bordering Bangladesh.

These adverse possession areas were created when the erstwhile East Pakistan and India demarcated the international boundary in the mid-1960s.

Raj had also blamed Alam of being an ‘over-enthusiastic officer’ which led to the two border guarding forces exchanging fire on a number of occasions this year.

Without naming the 21 Battalion commander, Saxena said: ‘He is not having the right frame of mind and so a meeting at the commandant level would not be meaningful.’

Meanwhile, after Tuesday’s firing the villages in the bordering areas are limping back to normalcy.

Saxena added that BSF has asked its troop to be on high alert and heightened its vigil in the sensitive areas.

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