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Fresh firing along India-Bangladesh border

Shillong, Feb 28 (IANS) The Border Security Force (BSF) and Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) Sunday again traded gunfire in Muktapur along their border in Meghalaya but a BDF official called it ‘accidental’ firing.

The firing, the third time this month, started around 2.35 p.m. and lasted for nearly half hour, a villager on the border who heard the gunshots said.

The firing took place a day after BSF Director General Raman Srivastava announced a reinforcement of his men from Dawki to Muktapur areas.

BSF Assam-Meghalaya border Inspector Prithvi Raj said the BDR had resorted to fresh ‘unprovoked firing’.

Muktapur is about 20 km east of Pyrdiwah village, which was occupied by BDR in 2001 for days claiming it to be a part of Bangladesh, before being forced to retreat.

According to the BSF official, the BDR claimed that the first shot fired towards India was an ‘accidental one’. Prithvi Raj said the BSF was investigating the BDR claim.

On Feb 4 and 14, BDR troops fired at the BSF along the India-Bangladesh border at Muktapur.

Earlier, some BDR personnel intruded into India. One was detained but was handed over to BDR after a flag meeting.

BSF’s Srivastava, who visited the border areas in Meghalaya, had announced two additional companies of BSF to be deployed from Dawki to Muktapur to check ‘external aggression’.

‘We have strengthened all our BOPs (border outposts) and put BSF on maximum alert. If the BDR indulges in misadventure, we will give them a fitting reply,’ he said.

Meghalaya shares a 443-km border with Bangladesh, part of which is porous, hilly and unfenced and prone to frequent infiltration.

According to official records, 551.8 acres of Bangladeshi land is in possession of India, while 226.81 acres of Indian land is in possession of Bangladesh. All these areas are disputed.

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