THE death and torture of Bangladeshis at the hands of India’s Border Security Force continues in the frontiers despite repeated BSF assurances to end such happenings. In the latest such incident, the Indian border force tortured a Bangladeshi farmer along the border in Chapainawabganj on October 13. The injured farmer, undergoing treatment in Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, says that four BSF personnel of the Shobhapur camp crossed the border into the Bangladesh territory and beat him with rifle butts when he went to work on his farm at Dosbighi along the Masudpur border. The Border Guard Bangladesh is reported to have visited the spot, strengthened patrol in the area and sent a letter to the Indian force for a flag meeting. Torture of or shooting at Bangladeshis inside the Bangladesh territory in gross violation of the international laws and agreements between the border forces made the headlines earlier too. On October 9, the Indian force shot dead two Bangladeshi young men in the frontiers in Satkhira and Chuadanga. On September 8, when the Bangladesh prime minister was visiting India, the Border Security Force shot dead a Bangladeshi schoolboy along the border in Dinajpur.

India’s border violence has reached such a proportion that many international media and rights organisations have described the Bangladesh-India border as the ‘deadliest’. At least 1,236 Bangladeshis died and 1,145 became wounded in BSF firing in 2000–2020, as rights group Odhikar says. The Indian force killed at least 18 Bangladeshis in 2021 and at least 16 Bangladeshis so far in 2022, as Ain O Salish Kendra says. Internationally accepted border protocols do not allow the shoot-to-kill policy that India has been pursuing for a long time, disregarding the international laws, border protocols and human rights. Border protocols everywhere stipulate that any person who illegally crosses an international border would be considered a trespasser and would be handed over to civilian authorities. But India’s Border Security Force, despite assurances of successive Indian prime ministers to end border killing and to not use lethal weapon in the frontiers, has always used lethal weapons in offence of any type. Bangladesh, on the other hand, appears to have followed a capitualistic approach in dealing with the issue and such an approach has created a ground for impunity for India and its border guards to be high-handed in border control.

The government must, therefore, revise its policy towards India and push for an immediate implementation of no border death policy and demand investigations of all incidents of torture and killing. Bangladesh at the same time must take up the border killing issue at international forums as it is a violation of the international law. Indian authorities must deliver on their promises and ensure that their border force abides by the laws and border protocols.

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