Frequent killings of Bangladeshi citizens by Indian Border Security Force figured prominently at the Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting between the two countries that began in the capital yesterday.

Dhaka strongly protested indiscriminate firings by BSF killing unarmed Bangladeshi nationals on a regular basis, meeting sources said.

The killing of 15-year-old Felani on Kurigram border on January 7 came up at the meeting. “We requested our Indian friends to see that there are no more killings on the border,” said a senior home ministry official, wishing anonymity.

The Indian side was very soft on the issue and agreed that there should be some mechanisms to check casualties on the border, he added.

Joint Secretary (political) Kamal Uddin Ahmed leads the 12-member Bangladesh team at the meeting and Indian Joint Secretary Shambhu Singh leads a 10-member team.

On the first day of the two-day talks, Dhaka reiterated its earlier proposal that BSF men use rubber bullets instead of lethal weapons to save lives of people who cross the border. Delhi is yet to respond to this.

“We discussed all issues, including border management, security and the killings. We are going to prepare a summary on the outcome of our meeting tomorrow morning,” Kamal told The Daily Star.

The summary will be put forward for the home secretary-level talks, beginning in the city this afternoon.

The issues discussed yesterday include actions against fundamentalists, militants and insurgent groups involved in cross border terrorist activities; review of steps taken to check smuggling of arms and ammunition, explosives, drugs and fake currency notes; construction of border fence within 150 yards of the international border; measures to check cross border movement, capacity building of law enforcing agencies and enhancement of cooperation between border forces.

Bangladesh Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikdar will lead a 15-member delegation while his Indian counterpart GK Pillai will lead a 13-member team at the 11th home secretary-level meeting to discuss all border related issues for taking final decisions in the light of the JWG decisions.

A joint statement will be issued on conclusion of the home secretary-level talks Thursday afternoon.

Source: The Daily Star – 19.01.2011