The smuggling of counterfeit Indian currency from across the India-Bangladesh border was a growing concern for the security forces and in an attempt to check the menace, the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have proposed the setting up of a joint task force, officials said here on Sunday.
“The setting up of a joint task force to check the smuggling of fake Indian currency notes has been proposed,” B.D. Sharma, Additional Director General (East) of the BSF, told journalists a day after the conclusion of the director general-level Border Coordination Conference in Dhaka.
The setting up of a joint task force was proposed at the conference, but the details were yet to be worked out, Mr. Sharma said adding that a similar initiative was set up to deal with another area of concern for both forces — human trafficking.
While there are no figures on the amount of counterfeit money crossing over every year, the fact that the BSF seized notes worth nearly Rs. 44-lakh in 2011 and over Rs. 15-lakh in the first eight months of this year indicates the scale of the problem.
Killings along border
Mr. Sharma said that in the course of the conference, the BGB raised the issue of Bangladeshi nationals being killed along the border, but the success of initiatives such as the use of non-lethal weapons by BSF personnel was recognised.
According to BSF records, the number of persons killed in firings along the border declined from 93 in 2009 to 17 in 2011 and 16 until August this year. The number of Bangladeshi nationals killed declined from 55 in 2009 and 11 in 2011 to six so far this year, Mr. Sharma said.
“There are some discrepancies between our figures and those of the BGB. For example, they claim that nine persons were killed but we provided the reasons for our figures being lower and they admitted them,” he said.
Mr. Sharma said increasingly a culture of restraint was being inculcated among the BSF personnel on the zero line and they were sticking to the maxim of using firepower only when there was threat to life or property.
However, the decline in fatal firings has come at the cost of injury to BSF personnel themselves. While 57 BSF jawans were injured in skirmishes with those trying to cross the border illegally in 2010, the number shot up to 147 in 2011.
Already, nearly a hundred troops were injured in 2012 while these incidents had claimed the lives of two BSF personnel over the past two years, Mr. Sharma said.