Special Correspondent

Developmental activities within 150 yards of border allowed

  • To cooperate against smuggling of drugs, cattle across border
  • List of fugitives given by India "outdated"

    New Delhi: "We are determined to do the utmost to see to it that miscreants from India do not get breathing space in Bangladesh," Major Shakil Ahmed, Director-General of Bangladesh Rifles, has said.

    Mr. Ahmed was interacting with journalists on Saturday at the end of four days of talks with his Indian counterpart, A.K. Mitra, Director-General of the Border Security Force.

    Cross-border smuggling

    The two sides agreed to permit developmental activities within 150 yards of the border, and committed themselves to cooperating against cross-border smuggling of drugs and cattle.

    No insurgent camps

    Mr. Ahmed, however, asserted that there were no insurgent camps in Bangladesh.

    Though this is not the first time such an assurance has been given, the Indian security establishment is inclined to believe that given the changed political context in Dhaka, meaningful cooperation might be received from Bangladesh Rifles.

    Real-time cooperation

    According to a Home Ministry official, India expected "real-time" cooperation, especially against cadres of the United Liberation Front of Asom suspected of having been given shelter in Bangladesh under the earlier regime.

    Mr. Ahmed was asked about the "list" of fugitives given by New Delhi. He said Bangladesh always investigated whenever concrete information was provided by the Indian side, but often the "list " turned out to be "outdated." However, "any insurgent from India taking sanctuary in Bangladesh will be arrested and put through the law."

    Mobile camps

    Mr. Mitra said the lists were drawn on the basis of intelligence reports, and "we would not be able to say emphatically that it is accurate. Besides, there are mobile camps, which keep shifting."

    Cadres of insurgent groups such as the ULFA, the National Democratic Front of Bodoland and the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation have in the past found sanctuary in Bangladesh.