The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is an “internal matter” of the Indian government, Director-General, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Maj. Gen. Md. Shafeenul Islam has said.
“This is completely an internal matter of the Indian government. Like any other border guarding force, BGB works to prevent illegal crossing...,” he said on the NRC issue. To questions if there were any illegal border crossings from India in the aftermath of the NRC, Maj. Gen. Islam said there weren’t any such.
“We regularly apprehend persons who cross the border,” he said, adding these were Bangladeshis who came into India inadvertently or for work without proper documents. He said about 300 Bangladeshis were apprehended by the BGB this year while crossing the border.
Vivek Johri, Director-General (DG), Border Security Force (BSF), and Maj. Gen. Islam were addressing the media on Sunday at the 49th border coordination conference held from December 25-30.
On the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), Maj. Gen. Islam said he would not like to make any comments, while Mr. Johri said he [the DG, BGB] had already clarified [on the NRC] that these were an internal matter of India.
In the aftermath of the recent firing between the border guarding forces of India and Bangladesh, the two countries are updating the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) that are in place to prevent a repeat of such incidents. “It is unfortunate, unexpected incident. There are lessons to be learnt from it, on how to prevent such incidents. We are drawing detailed SOP on this subject,” Mr. Johri said on Sunday. “We have basic SOPs already in place. What we are doing is review it and plug certain gaps. It should be ready in the next few days,” he added in response to a question from The Hindu .
In October, in an incident of unprovoked firing by the BGB, Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh of the BSF lost his life when they went to secure the release of Indian fishermen held in their waters. Commenting on the incident, Maj. Gen. Islam said it was totally unexpected and unwarranted. “We have taken steps to avoid such situations. Inquiry is in process, after which we will take steps,” he said. On the status of the Indian fisherman apprehended on the sea by the BGB, Maj. Gen. Islam said he had been handed over to the police.
Mr. Johri said a project to plug border gaps and deploy a “smart fence” along the riverine India-Bangladesh front in Assam was expected to be completed by July next year.
(With PTI inputs)