Three persons, including two suspected Bangladeshi nationals, were killed along the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district on Friday in an operation by the Border Security Force (BSF) to prevent cattle smuggling.
While the local authorities claimed that three bodies have been recovered from the site at Sitai, a BSF statement said bodies of two unknown miscreants were recovered from the spot. One of the deceased was identified as Indian national.
The statement said that about “0230 hrs, miscreants from Bangladesh side ventured into Indian territory and tried to smuggle cattle heads by establishing improvised bamboo cantilever at two places”.
It added, “BSF troops utilised non-lethal munition to deter the miscreants, but they attacked BSF troops with iron dah and sticks causing injuries to the troops. Sensing imminent threat to their life, BSF party fired in the air towards miscreants. Later during search, dead bodies of two unknown miscreants were found between border fence and International Boundary.”
According to the BSF, one of their personnel was injured in the incident and information regarding this was shared with the Border Guards Bangladesh.
Trinamool blames BSF
The deaths evoked strong reaction from the Trinamool Congress. Dinhata MLA and party leader Udayan Guha blamed the BSF for the deaths and accused its personnel of being involved in cross-border smuggling. “Everytime something goes wrong, the BSF comes out with elaborate stories about the incident,” he alleged.
Cattle smuggling along the porous border between West Bengal and Bangladesh was rampant over the past few years. Of late, there has been a drop in the cattle seized along the border, particularly in the South Bengal Frontier of the BSF.
Bhalla in Bengal
The development comes at a time when the State government has expressed strong reservation about increasing the operational jurisdiction of the BSF to 50 km. On Friday, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla held a meeting with State officials, including the Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary in Kolkata. The increase of territorial jurisdiction of the BSF was discussed at the meeting among other issues.