The Border Security Force (BSF) on Friday said it shot dead two alleged Bangladeshi cattle smugglers in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district.
This comes on the day union home secretary Ajay Bhalla is scheduled to meet West Bengal chief secretary HK Dwivedi in Kolkata to discuss pending land acquisition for construction of border fence, road projects, Border Out Posts, and Integrated Check Posts.
“Around 3am on Friday miscreants from the Bangladesh side ventured into Indian territory and tried to smuggle in cattle by setting up improvised bamboo cantilever. Initially, BSF warned them but the latter did not pay any heed. When BSF used non-lethal weapons, the smugglers attacked the BSF troop with sharp weapons and sticks. Sensing an imminent threat to life, BSF opened fire,” the BSF said in a statement.
At least two dead bodies were recovered from the scene and a BSF personnel was also injured.
West Bengal shares a 2,216km border with Bangladesh. The India-Bangladesh border, particularly in West Bengal, is one of the most porous frontiers. The union home ministry in March 2020 told Parliament that in 2017, 2018, and 2019, security agencies arrested 1,175, 1,118, and 1,351 people along the India-Bangladesh border.
The Centre in October extended the jurisdiction of BSF in states such as West Bengal, allowing it to carry out search, seizure, and arrests within 50 km from the international borders. This limit was earlier 15km.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has objected to the move. She wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 24 saying the decision was meant to torture common people and suffered from serious constitutional impropriety.