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Current Affairs
Lethal’ BSF bombs replace firing: BGB
Friday, 25 May 2012
Bangladesh’s border guards are concerned about the dangers associated with a ‘cocktail-like explosive’ which is now being used by the Indian Border Security Force instead of opening fire on those who come close to the frontier.
In recent months a number of people have been killed and seriously injured by the bombs.
‘The BSF recently has started charging such cocktails, in which we have found military grade material normally used in weapons,’ a Border Guard Bangladesh sector commander told New Age on Friday.
He was speaking after attending a four-day border conference between the BGB and the BSF at Shiliguri in India, where, according to a BGB press release, discussions on different border-related issues had taken place, including the killings and kidnaps of unarmed Bangladeshis allegedly by BSF or Indian nationals.
In the border conference, the Bangladesh delegation had raised their concerns about the use of such ‘cocktails,’ which according to the Indian BSF were used as a non-lethal weapon simply to ‘scare’ people, the official said.
‘In the meeting, we showed photographs taken after the so-called cocktails exploded in a rice field near the frontier causing huge damage to the field,’ another sector commander said, ‘But, the BSF was defending its use saying they were using it only to scare away cattle lifters.’
‘We argued that if it was non-lethal why did it cause death or severe injuries,’ lieutenant colonel Abu Bakar Abu, an official at BGB headquarters, told New Age after returning to Dhaka from Shiliguri on Friday night.
Rights watchdog Odhikar, in their monthly report also expressed deep concerns over the weapon saying that the BSF was killing people using handmade bombs (cocktails) rather than shooting.
On Friday, the BSF killed a Bangladeshi cattle trader, Saidur Rahman Chiku, 50, after Indian border guards hurled a bomb at him on the Daudpur border of Birampur in Dinajpur.
On May 8, Faruk Hossain, 32, sustained critical injuries after a cocktail was hurled at him near the Hili frontier in Dinajpur  and in April, Motiar Rahman, was seriously injured in a similar attack at Dakkhin Daudpur border in Dinajpur, according to the media reports.
On March 5, a group of cattle traders at the Daudpur border in Dinajpur were injured when they were returning from India with cattle. One of them, Mohammad Golap Hossain, 24, died from his injuries.
BSF officials had told their BGB counterparts that they were using the handmade bombs as part of keeping their commitment not to open fire on unarmed civilians on the borders.
Until the end of April 2012, the Indian border force had killed at least 10 Bangladeshis and injured 43 this year along the borders. Thirty-three people were killed in 2011, 74 in 2010, 36 in 2009, 47 in 2008, 33 in 2007, 62 in 2006 and 104 in 2005.
New Delhi had assured Dhaka of using non-lethal weapons in an unavoidable situation.
The Indian home minister Palaniappan Chidambaram assured Bangladesh, in a conference in Dhaka on July 30, 2011 that their border guards would not shoot any unarmed civilians under any circumstances.
India shares 4,165 kilometres of border with Bangladesh.