Bangladesh protests killing of two border guards

July 20th, 2008 - 12:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, July 20 (IANS) Bangladesh has protested to India on the killing of two of its border guards Thursday night, claiming the incident took place 1.5 Km inside its territory . The New Age newspaper correspondent in Chapainawabganj said the situation on the Raghunathpur border had been tense as both sides reinforced the deployment of border guards.

Bangladesh Foreign Affairs Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury strongly condemned the killing of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) personnel, saying “such incidents are totally unacceptable”.

The incident coincided with the annual bilateral consultations by foreign secretaries in New Delhi, when the two South Asian neighbours expressed satisfaction at the “existing functional mechanism” to deal with terrorism and illegal cross-border activities.

BDR’s Director (Operations and Training) Abdul Halim told media here Saturday that Border Security Force (BSF) of India had started “firing without provocation” at the Raghunathpur border outpost where Bangladeshi border guards were on duty.

The deceased were the patrol team commander Havildar Hannan Sarker, 53, and Lance Naik Krishna Pada Das, 45.

But India has said BSF personnel shot at smugglers engaged in leading a herd of cattle across the border.

Cattle smuggling is a regular phenomenon across the 4,300 km India-Bangladesh border, particularly during monsoon. The cattle are in demand during festival times in Bangladesh, when prices go up.

India “brushed aside” Bangladesh’s claim, but gave an assurance to take up Bangladesh’s concerns with higher authorities at its end, the newspaper said Sunday.

The Daily Star newspaper said in an editorial Sunday the incident had come when there were “noticeable changes for the better in relations between the two countries”.

“The irony is that when policy makers in India and Bangladesh are engaged in devising ways and means of improving bilateral relations, such spur-of-the-moment acts as the incident in question can only undermine the whole exercise,” the editorial said.

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