Dhaka foils trafficking bid, hosts border management talksAugust 20th, 2008 - 12:59 pm ICT by IANS
Dhaka, Aug 20 (IANS) Bangladesh’s elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) prevented 25 people from being transported illegally to India, even as the two South Asian neighbours are set to take up contentious issues pertaining to border management at talks beginning Wednesday. RAB “rescued” the 25, including five women and 14 children, all Bangladeshi nationals, from a hotel in Rajshahi, the city on the border with India’s West Bengal, “as they were being trafficked to India”, The Daily Star reported Wednesday.
Two people - Abdus Sattar and Robiul Islam from Kalia in Narail - were arrested from the hotel for the trafficking bid. Sattar brought them to Rajshahi promising jobs in India, RAB officials said quoting some victims.
One of the victims told police that they had agreed to cross over to India in the hope of earning enough for a living.
Investigation officer of the case Abdus Sattar Khan said Sattar had returned from Mumbai recently, the newspaper reported.
Mumbai and other cities are havens for illegal migrants from Bangladesh, according to Indian estimates. Efforts to nab them and repatriate them to Bangladesh do not work as the latter pushes them back, Indian officials say.
In many cases, those who are repatriated return to their adopted Indian homes within weeks thanks to a porous 4,300-km border.
Besides trafficking in personnel, there are no authentic estimates of the goods and cattle, besides human beings, who cross over from Bangladesh to India.
One of the issues that would be taken up at the talks between the chiefs of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and India’s Border Security Force (BSF) is the alleged rise in the incidents of firing by the BSF carried out in the course of preventing trafficking of humans, goods and cattle.
In one such incident earlier this month, Dhaka alleged that three BDR personnel were shot by the BSF.
India says the BSF personnel shot at cattle thieves and smugglers, whose cross-border activities go up before any festival season in Bangladesh, when demand for meat goes up.
“Whenever we raise the issue of firings and killings by BSF, they assure us of looking into the matter. But practically nothing is done,” said a BDR official preferring anonymity.
“The issues of intrusion of Indian nationals and border guards into Bangladesh territory will also be discussed at the meeting,” the official added.
BDR is to discuss with the Indian border guards violation of border rules, detention of Bangladeshis in India and combating cross-border drug smuggling.
The border management talks at official and even ministerial levels also take up the question of political fugitives.
While Dhaka alleges that India is sheltering its wanted criminals, including activists of political parties, the latter too accuses that a large number of separatists and militants from the Indian northeast are running camps on Bangladeshi soil.
Although both deny the charges of sheltering politicos, there is cooperation in the exchange of criminals from time to time.