Complete border fencing necessary to prevent infiltration
Complete wire fencing of the border with Bangladesh was absolutely necessary to check infiltration from the neighbouring country, according to Ashwini Kumar Singh, IG of South Bengal of BSF. Referring to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement that the Central government was committed to introduce state-of-the-art technology along the Indo-Bangladesh border, Singh said that introducing border alarm system, fencing and CCTV will help in curbing criminal activities along the border.
In an exclusive chat with Hindusthan Samachar, Singh said that though BSF personnel were vigilant, it was absolutely necessary to increase their strength with complete wire fencing of the border. Even though the relationship between India and Bangladesh was friendly, it was essential for border security to prevent infiltration and fences will be very helpful in this, he said.
He also said that Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) had assured BSF to help prevent infiltration into India. Giving details, he said that cattle and drug traffickers often ambush BSF soldiers. An objection letter in this regard was handed over to BGB to prevent infiltration from Bangladesh border towards India. Thereafter, the BGB chief issued a directory asking the BGB jawans to be more alert to prevent infiltration. In addition, various border issues were raised in the flag meeting with Bangladesh Border Guards, in which border crime prevention was prominent, he said.
Referring to the propaganda against BSFalleging stern and brutal handling of Bangladeshis by the BSF, Singh said, BSF gave priority to human life. BSF jawans attack smugglers only when their own life is in danger. When smugglers of cattle/narcotics use weapons against BSF jawans, they fire in self defense, Singhsaid.
He, however, said life is valuable to everyone, irrespective of nationality, and BSF understands this. BSF is never cruel to anyone. Those who spread propaganda in Bangladesh or anywhere else do so intentionally to damage the relationship between the two countries. In fact, the friendly relations between India and Bangladesh are deepening and BSF will always be a vital link in this, he added.
The BSF IG also appreciated the state government for its solid support. He said action against smugglers or criminals in border areas would not be possible without full support from the local police.
A large section of people living along the India-Bangladesh border are involved in smuggling and trafficking. But now BSF has not only started taking strict steps to prevent this but camps are organized frequently in border areas to make people aware of these crimes, he said. In these awareness camps BSF personnel explain to the people what effect criminal activity will have on their life, how it can harm them for life especially in case of young boys.
Singh also said that students living in the border areas often contact BSF personnel and officers for career guidance. In view of this, the BSF organizes camps in these places and students are given career counselling, from joining BSF or to be recruited in other military forces.
Zero crime target
Singh emphasized that BSF was aiming for zero crime in border areas. This included prevention of smuggling and a complete stoppage of border crimes. The involvement of local police, Bangladesh border guards and civilian representatives was important for this. Soldiers were specifically asked to be vigilant. Officers were asked to campaign specifically for crime prevention.
When asked if the fear of NRC coming into force in India or the enforcement of Citizenship Act had reduced border infiltration, he said in recent times infiltration on the border had reduced very much and for this he appreciated the alertness of BSF jawans to a large extent.
Singh also said that contacts are being made with many other NGOs for better maintenance of cattle caught on the border. It is noteworthy that in the time of peace, BSF is responsible for border security and crime prevention in border areas. Criminal activities like smuggling are the highest on Bangladesh boarder. Therefore, the challenges of BSF on the India-Bangladesh border are high. The biggest challenge here is to eliminate smuggling. But Ashwini Kumar Singh said that the BSF is committed to meet this goal through the alertness and better coordination of the jawans.
KOLKATA July 25 2020