When would border killings end?
According to a local independent rights body, at least 25 Bangladeshi nationals have been killed over the first half of 2020 in border-related incidents along our shared borders with India. On one hand, killing of Bangladeshi nationals along the borders has continued during the ongoing pandemic while on the other the killings suddenly took a steep climb following the killing of 20 Indian soldiers by Chinese forces in a violent face-off over a disputed border area in the western Himalayas, at India's Ladakh.
We, however, cannot confirm if the killing of Indian soldiers has any connection to turn Indian BSF even more intolerant and violent along with our shared borders. But the killing trend has manifestly turned our shared borders into 'Killing fields'. We are baffled that the killings are continuing despite all types of discussions, dialogues including flag meetings being regularly held by the BSF and BGB.
It is also disturbing that almost at all bilateral meetings held between BGB and BSF, the Indian side have always termed these killings as 'undesirable deaths' and have come up with the same excuse-that they have shot our citizens to death in self-defence.
If such routine dialogues and meetings continue to fail delivering result and diminish safety and security with our shared borders, it is time to ask - what's the need for continuing such futile professional formalities?
Despite Delhi's repeated assurances to bring down border killings over the past couple of years, the situation is a far cry from being changed. However, a human life is precious, and killings at the hand of a friendly neighbouring nation badly affect all citizens who have put faith in our strong bilateral ties.
To cut a long story short, border killings continue since BSF personnel are never held accountable for their action or their excessive use of force. Under such circumstances, Bangladesh government must adopt a firm and uncompromising stance while compel Indian authorities to convincingly explain for the killings of our citizens by the BSF.
Our biggest next door neighbour, India has always been a trusted friend and ally. We do not expect such hostile treatment from our neighbour. If rampant killings committed by BSF personnel continue, it is not only the bilateral ties which would deteriorate in the long run, but the foundation and validity of our ties will be questioned. In fact, the bilateral ties have often been branded as a one-way-affair by certain quarters.
Last of all, we call on our government to push for a zero-border-killing policy and demand investigations into all incidents of torture and killings at our shared borders. Simultaneously, if need be, the government must take up the issue at international forums as it is a clear violation of international laws.