BSF should now keep its promises
Over the past three years, we had regularly penned editorials on the topic of BSF (Border Security Force) orchestrated border killings. We have also focused on the need for sincere political and professional goodwill, but statistics of the past decade has often indicated a grim reality on Indo-Bangla border killings.
However, it is encouraging to note that in the recent Director General Level Talks between BGB and BSF - BSF has reaffirmed its policy of using non-lethal weapons on our shared borders. Moreover, the Indian security counterpart has also assured that all unarmed and innocent trespassers and victims of human trafficking will be handed over to BGB personnel. Moreover, it is a positive sign that during the dialogue, BSF has refrained from using its much coined term 'Undesirable deaths'.
We welcome BSF's promises to bring down the killings to a zero-level, and we also welcome the BSF suggestion to launch joint operations against cross-border smugglers upon receipt of specific intelligence on their criminal activities. Talks have been held, a joint briefing has taken place in a friendly manner now is the time for BSF to act in accordance to the promises made.
On the topic of Joint Coordinated Patrolling System, we would like to say that it isn't that a similar scheme hadn't existed before, but it failed to bring down the intensity of border killings.
On the other hand, BSF has launched a systematic campaign against the smuggling of codeine based cough syrup in the bordering districts , and is about to redouble efforts to reduce cross-border drugs and narcotics smuggling. This campaign has paid off well for Bangladesh, since smuggling of illegal drugs and narcotics through our shared borders have substantially reduced in recent times.
BSF's ongoing campaign against smuggling of narcotics also proves that, given professionalism and sincere efforts, the security force can also deliver positive results for the two neighbouring countries.
In the year 2019, at least 43 Bangladeshi citizens were killed by BSF. This number looks even more unfortunate in light of the fact that in the previous year, border killings had been brought down to 14. Numbers of 2018 show it is easily possible to bring down the killings, let us try to do even better in 2020, and in the years ahead.
As much as the border killings have violated human rights, the killings have also strained Dhaka-Delhi bilateral ties. We now expect to see a new chapter of peace, safety and joint collaboration unveiled along our shared borders with India. Actions speak louder than words.