Most of the Bangladeshis killed in BSF firing on the Bangladesh-India border were criminals, Director General of India’s Border Security Force (BSF) Pankaj Kumar Singh has said.
“There are both good and bad people on both sides of the border. All the people killed in firing were involved in various crimes at the border. They included smugglers, drug dealers and traffickers. Most of the incidents of firing happened at night,” he said at a joint press conference on Thursday (July 21) on conclusion of a five-day long BGB-BSF director general (DG) level conference held at BGB Headquarters at Pilkhana in Dhaka.
Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) Director General Major General Shakil Ahmed and BSF Director General Pankaj Kumar Singh presided over the conference.
In response to another question regarding how he can call those killed at the borders criminals and whether shooting above knee level is not a targeted killing, he said, “We cannot call anyone a criminal until and unless he is proved a criminal under the judicial system. We can’t just label people as criminals.”
“We talk to our border forces, Kolkata Police and contact with the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP). We exchanged intelligence information on those killed in BSF firing on the border and found them as criminals. All crimes at the border are controlled by the mafias of the two countries”, he said.
Pankaj Kumar Singh said only those involved in trafficking of children and women try to cross the border illegally.
So far, 89 BSF personnel have been seriously injured while preventing border infiltration and smuggling.
“We have started using non-lethal weapons to bring down border killings to zero. Our relation with BGB is better than any time before. We are working together to bring down the on death at border at zero level,” he said.
Five people have been killed in BSF firing at the border until June this year.
When asked why killings on the border are not coming down to zero level yet, the BSF director general said, “We hear this question every year. However, the BSF and BGB are professional forces. The relationship between India and Bangladesh is very different, different from western countries.”
“We are constantly discussing various border issues at the level of officials of different ranks. Both countries have good and bad people. Only the bad guys were killed at the border”, he added.