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IN a first of its kind incident, Bangladeshi border guards opened fire at a Border Security Force (BSF) team on Thursday killing a jawan after a ‘flag meeting’ along the Indo–Bangla riverine frontier in West Bengal, officials said.
A second jawan was injured in the firing incident, they said.
The action against the Indian personnel in what was called by officials as “high handedness” by the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) sparked tension prompting the BSF chief V.K. Johri to call up his counterpart Major General Shafeenul Islam over hotline.
Relations between the border forces of India and Bangladesh that guard the 4,096–km long international border have been very cordial and no bullet has been fired between them for decades
The BGB Director General assured Johri a thorough probe into the incident, officials said.
The jawan killed in the shooting was identified as head constable Vijay Bhan Singh and he hailed from Chamaroli village in Firozabad district of Uttar Pradesh. The 51–year–old trooper, who is survived by his wife and 2 young sons, had joined the BSF in 1990.
The relations between the border forces of India and Bangladesh that guard the 4,096–km long international border have been very cordial and no bullet has been fired between them for decades.
Action against the Indian personnel in what was called by officials as “high handedness” by the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) sparked tension prompting the BSF chief V.K. Johri to call up his counterpart Major General Shafeenul Islam over hotline
The first of its kind incident is an aberration and efforts are being made to ensure that the situation does not deteriorate, officials said.
The top security establishment in New Delhi was taken aback by the incident and the Union ministries of home and external affairs were briefed by the BSF.
A BSF statement said the incident took place under the Kakmarichar border post of the BSF in Murshidabad district around 9 am when a force party approached BGB personnel, standing at a “char” or a riverine in the middle of the Padma river, to resolve an issue linked to Indian fishermen.
Officials said the trouble arose when the BGB personnel held three Indian fishermen who were allowed by the BSF to fish within the International Border that runs through the middle of the 3–km–wide Padma River.
The river offers a rich catch of the hilsa fish.
BGB jawan identified only as Sayed fired from behind when the BSF party started to return on their motor–boat after sensing the “aggressiveness” by the Bangladeshi personnel and an intention to “surround” them
A BGB team then allowed two fishermen to go and inform the BSF that the third person has been held by them and that was when the BSF post commander of the 117th battalion, a sub-inspector, took a 6-member party on a motor-boat to resolve the issue, the statement said.
A BGB jawan identified only as Sayed fired from behind when the BSF party started to return on their motor–boat after sensing the “aggressiveness” by the Bangladeshi personnel and an intention to “surround” them, officials said.
The BGB trooper, officials said, fired from his AK–47 rifle and shot Vijay Bhan Singh on his head, while constable Rajvir Yadav sustained bullet injuries on his hand.
Singh died on the boat itself while Yadav deftly saved the boat from sinking and managed to bring it to the Indian side.
A fisherman, identified as Pranab Mandal of Shirochar village, is stated to be still in the custody of the BGB.
Senior BSF officials reached the spot and are assessing the situation.
Security has been stepped up all along the Indo–Bangla border in the wake of the incident.
The two forces meet biannually and the last Director General–level talks took place in June this year at BGB’s headquarters at Pilkhana in Dhaka. ■
DG & all ranks #BSF salute the supreme sacrifice of Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh and offer condolences to the family members.
On 17th October '19, HC Vijay Bhan Singh martyred of bullet injuries while on an operational duty (flag meeting with BGB) on Indo- Bangladesh Border pic.twitter.com/UZloaaGDUT
— BSF (@BSF_India) October 17, 2019
BSF PRESS RELEASE
■ 17th Oct, 2019 Behrampore, West Bengal.
■ Today morning, three Indian fishermen went for fishing in River Padma in the border area.
■ Two fishermen returned and approached BSF post Kakmarichar (Riverine border of River Padma falls in the AOR of this BOP), that Border Guard Bangladesh has apprehended them all and later released two of them to call BSF post Commander for flag meeting.
■ Around 1030 hrs Post Commander along with 5 troopers in the BSF boat, approached BGB patrol in the water channel of River Padma near Boundary Pillar 75/7-S
■ During Flag meeting BGB patrol did not release Indian fisherman and also tried to cordon (Gherao) BSF troops.
■ Sensing the situation worsening, BSF party immediately returned.
■ BGB troops opened fire on the returning BSF party.
■ Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh received bullet injuries on his head and the Constable/crew (boatman) received bullet injuries on his right hand.
■ Both injured BSF personnel were evacuated to nearest medical facility. Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh succumbed to injuries, he was declared brought dead. Injured Constable has been taken to Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital Behrampore.
■ BGB authorities have been contacted. Senior officials are on the spot.
—With inputs from PTI