Dhaka, March 25 (IANS) India’s Border Security Force (BSF) troopers killed 136 Bangladeshi nationals and injured 170 in the last two years, Bangladesh Home Minister Sahara Khatun has said.
But the occurrence has reduced following bilateral consultations, Khatun told parliament Thursday, according to the New Age newspaper.
India has also promised to use non-lethal weapons, including rubber bullets, in border areas on an experimental basis, she told the Jatiyo Sangsad in reply to a member’s question.
The assurance came at a meeting earlier this month of the directors general of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and the BSF.
Khatun said the Bangladeshis were shot dead and wounded by the BSF troopers between Jan 1, 2009, and March 14, 2011.
The BSF has said its men shot in self defence as those who move across borders taking advantage of the poor visibility during night are often armed.
They include drug smugglers, and arms and human traffickers.
The number of killings has gone down gradually following a strong protest by Bangladesh at a number of meetings between the border security forces of the two countries, Khatun said.
The minister said India decided to punish BSF personnel accused of killing after a secretary-level meeting between Bangladesh and India on Jan 18-19, 2011.
The shooting of Bangladeshi personnel has been a sore issue among the neighbours.
Odhikar, a Bangladeshi NGO, has alleged that 1,000 Bangladeshi nationals have been killed over a decade between 2000 and 2010 while moving across the border.
The 4,300-km border witnesses what is termed as “informal trade” to the tune of $3 billion annually.