India reviews border security along Bangladesh

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Director General Subhash Joshi Thursday inspected the India-Bangladesh border in Tripura, as New Delhi beefed up security along the border with turmoil-stricken Bangladesh, officials here said.

“The BSF DG has directed all senior officials to closely monitor and review security along India’s border with Bangladesh,” a senior BSF official told reporters.

Indian BSF personnel patrol a stretch of the India-Bangladesh border on the outskirts of AgartalaThe BSF chief was accompanied, during Thursday’s inspection, by Inspector General (operations) Rajib Krishna and Additional DG (east) B.D. Sharma. A series of meetings followed the inspection.

“We have asked our soldiers to keep an intense watch on the border situation. Our men, with available gadgets, remain vigilant round-the-clock along the borders, specially where a substantial number of people reside across the border,” BSF Public Relations Officer Bhaskar Rawat said.

“BSF personnel deployed on poll duties in the recently held assembly elections in five states have been re-deployed along the borders to further tighten vigilance along the sensitive borders,” Rawat told IANS.

India shares a 4,096-km border with Bangladesh, including 856 km in Tripura. A large portion of the international border remains unfenced and porous.

Another top BSF official said: “We were apprehensive that when Bangladesh deploys its army before their general elections (due in Jan 5) and starts taking action against miscreants and wrongdoers, there might be some influx of people from across the border into Indian territory.”

“However, we will take steps as and when the situation so dictates,” the official told IANS, preferring to remain unidentified.

Joshi briefed the soldiers at border outposts about the welfare activities undertaken for them, and motivated them to perform their work with dedication.

There are a large number of thickly populated Bangladeshi villages and towns on the other side of the international border, making the task a delicate one for Indian border guards.

The Bangladesh election commission has set Jan 5, 2014 for the 10th parliamentary elections, a plan rejected by the major opposition parties.

Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led 18-party alliance with the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami being a major partner, is continuing a violent agitation across the Muslim-dominated country demanding postponement of the polls and holding them under a neutral caretaker government.

The opposition parties’ demands have also been rejected by the Awami League party-led government, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

According to media reports, at least 100 people have died in widespread violence in the past few weeks.

Rail coaches, vehicles, shops and offices and private and government assets have been damaged by the protestors.