Bangladesh border guards ‘shoot dead Indian soldier

AFP – October 18, 2019

Border relations between New Delhi and Dhaka have been good and this is the first fatal incident in recent times

KOLKATA: An Indian paramilitary guard was killed and another critically wounded after a ‘firing by Bangladeshi troops’ at a border river on Thursday, Indian security forces said, the first deadly incident between the nations in recent times.

Six Indian border guards had taken a boat to an island on Padma River near a border post in West Bengal state on Thursday to meet their Bangladeshi counterparts to secure the release a detained fishermen, officials said.

The man was one of three fishermen believed to have sailed into Bangladeshi waters to fish for Hilsa, a popular fish in regional cuisine.

Bangladesh border guards detained the trio early Thursday, but two of them were released “soon after,” a senior Indian Border Security Force (BSF) official said.

The pair told the Indian border guards of their detention, which led to the border incident — and the Bangladeshi guards opening fire.

“An Indian border guard was killed and another critically injured in firing by Bangladeshi border troops along the riverine border,” the official said.

“The Indian border guard died in the boat.”

The BSF named the maritime officer as Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh. The second guard was taken to hospital, where he was fighting for his life.

There were no further details about when or why the shooting had occurred.

Border relations between India and Bangladesh have been good and this is the first fatal incident in recent times.

Illegal fishing is not uncommon in the Sunderbans, a Unesco world heritage site which straddles the border of India and Bangladesh and is famous for its mangrove forest.

Thousands of people fish in the area around the year. Fishermen detained on both sides are usually released after talks between border officials.

There was no immediate comment from Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) or Bangladesh’s foreign ministry about the incident.

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