BSF Jawan’s Death Due to ‘Misunderstanding’, Says Bangladesh Min

The “apparent high-handedness” of the BGB troops has led to tension between the two sides. 

Updated
India
5 min read
BSF Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh.
i

In connection to the death of Border Security Force (BSF) Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh, who was killed on Thursday, 17 October, along the International Border of India and Bangladesh in West Bengal, Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Saturday said that he was killed owing to “misunderstanding between border forces,” PTI reported.

He further said that he will talk to Home Minister Amit Shah, if required, to "defuse the situation".

Khan also stated that an Indian fisherman, who was arrested on Thursday for trespassing into Bangladesh waters, will be released, in accordance with the norms.

On Thursday, a BSF jawan was killed and another injured after a Bangladeshi border guard fired his AK-47 rifle during a 'flag meeting' along the International Border of the two countries in West Bengal.

Officials said the incident took place at the Kakmarichar border post of the BSF in Murshidabad district at about 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.

Here’s how the events unfolded as per details provided by the BSF:

  • The trouble started 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.
  • A BGB team then allowed two of those fishermen to go and inform the BSF that they were holding the third; this was when the BSF post commander of the 117th battalion, a sub-inspector, took a six-member party on a motor-boat to resolve the issue.
  • During the flag meeting, the BGB patrol did not release the Indian fisherman, and then tried to gherao the BSF troops. Sensing the situation worsening, the BSF party immediately returned.
  • A BGB jawan, identified as Sayed, fired upon the six-member BSF party from behind as they started to turn back to their motor-boat.
  • The BGB jawan is said to have fired from his AK-47 rifle, shooting BSF head constable Vijay Bhan Singh in the head, while constable Rajvir Yadav sustained a bullet injury in his hand. The 51-year-old trooper, who is survived by his wife and 2 young sons, had joined the BSF in 1990.
  • While the BSF jawan died on the boat, the injured constable Yadav deftly saved the boat from sinking and brought it safely to the Indian side.
  • A fisherman, identified as Pranab Mandal of Shirochar village, is reportedly still in the custody of the BGB.

‘BGB Fired in Self-Defence’

In a statement released after the incident, the Border Guards Bangladesh was quoted by ANI as saying:

“... BSF was told that if they want to take prisoners back, they would be given a formal return by the flag meeting. BGB patrol team informed them that you too came to Bangladesh illegally, so you too will be handed over through official flag meeting. The BSF members were then forced to flee. When BGB stopped them, BSF members started firing. Speedboats continued to enter India. The BGB then fired in self-defence. Later, it was reported that one BSF member was killed.”

‘Unprovoked Action by The BGB’: BSF Officials

A senior official rejected the claim made by the BGB that its patrol team "had to open fire in self-defence amid gunfire by BSF men".

“Our men have not fired a single bullet. It was an unprovoked action by the BGB that killed the BSF jawan and injured other.”
BSF Official

The BGB had said since the BSF personnel had intruded into Bangladesh's territory, they were told they would be handed over to authorities after the proposed meeting.

"The BSF men then turned furious and opened gunfire and started going back to their (Indian) territory," the BGB alleged.

The BSF official countered this, saying the force party of 6 troops had entered 400 meters into the international border across the Padma river in Murshidabad district as that is the “designated place for flag meeting.”
“When BGB requests BSF for flag meeting, we go inside the territory of Bangladesh. When we call BGB for flag meeting, they enter inside our territory at designated point,”
BSF Official

A senior BSF officer in Delhi said the troops "did not try to forcibly take away the lone fisherman from the custody of BGB as they had gone for flag meeting inside Bangladesh territory on getting a call from the BGB."

It is not true that BGB could apprehend only one Indian fisherman and two managed to run away and went to BSF, he said.

The fact is that BGB apprehended all three fishermen and seized all their paraphernalia. After some time, they sent back two fishermen in the dingy belonging to Indian fishermen with the direction to call BSF post commander for flag meeting so that the Indian fisherman can be released, he said.

This has been stated by the two fishermen who were released by the BGB, he said.

Fisherman to Be Released: Khan

The BSF officer added that when there was a telephonic talk between the commanding officers of the two sides, post the incident on Thursday, the counterpart "did not say that BSF men had either violated the IB or entered inside Bangladesh territory."

The fisherman is still in BGB custody, he said.

Asked about the fisherman who is in Bangladesh police custody, Bangladesh home minister said, "He will be released. At times when fishermen of both the countries unknowingly stray into each other's territories, they are released during flag meetings following laid-down procedures."

Tension Between the Two Sides

The “apparent high-handedness” of the BGB troops has led to tension between the two sides, with BSF chief VK Johri calling up his counterpart Major General Shafeenul Islam over a hotline, reported PTI.

The BGB Director General had assured a thorough probe of the incident, officials cited by PTI said.

The incident has rung alarm bells in the top security establishment in New Delhi, with the Union Home Ministry and Ministry of External Affairs being briefed by the BSF.

Security has been stepped up all along the 4,096-km Indo-Bangla border in the wake of the incident.

Khan also asserted that the incident would not cast its shadow over the biannual DG-level meeting of the two border guarding forces in New Delhi, later this year.

"As far as I know, talks between the BGB and the BSF will take place as per schedule. If needed, I would talk to Amit Shah to resolve the issue. We think there should be having a flag meeting to find a solution to such problems," he iterated, PTI reported.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI.)

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