The Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) has denied that it opened fire on Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, killing one, on Thursday in Jalangi area of Murshidabad in central Bengal.
The BSF has alleged that the BGB opened fire on its men on the Padma river, causing the death of head constable Vijay Bhan.
A BGB statement claimed that the BSF opened fire. Three Indian “engine boats” with fishermen entered the Bangladesh territory, approximately 350 yards from the zero line of the riverine border, it said.
The area fell under the Rajshahi battalion of the BGB. The fishermen’s intention was to catch Hilsha fish that were about to lay eggs and they were apprehended by a team consisting of members of Bangladesh’s fisheries department and BGP officials. One fisherman was taken into custody, while the rest fled, it stated.
A BGB patrol later “stopped four BSF members…after they intruded approximately 650 yards into Bangladesh territory at the confluence of the Boral river at Shahriaghat area of Charghat upazila, Rajshahi, on a speedboat.” One of the BSF men was in uniform, while the rest were wearing t-shirts and shorts, the statement said.
“It also needs to be noted that they were armed. After the BSF members tried to forcibly take away the detained Indian fisherman, the BGB patrol team informed them that he will be handed over through a flag meeting as per the rules. Moreover, BGB members told them [BSF men] that they would also be handed over to the BSF following the same procedure as they had also intruded into the Bangladesh territory,” it said.
Apparently, the BSF men “panicked” and “tried to leave the spot with the detained fisherman.” “At this time, BSF members, being agitated, opened fire and headed back to the Indian Territory while firing. Then the BGB members also opened fire in self-defence,” it stated.
According to the BSF, a flag meeting was called to defuse tension but it could not be completed.
A BSF statement on Thursday said, “During the flag meeting, the BGB party commander informed that they can release the Indian fisherman after getting orders from their headquarters. The BSF party waited for a considerable time. During the flag meeting, the BGB patrol did not release the fisherman.”
When the BSF party was on its way back, there was firing from the Bangladesh side, causing fatal injury to Bhan and injuries to boatman-crew Rajbir Singh.
However, both sides agreed to investigate the incident separately and convened a separate flag meeting later that went off peacefully.