Dhaka, Oct 25: A five-day Indo-Bangladesh dialogue between the chiefs of the border forces of the two countries began here on Thursday with incidents of firing and killing of innocent people high on the agenda for discussion.
The meeting began at 10.30 a.m. at the Bangladesh Rifles headquarters at Pilkhana in a very cordial manner, said a spokesman of the Bangladesh border force.
The Director General of the Border Security Force, Ashish Kumar Mitra, is leading a 17-member Indian delegation while Major General Shakil Ahmed, the Director General of the BDR, is leading the host delegation at the meeting, which is scheduled to end on October 29.
The Bangladesh side has said that they want a peaceful border, where the 1975 border guideline will be followed and where both sides will respect human rights.
"The matter of border firings and killing of innocent people will feature prominently in the meeting. We want no border firing, if anyone trespasses or violates the border rules, he or she must be tried as per the guideline," said Major General Ahmed.
"There is no meaning of trading gunshots on the border. We will try to make headway on it," Shakil said, adding that according to the BDR counts the firing incident and killing of innocent people has decreased significantly over the last few months.
But a coalition of human rights organisations in a press statement ahead of the meeting said that a total of 94 people were shot dead by the Indian paramilitary forces in the last nine months. They said the figure of killing by the Indian forces was more than 650 in last eight years.
Senior BDR officials said they will raise the other outstanding issues that included frequent kidnapping and detaining of Bangladeshi nationals by the Indians, smuggling of illegal arms and ammo, explosives, drugs and trespasses and push-in of Bangla speaking Indian nationals.
The demarcation of land boundary, installation of border pillars at Berubari and Singpara-Khudipara in Panchagarh, completion of survey at un-demarcated Muhurir Char, Doikhata and Lathitila, hand-over of surveyed land in Naogaon after constructing border pillars, construction of defence infrastructures, roads, barbed-wire fencing and installations within 150 yards of the zero point will also come up for discussion, they said.
The BSF delegation is likely to raise the issues of committing crimes by Bangladeshi nationals inside India, infiltration, border fencing and development works within 150 yards from zero point considering local unavoidable problems and prevention of smuggling of drugs, cattle and Indian currency, Indian lands in Shilchar sector along the Surma river and activities of Bangladeshi 'fundamentalists and terrorists' in Indian territory and presence of Indian insurgents in Bangladesh territory.
The BSF director general arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday. The DG-level conference will end with the signing of a joint record of the discussions on October 29. This is the second meeting of the year. The previous meeting was held in February in New Delhi.