Villagers scared to return home after Bangladesh Rifles (BDR)-Border Security Forces stand off

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Shillong, Feb.23 (ANI): A standoff between Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and Border Security Forces (BSF) in the hills of Meghalaya state has prompted the villagers of nearby areas to flee their homes.

The Indian border forces exchanged fire on Sunday (February 14) after the BDR forces attacked the locals of Muktapur village.

Hordes of villagers, who fled their homes after the incident, are now too scared to return to their village.

"When the firing started in Muktapur and ... from the security personnel of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), we were scared and did not know what was going on and therefore fled the place," said Manoj Mannar, a local villager.

"We are fishermen and the security personnel of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) stopped us from fishing and threatened us to leave the area. But we did not, as this is our land. We own this land. Why should we go back? So, after we refused to move from the area, they stationed their flags in that area," Biren, another villager lamented.

Speaking on the issue, R C Laloo, the Revenue Minister of Meghalaya state said that the Governments of India and Bangladesh have formed two joint working groups, which conducted a joint survey of the disputed area.

"Since it is an international border (issue), it has to be taken up by the central government. The governments of India and Bangladesh have formed two joint working groups to go into the details of claim and counter claim of the two countries. One of the joint working groups will go into the question of undemarcated stretch of the Indo-Bangla border," said Laloo.

During the recent visit of Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, New Delhi and Dhaka signed five agreements, including treaties on tackling cross-border crime and combating terrorism.

Indo-Bangladesh ties have become cordial in recent months.

Bangladesh has sought demarcation of a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.

Bangladesh annually imports about $2 billion U.S. dollars worth of products from India, and earns nearly 400 million US dollars from exports to India. (ANI)

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