Shillong, Apr 20: The BSF has dispelled fears that fencing along the Indo-Bangladesh border will result in losing Indian soil to Bangladesh.
''The BSF will not give Indian land to Bangladesh. We dominate India's border along the zero line, keep vigil on the international border and ensure that no encroachments are made by the neighbours,'' a BSF statement said here yesterday.
While India has already fenced over a third of the 4,096 km-long international border with Bangladesh, there were apprehensions among the border population in Meghalaya that the fencing would result in losing their land to Bangladesh.
''Indian border population residing along the East Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills districts of Meghalaya have the misconception of losing their patches of land,'' BSF Additional DIG M N Sajjan said.
The BSF asserted its resolve to protect the Indian soil and population.
''Our neighbouring country has no right to encroach over Indian land or cause damage to the crops. BSF will not remain a silent spectator under such threat. The border population need not feel insecure as the BSF would be on constant vigil along the zero line,'' the statement said.
Criticising Bangladesh for ''encouraging'' infiltration into Indian territories, the BSF affirmed that ''infiltration has come down sharply due to progress of the fencing work''. ''A large number of terrorist groups active in the North East are also operating from Bangladesh territory. However, with the progress of fencing in West Bengal, part of Assam and Tripura, the infiltration of Bangladeshi population is on a sharp decline,'' the statement said.
While the Indo-Bangla Border Guidelines of 1975 stipulates that no defence work by any of the countries should take place within 150 metres of the international border, the BSF has maintained that the border fencing does not amount to defence work.
''Bangladesh government thinks the fence built by India falls within no-build zone. India had been clarifying for quite some time that the fence was meant to prevent illegal infiltration and the cross-border movement of rebels active on both sides,'' it said.
''India has tried to maintain the distance of 150 metres but in certain areas, due to topographical restrictions and human habitation, it is difficult to construct the fence away from zero line,'' the statement said.