Saturday, April 30, 2005

INDIA: Savagery Repeated on Indo-Bangladesh Border

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Smuggling has intensified across the Indo-Bangladesh border in south Assam’s Karimganj district. Recently, lot of illegal trade has been taking place in petrol and cattle. While petrol, concealed in plastic containers, has been increasingly finding passage into India from Sylhet, cattle in large numbers are now being furtively ferried into Bangladesh. The smugglers usually force the cattle to wade across the Kushiara river on the border. A conservative estimate by the BSF says that every year, 3,000 animals on an average are smuggled across both the land and riverine border from south Assam into Bangladesh from Karimganj and Cachar districts. The smuggler lobby on Indo-Bangladesh border enjoys strong political support. The Bangladesh politicians including leaders of some of the Islamist parties like Jamaat-e-Islami are known to have helped smugglers whenever, their smuggled goods were seized even by the BDR. A Bangladesh member of parliament (MP) had reportedly visited Hirapur. He had a discussion with the BDR officials after which about 200 soldiers of Bangladesh regular army, besides the BDR men, took position with guns at a forested upland close to the border. The unfortunate incident of April 16 happened after that.

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