Killings of Bangla nationals by BSF continuing: Hasina

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has told a top US diplomat that despite assurances from the highest level in India, killings and torture of Bangladeshis by Indian border guards is continuing, her press secretary said today.

"The assurance to stop such incidents came several times from the highest level in India...We are repeatedly requesting them (India) to keep their words," Hasina's deputy press secretary Nazrul Islam quoted her as saying during a meeting with visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Robert O Blake late yesterday.

Islam told PTI that the premier's comment came as Blake asked her if the recent killings by BSF deteriorated Bangladesh-India relations. The foreign ministry earlier this month expressed "disappointment" over a recent remark of India's Border Security Force (BSF) chief saying that shootouts along Indo-Bangla borders could not be stopped completely.

The foreign ministry in a statement on February 1 said the remarks of the BSF chief were "markedly at variance" with the Indian assurances made on several occasions earlier at different official levels, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

BSF director general U K Bansal in an interview to BBC Bengali Service on February 8 said it would not be possible to totally stop firing so long the criminal activities would continue to take place at the India-Bangladesh border.

Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairman Dr Mizanur Rahman today said the incidents of BSF killing Bangladeshi nationals along the border would be taken to the United Nations (UN).

Dhaka earlier made strong protests demanding actions against the persons responsible while Home Minister Sahara Khatun last week sought "sincere" Indian steps to stop killing of Bangladeshis at frontiers.

The Parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs last month noted 141 such deaths in the past three years by Indian border guards.

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