Border to be sealed for B'desh poll

India will close the border with Bangladesh from Saturday keeping in mind the general election in that country on January 5.

While the decision was taken in a meeting between Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the state police will deploy additional forces at areas along the border to ensure heightened vigil.

According to sources, the decision to close down the border was taken in the meeting at the state secretariat on December 31, where besides Goswami and Banerjee, senior state government officials and Border Security Force (BSF) officials were also present. The border is being closed down as a precautionary measure, sources said. “BSF officials have reported to Goswami about possible situation of threat when things hot up in Bangladesh over the elections, which are already controversial,” a senior official said.

A memo was issued to the state police on Thursday, putting it on high alert and asking to initiate deployment of additional forces from early on Friday so that things are in place before the border is temporarily sealed. Sources said though the border will be sealed for just three days from January 4, the additional forces will be in place for around three weeks or till further notice.

“Although the BSF will still be in-charge of border security, the state police will form the second cordon and keep strict vigil on things. Their job will be to maintain law and order as usual,” an official said.

The sources pointed out that Goswami has asked BSF officials to keep extra vigil on the riverine border India shares with Bangladesh, particularly in the Sunderbans.
Focus will be on the three border outposts of Petrapole in North 24 Parganas, Chengrabanda in Cooch Behar and Fulbari in Jalpaiguri.

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