Drug smuggling dominates Indo-Bangla border guards talk

The five-day Director general level conference between Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and Border Security Force will discuss a series of issues, with particular focus on preventing trans-border smuggling and improving law and order in the frontier areas.

BDR chief Mohammad Rafiqul Islam told reporters that drug smuggling was the main topic of discussion on the first day of the conference between the two countries.

"We've given them a list of routes used for transporting illegal drugs. They've also assured us of taking necessary steps," he was quoted as saying by bdnews.

Dhaka raised the issue of alleged killing and wounding of "unarmed Bangladeshi nationals" by BSF and Indian civilians at the border, according to local media reports.

BSF Director General Raman Srivastava, who arrived here yesterday, is leading a 20-member delegation while BDR chief Mohammad Rafiqul Islam is heading the team of Bangladesh.

Home minister Shahara Khatun made the call in a meeting with Shrivastava, chief of the Indian Border Security Force, at her office today, secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder told reporters after the meeting.

In reply, the BSF chief assured her of stopping shooting along the border. "We are considering whether something else can be used instead of firearms," he said.

Sikder said the BSF authorities were also requested to ensure that any member of the Khashia community or other Indian nationals do not move along the border with arms.
The Indians, for their part, asked Bangladesh that no one moves along the border at night.

Junior home minister Shamsul Hoque Tuku, Bangladesh Rifles director general Rafiqul Islam and Indian high commissioner Rajeet Mitter were also present during the meeting.
The BSF chief is in Dhaka to attend a five-day conference that began on Thursday. The first day of the BDR-BSF meet ended at BDR headquarters at Pilkhana in the capital this afternoon.

The five-day top level border talks will conclude on Monday (Sept 27) through signing of a Joint Record of Discussion (JRD).

Earlier, the members of Indian delegation came to Pilkhana from Sheraton Hotel at 9 in the morning. They placed wreaths at the Shaheed Minar at BDR HQs to show respect to the martyrs of 1971. The BSF delegation was presented with a guard of honour on arrival at the office of the BDR director general.

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