Two personnel of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) were killed in Nimtita area on the Indo-Bangladesh border in Murshidabad on late Thursday night during a shootout between the Border Security Force (BSF) and cattle smugglers.
This was stated by officials of the BSF on the basis of the information received from their Bangladeshi counterpart. One BSF personnel was also injured in the incident.
This could, however, turn embarrassing for Bangladesh, as sources in the BSF said that the death of the BDR personnel points to their involvement in the cattle smuggling racket.
The incident has led to fresh tension between the security forces of the two countries . On Friday afternoon, a flag march was held jointly by both the countries to defuse the crisis.
Speaking to mediapersons, CV Murlidhar, BSF Inspector-General of south Bengal, said that Nimtita area is frequently used by rustlers to smuggle cattle to Bangladesh.
“The smugglers take the cattle about 8 to 10 kms upstream and release them to swim downstream. They are then collected by their Bangladeshi counterparts at a suitable spot,” Murlidhar said. The BSF claimed to have confiscated 1,602 cattle from the river in the area this year.
According to the BSF, four teams of their personnel were monitoring the river around midnight when a large number of cattle were spotted swimming in the river. BSF jawan R K Pande found himself surrounded by a dozen boats while he was trying to bring the cattle towards the Indian side. “It was dark and before the jawan could make any move, Pande was fired upon,” Murlidhar said. The two sides then exchanged fires. Pande, who had sustained bullet injuries with his right toe blown off, meanwhile, managed to reach another border outpost.
A source in the BSF said that automated rifles were used by those firing from the opposite side. “Cattle smugglers do not use such firearms. It was then that our jawans realised that the BDR was also present at the scene,” the source added.
Later, the BDR officials called BSF headquarters in New Delhi and said that that two of their jawans were killed in the firing.