Close to Indo-Bangla border, BSF | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Close to Indo-Bangla border, BSF reaches out to locals for intel, recruits

In Muslim-dominated Kishanganj district of eastern Bihar, the Border Security Force is even looking towards madrasas to find recruits and secure intelligence, by reaching out to the local population.

india Updated: May 20, 2017 11:53 IST
Anirban Guha Roy
The task for the BSF is not only to guard India’s eastern borders, but also to secure intelligence inputs.
The task for the BSF is not only to guard India’s eastern borders, but also to secure intelligence inputs. (HT file photo)

KISHANGANJ The Border Security Force has been seeing signs of success in a programme to recruit young people in largely Muslim border districts of West Bengal and Bihar. Since last year, it has been educating students about both the objectives of the armed forces and the rewards of a career as a soldier or officer.

The programme aims to add more locals to the staff of the BSF in parts of the country that are infamous for illegal crossings by Bangladeshis and criminal activities like smuggling.

In addition to informative lectures about the workings of the BSF, the border guards are also conducting sessions of running and weight lifting to make students physically fit for recruitment.

Thus far the drive has been confined to a small number of schools, but the BSF plans to extend its efforts to numerous madrasas in the area.

“We have conducted programmes at four schools in Kishanganj [in Bihar] and also a few schools in North Dinajpur in West Bengal. The idea is to make students aware how a career in the BSF is both challenging and prestigious,” said PK Ranjan, second in command at the BSF headquarters in Kishanganj.

Though recruitment numbers from these districts have continued to be small, the BSF is confident that it can make a persuasive case for joining the forces.

“Youths here are lured by miscreants to take up illegal activities as they have few job opportunities and poverty is rampant,” said a BSF officer who preferred to remain anonymous while criticising the local community. “We offer a great option.”

The BSF’s reputation locally has also been aided by a welfare initiative they have been running that offers free health services, distributes blankets and plants trees.

Ranjan claimed that the more favourable image the BSF now enjoys has been crucial to gathering intelligence. Last month, a tip from a local enabled the border guards to uncover an 80-metre long tunnel stretching from Bangladesh to Lakhipur, a town in North Dinajpur.

“Our efforts have yielded positive results by way of improving the ties of BSF with the locals,” said Ranjan. “They have also helped us in clearing a lot of misconceptions about the force, which people harbour especially in the border areas.”

REACHING OUT BSF’s favourable image locally aided by their welfare initiatives that include free health services, distributes blankets and planting trees

YIELDING RESULTS

Border guards conducting running, weight lifting sessions to make students physically fit for recruitment

So far, drive confined to few schools, but BSF plans to extend efforts to several madrasas in area

Favourable image of BSF crucial to gathering intelligence

A tip from local enabled border guards to uncover 80-metre long tunnel from Bangladesh to Lakhipur in North Dinajpur

QUOTE

Youths here are lured by miscreants to take up illegal activities as they have few job opportunities and poverty is rampant

A BSF officer