Underscoring a strong apprehension that elements belonging to the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh may infiltrate into India during the national polls on Sunday, India has ordered sealing of the international border for three days from Saturday.
“We have asked our soldiers to keep an intense watch on the border situation. Our men, with available gadgets, remain vigilant round-the-clock along the borders, especially where a substantial number of people reside across the border,” said BSF chief public relations officer Bhaskar Rawat.
A large stretch of the 4,096-km border with Bangladesh is unfenced, unguarded and therefore porous.
Intelligence reports have issued several warnings of the strong possibility of Jamaat elements trying to crossover into India due to a clampdown by the Bangladesh government.
Sealing the border, which would involve bolstering of border-patrolling and increased vigil, is however easier said than done.
“Sealing the Indo-Bangla border is next to impossible because of the terrain and lack of infrastructure. There are hundreds of villages right on the border,” said EN Rammohan, former DG, BSF, and who has served extensively in the area.
“The fear of infiltration by such elements is however very real as it is far easier for them to slip into India and take shelter than doing something similar in Bangladesh.”
The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) which leads a clutch of 18 parties along with the Jamaat-e-Islami, has been on a violent campaign demanding postponement of the polls and holding them under a neutral caretaker government. The Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League party-led coalition government has rejected this demand.
According to media reports, several hundred people have already died in widespread violence in the past several weeks.