India, Bangladesh trade blame for border clashes
The two nations accused each other of triggering clashes along their frontier that led to the deaths of one Bangladeshi and one Indian.india Updated: Oct 19, 2006 18:23 IST
India and Bangladesh accused each other on Thursday of triggering clashes along their frontier that led to the deaths of one Bangladeshi and one Indian civilian.
Indian border guards said they opened fire on Wednesday when Bangladeshi villagers tried to cross into India by cutting a barbed fire fence.
"A Bangladeshi youth was killed in the firing" at Bagda, 80 kms northeast of Kolkata, state capital of West Bengal, said Indian Border Security Force (BSF) official RS Malik.
But Bangladeshi armed forces pinned the blame on Indian security forces, saying they had invaded Bangladeshi territory, and that the youth was killed there.
"We opened fire to drive them back," said Lieutenant Colonel Nesar Ahmed, commanding officer of the Bangladesh Rifles.
Indian forces also accused Bangladeshi guards of sparking another clash Wednesday by opening fire on Hilli, a village on the Indian side, 600 kms north of Kolkata, and killing an Indian villager.
The Bangladesh Rifles, however, said the dead man was an Indian smuggler killed inside Bangladesh territory.
Soldiers from the two countries often exchange gunfire along their 4,000-kilometre border.
India says Bangladesh pushes illegal migrants through the border and harbours militants fighting Indian rule in its northeast.
Dhaka says New Delhi allows Bangladeshi criminals to take refuge on its soil.
In 2001, 16 Indian and three Bangladeshi soldiers were killed in the deadliest border clash between the two sides.
In August, home ministry secretaries from each country said they would instruct border forces to exercise the "utmost restraint".