In a bid to strengthen vigil along the riverine border with Bangladesh, BSF has decided to deploy six to seven floating border outposts (BOP) next year.
Currently, there are three BOPs that keep surveillance in the Sunderbans.
However, BSF has refused to divulge the number of BOPs that it is going to deploy.
“In order to strengthen vigil, we are going to install more BOPs along our riverine border,” P S R Anjaneyulu, inspector general, BSF, South Bengal Frontier, told HT.
The vigil along Bangladesh border has increased after the infiltration of the eastern neighbour of India by IS elements, and especially since the massacre in Dhaka’s Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1 when 20 hostages (18 foreigners, two locals) people were killed.
Even earlier guarding the waters became extremely important for the country since 2008 when 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) carried out serial attacks in Mumbai after crossing the seas and landing in Mumbai.
The attack lasted for four days, snuffed out 164 lives and came to be recognised as a milestone in the terrorist activities in the modern world.
After this incident, the Union government stepped up vigil in every riverine area that is sharing borders with another country, and at the same time asked every state government to strengthen vigil. Bengal government has also increased the number of costal police stations in Bengal and purchased modern equipment like speed boats, and installed radars.
“About 35-40 personnel posted in each BOP and four to five speedboats are deployed for every such outpost. These boats roam around the area in close coordination with the police and other security agencies that are also working in border area,” said a BSF officer, requesting anonymity.
According to him, the installation of floating BOPs may take nearly one year.
The Ichamati river marks the border between Bangladesh and south Bengal for quite some distance. The total stretch of this area is about 80 km where the new BoPs will be deployed.
The Sunderbans is the main border area and there are 102 islands in this area where 54 islands are inhabited by humans. The rest of the islands mainly consist of dense forests and wildlife habitats.
“Our men are already keeping round the clock vigil in the area. But after BOPs are installed, the level of vigil will go up further,” said R P S Jaswal, the DIG, BSF, South Bengal Frontier.
Since the new government assumed power ta the Centre, BSF was asked to step up vigil in the border with Bangladesh. It has also sharply reduced the number of cattle that are smuggled through the land in Bangladesh.
After the BSF dug up trenches along the border area to stop cattle smuggling, smugglers tried to send cattle through waterways. There are several incidents where BSF with their speedboats chased these smugglers, caught them and seized cattle.