India has proposed coordinated patrolling of its border with Bangladesh to curb trespassers who cross over at night, leading to many of them being shot by the Border Security Force (BSF) - the bone of contention at talks between the top brass of the border guards of the two countries.
The killing this year of 64 'unarmed civilians', as Bangladesh puts it, has become a sensitive issue between the two neighbours, who on Tuesday ended their bi-annual consultations between top officials of the BSF and the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR).
While Bangladesh protested the high incidence of shootouts, the Indian side pointed out that over 85 per cent of them occurred at night when movement across the border was not permitted.
Bangladesh agreed and committed that such movements would be sought to be discouraged to curb the killings.
"We have reasons," BSF chief ML Kumawat told journalists after the three-day talks ended.
Responding to a query on killing of Bangladeshis despite past pledges to stop such incidents, Kumawat said: "Most of those killings, almost 85 per cent, took place at the dead of the night when public movement across the border is prohibited under section 144."
He said that the BSF had reasons to resort to firings, causing 'unfortunate' deaths, New Age newspaper reported.
Kumawat said that Indian forces are aware of the importance of maintaining human rights and serious actions were taken against violators.
"You know every force has some black sheep who sometimes exceed the limit. We will take serious action for such incidents and will never ever spare anyone guilty of human rights violation," he said.
On coordination of border patrolling, BDR Director General Major General Mohammed Mainuil Islam said: "It does not mean patrolling together. The BDR and BSF will be patrolling on their own territories at a specific time through coordination as all forces want to pursue criminals."
He said many border pillars were damaged and as a result people in the frontier areas do not know which country they are in.
Both sides exchanged lists of fugitives believed to be hiding in the other country.
Bangladesh handed over a list of 1,227 Bangladeshi criminals and received a list of 77 people from the Indian side.
The Indian list of criminals included United Liberation Front of Asam (ULFA) military chief Paresh Barua; general secretary Anup Chetia, who is currently detained in a Bangladesh jail; Deb Borma and Jiban Singh.
India says they have been operating from Bangladeshi soil to stage terrorist operations in Assam.