Bsf told to be tough at border, stop cattle smuggling

It is paramount that our territory is protected, says Rajnath
Indicating a hardline approach in dealing with smuggling along the India-Bangladesh border, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said here on Wednesday that there was no such thing as a “non-lethal strategy” in place for the Border Security Force (BSF), leading Indian newspaper The Hindu reported on Thursday.
“There is nothing like a non-lethal strategy. What is paramount is that our border needs to be protected. I cannot allow [a situation in which] the jawans are attacked and they cannot fire in self-defence,” Mr. Singh, who visited a floating border outpost (BOP) of the BSF in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district, said.During the United Progressive Alliance government’s rule, the BSF was asked to adopt a “non-lethal strategy” on the eastern border. The instruction was issued soon after reports of killings of Indian and Bangladeshi nationals by the BSF surfaced. Those killed were allegedly trying to smuggle goods or illegally cross the border.
After touring the eastern border last August, BSF chief D.K. Pathak indicated that the force was keen to continue with the “non-lethal” strategy. “Bangladesh is a friendly neighbour” and “the policy to use non-lethal weapons on this frontier should continue,” Mr. Pathak had said, adding “there is no need to review this arrangement for the time being.”
Describing such an approach as a “myth,” Mr. Singh said friendly ties with Bangladesh could not be at the cost of jawans’ lives.
He clarified that he was “not expressing any doubts over the intentions of the Bangladesh government” but that the sanctity of the border needed to be maintained.
According to BSF officials, at least three jawans have been killed and about 500 injured in South Bengal alone, allegedly by smugglers, in the past three years.
Mr. Singh said the BSF had successfully reduced cattle smuggling. “In the past three to four months, there has been a decline in cattle smuggling. The prices of beef in Bangladesh have, therefore, increased by over 30 per cent.”
The Home Minister said the government was expecting in a month a report of the review committee set up to tackle issues like cattle smuggling and fake Indian currency along the India-Bangladesh border. He stressed on the need for more floating BOPs to monitor the riverine borders and increased fencing along the border. On the grievances of BSF personnel over delays in promotions and cadre review, the Minister said steps had been taken and more were in the offing. – The Hindu via Google