Staff Correspondent, Sylhet
Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and Indian Border Security Force (BSF) at a battalion commander-level meeting at Dauki (opposite to Tamabil border) in the Indian state of Meghalaya yesterday agreed to maintain peace in border areas of Sylhet.
BDR 21 Battalion Commander Lt Col Khairul Kadir led the three-member Bangladesh team while Shekhor Gupta, the Commandant of 1 Battalion of BSF, Shillong, headed their four-member team.
Officials of both sides agreed to maintain peace in the region that has seen a tense situation for months, Col Kahirul Kadir said after his return from the meeting.
During the meeting that continued from 11:30pm to 3:15pm, BSF officials expressed sorrow for the recent unwanted incidents on the 20 kilometre Jaintapur-Tambil borders, he said.
"We had asked them to stop intrusion of the Khasia tribesmen into the Bangladesh territory and prevent them from farming here," Col Khairul said.
The borderland related disputes would be tabled in the upcoming meeting of the Joint Boundary Working Group, the meeting was told.
Unprovoked firing on the Bangladeshi civilians by the BSF and Indian Khasia tribesmen, attempt to occupy Bangladesh lands on Sripur, Jaintapur and Tamabil borders were discussed in the meeting, officials said.
The Indians assured their Bangladesh counterpart of taking measures to stop all sorts of unwanted activities in the border areas while both sides agreed to maintain status quo to ensure peace in the region, they added.
Other trans-border problems like smuggling and trespass also came up in the meeting that was held against the backdrop of troubles along the borders in Jaintapur, Tamabil, Sripur since February this year.
The Indian Khasia people aided by BSF had attempted to occupy some 300 acres of farms lands as well as some marshy land in Bangladesh territory on the said borders time and again. They even shot dead a few Bangladesh nationals and injured around a hundred others.
The BDR and BSF traded gunfire on five occasions, triggering panic among the inhabitants of the border villages.
The BSF also intruded into Bangladesh land and dug bunkers on Protappur and Sripur borders. However, they went back following protest by the BDR at a DG-level meeting in March.
The situation worsened again during the last few weeks as the Indian Khasias forcibly continued tilling over 30 acres of croplands inside Bangladesh territory on Amswapnapur, Minatila, Dibir Haor, Kathalbari and Albagan borders in Jaintapur.