The Border Security Force (BSF) has denied allegations that their jawans opened fire on 17 October at the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) and in turn alleged that it was the BGB jawans who resorted to unprovoked firing, killing one of the BSF jawans and leaving another injured when the BSF team went to conduct a ‘flag meeting’ towards Bangladesh side of the border, in Murshidabad district, to negotiate the release of a fisherman who had been detained by BGB on allegations of border incursion.

Talking to The Statesman, Mr Sanjeev Singh, ADG, Eastern Command, BSF, Kolkata alleged: “The BGB has resorted to unprovoked firing. On the fateful day, three Indian fishermen were detained by the BGB on allegations of border incursion. Out of the three, they released two of the fishermen and instructed them to go towards the Indian side of the border and inform the BSF that they want to conduct a flag meeting with higher commanders of the BSF on the issue and will not release the captive fisherman till the meeting takes place. Our team, comprising six members led by a sub-inspector, went towards Bangladesh side with an orange flag on our boats, indicating peace talks. After the flag meeting, however, as soon as the BSF team was leaving, the BGB adopted an offensive stance and declared that they will not allow the BSF team to return until higher commanders from the Indian side intervene in the matter. The BSF boat was just 30 to 40 metres from the shore, when the BGB opened fire, killing one of our jawans and leaving another injured.”

The ADG further clarified that it was a complete violation of protocol since the BGB opened fire despite seeing the orange flag on our boats, indicating peace talks.

ADG Singh pointed out: “The BGB has alleged that the BSF opened fire while trying to scoot away but our jawans were not even carrying any weapons, as was evident from the pictures that was taken during the flag meeting. Moreover, it is a baseless claim that BSF tried to run away since it takes some considerable time to start an anchored boat. They shot at the BSF jawans from behind. It was for the first time that such an incident has occurred. We have always shared a cordial relationship with the BGB, otherwise.”

It was reportedly learnt that one BGB jawan, identified as Sayed, opened fire from his AK-47 rifle and shot at BSF jawan Vijay Bhan Singh, in the head, leaving him dead in the boat. Another BSF jawan, Rajvir Singh Yadav, received a bullet injury in his right hand but managed to bring the boat to the Indian side of the border.

Rajvir was admitted to Murshidabad Medical College. The deceased BSF jawan hailing from Agra in Uttar Pradesh was posted as head constable at Kakmarichar border outpost under 117 Battalion BSF headquartered at Roshanbagh area in Murshidabad district.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the BGB has filed two cases against the Indian fisherman, Pranab Mondal. He has been charged for illegally entering Bangladesh territory and flouting the ban on fishing in the Padma River during the Hilsa breeding season.

Security has been beefed up across the 4,096 km IndoBangladesh border in the wake of this incident.