Indo-Bangla border tensions escalated with heavy mortar attacks from the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) to cover mass troop movement along Assam killing 2 women and retaliatory fire from Border Security Force (BSF) resulted in the death of 5 BDR soldiers.
BSF Inspector General S.K. Datta accused
Bangladesh of vitiating border peace due to “troop build-up” and attacking 3 Indian border posts with 70 mortar shells, universal machineguns, carbines and other automatic weapons fire damaging houses and shops in the area. A BDR said that 7 civilians were wounded in the BSF firing but did not confirm Datta’s assertion that 5 BDR men fell to retaliatory strikes by Indian soldiers. BDR maintains that India started the firing.
India and Bangladesh share a 4,095-kilometer (km) border of which 272 km falls in Assam and nearly 70 per cent of the border along Assam has been fenced with barbed wire. Soldiers of the two countries clashed near the same area in June over 216 acres of exposed by the Surma River which Bangladesh claims as its own. India says that the land was exposed by the movement of the River and hence is on the Indian side. Last month, the Assam Government had accused Bangladesh of grabbing 2 sq km of Indian land in Western and Southern parts of the State. In a similar clash in 2001, 16 Indian and 3 Bangladesh soldier dies in such battles in
Indian efforts to defuse tension through a sector commander-level flag meeting may not happen as BDR has gone incommunicado after the incident. However, some normalcy seems to have returned. The BSF is aggressively patrolling the area and sector commanders have been given powers for
punitive retaliatory action if BDR provokes violence.