At flag meeting, Bangla guards kill BSF jawan, injure another

Vijay Bhan Singh (top) was killed, Rajvir Yadav was injured in the firing. PTI

A BSF jawan was killed and another injured after Bangladesh border guards opened fire at them Thursday during a flag meeting along the border. The flag meeting was called after Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel took three Indian fishermen into custody.

The incident set off alarm bells in the Indian security establishment with senior BSF officers rushing to the spot. While Indian officials called the BGB action “high handedness”, BSF chief V K Johri spoke to his counterpart Major General Shafeenul Islam over the hotline.

The BGB Director General assured Johri of a thorough probe into the incident, said officials. Security has also been stepped up all along the 4,096-km Indo-Bangla border, which for years has remained cordial between the two countries. Late Thursday, a PTI report from Dhaka quoted the BGB saying its personnel had fired in “self-defence” after the BSF men “intruded 500 yards” into Bangladesh.

The jawan killed in the shooting was identified as head constable Vijay Bhan Singh from Chamroli village in UP’s Firozabad. The 51-year-old, who is survived by his wife and two sons, joined the BSF in 1990.

“Senior officers are at the spot and the matter has been raised with BGB. One of our jawans died and another injured in the firing. This is a rare incident when our jawans were fired upon unprovoked,” said a senior BSF officer in West Bengal.

According to the BSF, three Indian fishermen were fishing in the Padma river in the border area. Two of them later returned and approached the BSF post in Kakmarichar stating that the BGB had apprehended them all. The BGB had released two fishermen to call the BSF for a flag meeting.

Around 10.30 am, BSF jawans in a patrol boat approached BGB personnel along the river. But during the flag meeting, BGB personnel not only refused to release the Indian fishermen but also tried to cordon off the BSF jawans.

A BGB jawan identified only as Sayed fired from behind when the BSF party started to return to their boat after sensing the “aggressiveness” by the Bangladeshi personnel and an intention to “surround” them, said officials.

The BGB trooper allegedly fired from his AK-47 rifle and shot Vijay Bhan Singh in the head while constable Rajvir Yadav sustained bullet injuries on his hand. Singh died on the boat while Yadav saved the boat from sinking and managed to bring it to the Indian side.

Yadav was later admitted at the Behrampur Medical College and Hospital. And a fisherman, identified as Pranab Mandal of Shirochar village, is stated to still be in the custody of the BGB.

(With PTI inputs)