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No refuge to Indian insurgents: B'desh
March 03, 2007 14:30 IST
Insisting that no camps of Indian insurgents were present on its soil, Bangladesh on Saturday said it will not provide refuge to ultras fleeing from the northeast and assured to take steps to check infiltration from its side.
It also agreed to allow developmental activities taking place within 150 yards of the border, tea plantations till the zero line barring certain stretches and offered cooperation in tackling cross-border smuggling of drugs and cattle.
The significant understandings came through after four days of discussions between the director generals of the Border Security Force and Bangladeshi Rifles in New Delhi as part of the Indo-Bangladesh Border Coordination Conference.
"We are determined to do the utmost to see to it that miscreants from India do not get a breathing space in Bangladesh," BDR Director General Major Shakil Ahmed said at a joint media interaction with his BSF counterpart A K Mitra after conclusion of talks.
He said Dhaka had investigated on the lists, though 'outdated' and 'old,' given by India from time to time about the presence of insurgent camps in the country and promised to take action against ultras taking refuge in Bangladesh.
India had handed over a list of 176 camps of various insurgent groups like United Liberation Front of Assam, National Liberation Front of Tripura, All Tripura Tiger Force, National Democratic Front of Bodoland and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation in Bangladesh.
Mitra said the list was drawn up on the basis of 'intelligence inputs' and that he would not be able to 'say emphatically that' it is accurate. Besides there are mobile camps also which keep shifting.
The bi-annual meeting of the border security officials also decided to take a host of confidence building measures, including increasing the area and frequency of simultaneous joint patrolling and discussing the feasibility for starting a joint retreat ceremony at Patrapole in West Bengal on the lines of that takes place in Wagah border.
Asked specifically about ULFA leader Anup Chetiya, Ahmed sought to sidestep the question saying a writ petition in this regard was pending in a High Court in Bangladesh.
On allowing construction work near the border, Ahmed said it will allow developmental works as any hindrance to such activities will bring unnecessarily suffering to people in the region who are generally poor.
This assurance is a significant climb down as the BDR had been opposed to construction of structures within 150 yards of Zero Line and barbed fire fencing of the 4096-km porous border.
The BSF has often claimed that BDR personnel opened fire to stop construction activities near the border, a charge time and again denied by Dhaka.
Mitra said both the sides 'displayed constructive and positive attitude while discussing some of the most complex problems' and could break grounds on certain issues, which will help strengthen mutual trust.