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Firing along Indo-Bangla border kills kid
January 29, 2008 12:58 IST
Last Updated: January 29, 2008 23:10 IST
In a major flare-up along the Indo-Bangladesh border, a school student was killed on Tuesday and five persons, including three Bangladeshis, were injured as personnel from the Border Security Force and Bangladesh Rifles traded gunfire in West Bengal's Malda and South Dinajpur districts.
A class seven student was injured in South Dinajpur district when the BDR fired on the BSF officials, Superintendent of Police Kalyan Mullick said.
The student, identified as Pinku Roy, succumbed to his injuries later, Mullick said.
The BDR resorted to heavy firing along the South Dinajpur border, which lasted for 15 minutes from 1 pm, BSF sources said, adding that Indian border guards also returned the fire.
In Malda, the border guards of the two countries were engaged in a gunbattle for an hour on Tuesday morning after the BDR opened fire on the BSF, which had launched an operation to trace its sub inspector Om Prakash.
BSF Director General A K Mitra said a Bangladeshi civilian and three BDR personnel suffered bullet injuries while a BSF constable was also hit during the exchange of fire.
Om Prakash, who was taken away by the BDR to its North Agra [Images] camp, was later handed back at a flag meeting on Tuesday afternoon. The standoff came within three days after a BSF-BDR meeting that resolved to exercise greater restraint along the border.
The meeting at Bogra in Bangladesh had decided that the border guards would refrain from firing during daytime except for self-defense.
The renewal of hostility along the international border came even after the border guards of the two countries agreed on confidence-building and goodwill missions in the past few months.
A 25-member group of wards of BSF personnel had left for Dhaka on Sunday on a goodwill trip and their Bangladeshi counterparts are scheduled to reciprocate the visit in a few months.
The visit is a follow-up of the decision to the effect taken during the Director General-level talks between the BSF and BDR in October last year.
Moreover, a 12-member BDR team is slated to visit Shillong in February for the annual meeting between the two frontier forces. The preparatory meeting was held at the BSF outpost at Dawki on Sunday.
Deputy Director General Brigadier General M A Bari will lead the BDR team while the BSF delegation will be headed by Inspector General (Cachar-Mizoram sector) Himmat Singh.
The BSF team is likely to raise the issues of infiltration, arms smuggling, circulation of counterfeit Indian currency from Bangladesh and cross-border crimes.
The presence of Indian insurgent camps in Bangladesh territory and handing over of jailed United Liberation Front of Assam leader Anup Chetia to India would also figure in the BSF agenda, BSF sources said.