Kolkata: At least two Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) troopers were killed in an encounter with India's Border Security Force (BSF) early Friday when the frontier men tried to prevent an attempt to smuggle out cattle to the other side.
BSF Director General A K Mitra said one Indian trooper was seriously injured and hospitalised while two BDR men were killed as claimed by Bangladesh authorities.
The incident occurred along the riverine border at Nimtita in Murshidabad district, about 250 km from here.
“Around 1 am we took five boats with each carrying four boatmen and a trooper to catch the cattle smugglers who were trying to ferry cattle from India to Bangladesh.
“Suddenly the BDR (Bangladesh Rifles) men opened fire from the dark. In the darkness we thought they were cattle smugglers. One of our troopers was hit by bullets and he fell down in the river but not before firing 16 rounds.”
“The BDR claimed two of their men were killed in the firing. Our injured jawan is in a critical condition too,” Mitra said.
“The BDR had no business to be there at such hours,” Mitra said.
“We have a flag meeting today in the afternoon,” he added.
The Indo-Bangladesh Border extends to a total length of 4095 kms, including 180 kms of river line.
West Bengal has a border length of 2216 kms with Bangladesh followed by Tripura 856 kms, Meghalaya 443 kms, Mizoram 318 kms and Assam 262 kms.
Besides infiltration from the Bangladesh side, cattle smuggling from India is common, primarily for beef in Muslim-majority Bangladesh.
India prohibits cattle exports, as beef consumption is frowned upon by the country's majority Hindu population.
There are frequent skirmishes among the troopers of the two sides along the border.
According to a BBC report, local estimates say that between 20,000 and 30,000 cows are smuggled into Bangladesh every day from India, mostly through West Bengal.
The smuggling is at its highest during Muslim festivals.
Traffickers bring the cows by truck to West Bengal from as far as Haryana and Punjab in northern India for smuggling.