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Bangladesh polls: Security beefed up along int'l border in Tripura

Devdiscourse News Desk Agartala
Updated: 30-11-2018 19:02 IST
Bangladesh polls: Security beefed up along int'l border in Tripura

With just a month to go before the Bangladesh Parliamentary elections, security has been tightened along the 856-km-long international border in Tripura to prevent anti-national elements from sneaking into the Indian territory, a top BSF official said Friday.

The election in the neighbouring country is scheduled to be held on December 30.

At a press meet here on the eve of the Raising Day, BSF Inspector General (IG) Hemant Kumar Lohia said the guarding forces on both sides of the border have been put on alert in view of the polls.

"We have augmented our forces to prevent criminals from entering or leaving the country. Our borders are usually very peaceful and the vigil is tight at all times. But we have deployed more men and resources on the field in the wake of elections," IG Lohia said.

The Border Security Force (BSF) official also said equipment for electronic surveillance, which have been kept on reserve, are being used on the occasion.

"The present strength of BSF personnel in Tripura is estimated to be 20,000. In addition to the existing forces, more men have been posted along the border to ensure zero infiltration," he said.

On the issue of the Rohingya refugee influx, Lohia said he did not feel that people of the Rakhine state in Myanmar were a threat to the "security and sanctity" of India.

"We have so far apprehended nearly a hundred Rohingyas with help from state police forces. We have also maintained alert along the border and the Bangladesh guarding forces have cooperated in our efforts. Few Rohingyas, who had entered India, were apprehended when they were trying to flee to Bangladesh," he maintained.

In 2015, Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar's Rakhine state in large numbers to escape the military crackdown.

The BSF official praised the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) for their "excellent efforts" in containing the Rohingya refugee crisis.

In October 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) instructed the Tripura government to identify and monitor the Rohingya refugees.

The letter also said that the influx would be a "burden on the resources" of the country and aggravate security challenges.

Of the 856-km-long international border with Bangladesh, around 70 km still remains unfenced in 34 different patches due to physical barriers and ownership issues, among other problems, the BSF inspector general said.

For the "unfenced and riverine locations", the BSF is contemplating the use of Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System, which is a network of multiple sensors, radars and personnel connected by an electronic system to the command headquarters, Lohia said.

"The system is being used on a pilot basis in Jammu and in Dhubri of Assam. If the results turn out to be positive, we shall consider implementing the new system here in riverine areas or deep gorges along the international boundary where conventional fencing is impossible," he added.

(With inputs from agencies.)