The governments of both Bangladesh and India claim that border guards have been strengthened and joint operations to curb smuggling are occasionally heard. Yet smuggling does not stop. Especially illegal weapons, ammunition and drugs are entering the country through the border.
Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami said at a function in Dinajpur on Monday that the killings at the border occurs due to smuggling. Border guards of the two countries should take strict measures to stop smuggling. This is what we also want. But strict measures do not mean killing people by shooting. Smugglers can be dealt with without firing, as many countries are doing so.
The question is where people have been killed while cattle smuggling, how could some people smuggle drugs and firearms across the same border? According to a Prothom Alo report, Indian arms dealers across the border wrap small firearms in polythene and hands them over to locals, who bury the weapons in the paddy fields in Bangladesh.
How is this possible without the attention of the border guards? Does this mean that they are strict in stopping cattle smuggling but not so in curbing arms smuggling?
Weapons and drugs have always been smuggled across the border. A few days ago, a media report showed, several yaba factories have been set up in bordering West Bengal and Meghalaya states of India to ensure supply of yaba in Bangladesh.
The 11 routes used in arms smuggling reported by Prothom Alo are Benapole in Jashore, Godagari in Rajshahi, Darshana in Chuadanga, Shakara in Satkhira, Meherpur, Chapainawabganj, Naikhyangchhari in Comilla and Bandarban and Teknaf in Cox's Bazar. The routes for drugs and weapons smuggling are roughly the same.
BGB is responsible for stopping smuggling at the Bangladesh border. The police and RAB are responsible for recovering weapons inside the country.
The BGB claimed that 83 firearms and 175 ammunitions had been recovered in the first nine months of this year. Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has recovered 62 firearms in first 10 months of the year.
Also the law enforcers only come to know about the unattended arms when those are used in robbery or killing. BCL leader Akul Hossain was caught with eight pistols and a large quantity of ammunition in Dar-us-Salam area of the capital on 1 September last year. He used to bring arms from India and sell them. We need to find out how many such arm business grew under the umbrella of power.
Prothom Alo reports that illegal weapons coming from across the border are also being used in the killings that are taking place in different places in the ongoing Union Parishad elections. This time 49 people were killed during the Union Parishad elections. Of these, 16 were shot dead.
Once a weapon or drug enters through the border, it will be transported to different people. Therefore, it must be stopped at the border. The border guards should be strengthened, as well as those involved in arms trafficking and trade should be brought under immediate punishment. Appropriate punishment of the criminal can stop the smuggling of arms.