BGB must answer for the Thakurgaon shooting


The villagers take away seized cattle from members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB). BGB seizes the cattle suspecting that the cows are smuggled from India. Three people are killed in BGB firing on Tuesday. Photo: CollectedThe death of three including a sixth grader, when BGB (Border Guards Bangladesh) opened fire in Thakurgaon is sad and condemnable. BGB said they were trying to recover cattle from a house in Betna of Haripur upazila, claiming these were smuggled from India. They said the villagers attacked them and in retaliation, they opened fire. The angry villagers, however, denied the attacks. They said they were trying to obstruct the BGB men from loading the cattle on a 'human hauler' vehicle and that the cattle were local. The villagers held demonstrations against the attacks.

If the cattle were actually smuggled, why did the BGB not stop them at the border? They are responsible for securing the border. It is not the BGB’s duty to enter a house and seize things. They should be patrolling the border, not going around villages in search of cows. Also, if they had evidence, they should have informed the police. The police are responsible for seizing things and detaining criminals. How could the BGB, being a trained force, interfere with the law? Who is to blame for the deaths of three innocent persons?

The question arises as to whether the law enforcers actually went to seize smuggled cattle or for other reasons. They resorted to force rather than following legal procedures and the villagers attacked them. The smugglers and the BGB often have negotiations and illegal trafficking goes on uninterrupted. It must be investigated as to whether the Betna incident involves a similar issue.

One among the three dead was a child whose mother sent to buy some household essentials. Will BGB claim he was involved in smuggling? Another victim, farmer Sadeq, went to buy a cow in the market for his daughter’s wedding. What is BGB’s answer to the victims’ families?

It is not clear even whether the cattle were really smuggled. Seizing them would be illegal if they were not, as the villagers claimed. Even if they were smuggled, BGB could have informed the police.

Bangladeshis are killed along the border by India's border security force BSF, though recently the deaths have lessened due to strong protest from various quarters. However, this time Bangladesh's border forces shot our own people dead. The culprits must be prosecuted. Although loss of lives can never be compensated, they must compensate the aggrieved families.

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