Behrampore, Feb. 22: Indian border troops foiled another attempt by the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) to push in over 100 nationals, including women and children, across the border near Ramnagar village in the Lalgola police station area of Murshidabad district yesterday afternoon.
Villagers at Ramnagar said the Indian jawans fired at least three rounds in air to force the Bangladeshis to turn back.
But the district administration and Border Security Force (BSF) officials denied that the guards had fired to repel the intruders.
“Yesterday, around 3 pm, over 100 Bangladeshis made an attempt to cross into India, but the BSF personnel at the outpost there were alert enough not to allow them entry. Some time later, the intruders went back,” said Murshidabad district magistrate Manoj Panth.
He confirmed that the intruders returned to their country and were not stranded in no-man’s land as had happened at Satgachhi in Cooch Behar earlier this month.
Though the Padma forms most of the border between Murshidabad and Bangladesh, in some areas like Ramnagar and Udaynagar in Jalangi the division is over land.
“It was through this land route in Ramnagar that the Bangladeshis attempted to cross over with the active support of the Bangladesh Rifles on the other side,” a BSF officer claimed.
He said the group, escorted by the Bangladesh Rifles, had crossed the Padma, which flows inside Bangladesh in the Lalgola area, and then walked a few kilometres over a sandbank to reach no man’s land near Ramnagar village.
Islam Sheikh, a villager, said the BSF jawans sprang into action when the large group halted at no-man’s land across the border.
“The men, women and children stood there till the Border Security Force men fired at least three shots over their heads. This made the group retreat,” he said.
Vigil along the border has been stepped up following the BDR’s latest attempt to push Bangladeshis into India, BSF officers said.
The BSF presence in Ramnagar and Udaynagar, where the border is demarcated on land, has been strengthened.
During Partition, the Padma formed the entire border in Murshidabad.
Over the years, the river shifted course, moving 10 km away from Ramnagar into Bangladesh and 15 km into India in Udaynagar and crea- ted a 25-km land border. The BSF outposts here have been supplied night-vision equip-ment to maintain a round-the-clock vigil.