Behrampore, Aug. 4: Border Security Force jawans shot dead a cattle smuggler, on way to Bangladesh, in Murshidabad early this morning.
The incident occurred at Raninagar, about 250 km from Calcutta.
“The man, identified as Ranjit Mondol, was trying to smuggle across the Padma cattle loaded on a boat. The BSF personnel on patrol spotted the cattle and asked the man to steer the boat ashore around 2 this morning. He refused and the jawans opened fire,” said R. K. Ajjela, the commanding officer of the force’s 26 Battalion.
Murshidabad superintendent of police Gyanwanth Singh said the BSF informed them about the incident after daybreak. “A force went to the spot from the Raninagar police station. The body has been identified and sent for post-mortem. Mondol belonged to a nearby village,” said Singh.
BSF sources said the boat and 15 heads of cattle have been seized.
Mondol’s father, Haradhan, acknowledged that his son was engaged in cattle smuggling. But he worked for someone else. “We are very poor and my son worked for a big fish. He used to be paid Rs 300 for every pair of cattle he managed to take to Bangladesh. He had to risk his life, brave the Padma and the BSF. I had told him several times to stay away from the smuggler, but he never listened,” he said.
The BSF has been struggling to patrol the stretch of the international border where the no-man’s land lies in the middle of the Padma, whose meandering ways have given rise to a fresh land border. The guards have written to Delhi pointing out the immediate need for fencing in these new land areas.
“It is more difficult to keep a tight vigil on the land than patrol the river in speedboats. We have had to open fire on a number of occasions,” said deputy inspector-general of the BSF A.K. Ghosh.