The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Livid at Dhaka, Delhi sees a pattern

New Delhi, April 19: With the western front falling silent, the eastern flank has begun to boil.

India today condemned the killing of BSF officer Jeevan Kumar Sinha with the alleged connivance of Bangladesh border guards, terming the murder 'premeditated' and 'pre-planned.'

The acting high commissioner of the Bangladesh high commission in Delhi, Masud bin Momin, was summoned to South Block today by Neelam Deo, the joint secretary of the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka-Maldives division of the foreign ministry, to lodge a protest over the April 18 incident.

A protest was also lodged by the Indian high commissioner in Dhaka, Veena Sikri, with the Bangladeshi foreign office.

Bangladesh tried to calm tempers by getting its minister of state for home to speak to Indian home minister Shivraj Patil.

The Bangladesh minister is learnt to have apologised for the murder.

But the flare-up has compelled policy makers in South Block to wonder whether a tougher line needs to be taken while dealing with Bangladesh.

'The joint secretary conveyed our deep disappointment and regret over this incident and stated that its repercussions could not be ignored,' foreign ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said.

'She also conveyed the view that the entire incident appeared premeditated and pre-planned.'

The BSF assistant commandant, who hailed from Jharkhand, was killed by Bangladeshi civilians with the help of BDR personnel after he and a few colleagues were dragged across the border in the Agartala sector.

The incident took place when the BSF director-general R.S. Mooshahary was attending a dinner with the director-general of the BDR in Dhaka after the two sides ended talks on steps to keep the border secure and calm.

'The killing follows a well-established plan by the Bangladeshi side. A similar incident had happened in Pyrduwah in Meghalaya when a number of BSF jawans were killed by BDR personnel after an altercation between the two sides in 2001.

'There was another attack on the BSF in 2003 when the director-general was in Dhaka for talks. And, this has happened the third time,' a senior Indian official said.

Bangladesh has blamed the BSF for provoking the incident by killing a girl, though it expressed regret over the murder of the officer.

India does not seem impressed with Dhaka's response.

'We don't want them to express regret. We want them to take action,' a foreign ministry official said.

However, Indian officials seemed to be at a loss in explaining what signal the Bangladesh National Party-led government in Dhaka was trying to convey to Delhi through such acts.

Relations between the two countries have been under strain over the past few months.

Bangladesh was cut up with India's decision to stay away from the Saarc Summit that was scheduled to be held in Dhaka in February citing deteriorating law and order.

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