Members of the special force patrol the border areas. Telegraph picture
Krishnagar, Feb. 20: Enter, the good Samaritan BSF jawan.
The Border Security Force in Nadia has set up a 30-member team that will mingle with villagers and curb smuggling along the border on the lines of the Creek Crocodile commando unit raised in Gujarat four years ago.
Named Krishnagar Tiger Force (KTF), the team is made of 30 personnel selected from the five battalions in the sector.
The idea to form a special force to curb border crimes in Nadia was mooted by Pushpendu Singh Rathore, the deputy inspector general of the BSF in Krishnagar who trained the Creek Crocodile unit in Gujarat.
“We have found that a section of villagers living close to the border is involved in smuggling and other crimes. We felt the need for a specially trained force that can mix with residents and collect inputs on border crimes,” said Rathore, who joined as DIG of Krishnagar sector in January.
Set up in 2009, the Creek Crocodiles was trained to thwart any evil designs from across the India-Pakistan border in Gujarat. The force was formed to dominate the creek area in the western state.
DIG Rathore said the Nadia force, most of them fluent in Bengali, would mainly carry non-lethal weapons and also have sniffer dogs in their team when necessary.
Nadia has around 240km of border with Bangladesh.
“The BSF has jurisdiction within 15km of the border. The KTF will also be asked to present a good Samaritan image in villages so that the jawans are not considered only as uniformed people but also as friends. This will help them build a rapport with villagers and curb border crimes,” the DIG said.
The DIG added: “The members of KTF would regularly visit the villages near their posts and try to mingle with local people. They will also help them when needed, like admitting patients to hospital at night or evacuating them during cross-border firing.”
Rathore clarified that he did not set up the team following any instruction from higher authorities in Delhi.
“Just like introducing the slingshot as a non-lethal weapon, I have set up the force named KTF. The force will ensure better protection of the border in the Krishnagar sector and prevent border crimes. We have informed district police and they have assured cooperation. I have also informed my higher authorities in Delhi,” said Rathore.
The district superintendent of police of Nadia, S. R. Mishra, welcomed the formation of the KTF. “It is a good initiative on the part of the BSF. It would also help the police.”
The team members have undergone a week of training.
Virendra Dutt, the commanding officer of 113th battalion, said: “Of the 1,200 personnel in a battalion, we have picked up the best six. These six personnel had to undergo tough tests of their physical fitness, mental ability, firing skill, man management skill, endurance power, patience, interactive power, general knowledge as well as basic knowledge of civil law. Later, they were imparted special commando training and deployed for duty.”
Villagers living close to the 240km India-Bangladesh border in Nadia said they had been informed about the KTF through panchayats.