The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Push-in attempts keep BSF on toes

Siliguri, Feb. 9: An uneasy calm prevailed on the Indo-Bangla border at Sitalkuchi, in Cooch Behar’s Mathabanga subdivision, after an abortive attempt by the Bangladesh Rifles to “push in” more than 500 nationals yesterday.

Barely two days after the border standoff ended at Satgachhi and the 213 nomads stranded at no man’s land walked back into Bangladesh, the BDR tried to push in over 500 Bangladeshis into India at the Baro Madhusudan border outpost at Sitalkuchi.

The move was foiled by the BSF. “Five hundred Bangladeshi nationals were being escorted by a group of BDR personnel at Baro Madhusudan and a similar number of Bangladeshis were assembled at a village on the Bangladeshi side, opposite Choto Madhusudan outpost,” said an intelligence source.

Maintaining that the situation on the Indo-Bangla border at Sitalkuchi was “normal”, BSF additional deputy inspector-general Prem Prakash Gupta told The Telegraph: “Though the situation is normal, we are on alert. Round-the-clock patrolling along the border at Cooch Behar has started. We are keeping extra guard at the border.

“We told the BDR officials in clear terms that India will not tolerate such activities in future. If their (BDR) claim that the people they have been trying to push into Indian territory were Indians is true, let them speak to the right authority. They should not escort them across the border under the cover of darkness like in the Satgachhi episode or try to forcefully push them into India as happened in Sitalkuchi.”

To prove their point, the BDR tried to force a man, whom they claimed was a resident of Patna, into speaking Hindi. But they could not produce any documents as evidence, said Gupta.

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