The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Border guards bust pushback plan

Phulbari (Nadia), Feb. 10: Police and the Border Security Force here have unearthed a blueprint drawn up by the Bangladesh Rifles to “allow” Bangladeshis who had been “pushed back” into their territory to infiltrate India again.

According to intelligence reports, the Bangladesh police had arrested most of the 56 men, women and children rounded up by the police in Delhi and sent to the Phulbari border near Karimpur in Nadia on January 30 and “pushed back” by the BSF into Bangladesh the next day.

Before this operation, the BDR had strongly resisted the pushback and had beaten up several members of the group, which was then forced to camp at Phulbari. A similar fate had befallen the 213 Bangladeshi snake-charmers who were stranded in Cooch Behar’s Satgachhi last week, leading to a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

Today’s breakthrough comes close on the heels of Saturday’s attempt by the BDR to push in about 500 Bangladeshis through the border at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar.

Another possible standoff between the border guards was averted after a commandant-level meeting on the same day.

According to the intelligence reports here, the Bangladesh police have rounded up most of the group sent back and subsequently handed them over to the BDR at the Kazipur camp of the ninth battalion.

A BSF officer quoted a BDR company commander as saying at a flag meeting on February 5: “We are under tremendous pressure from our own government to disown these people.”

The BDR now wants these groups to “infiltrate” India and is wary of pushing them back themselves, the BSF officer said.

After the flag meeting, the BSF took strong exception to the BDR digging trenches along the border at Kazipur, where one of the groups had been brought.

“I have seen many of those who returned to Bangladesh huddling there in groups,” said Abdul Ghani, one of the youths who had escorted a group back into Bangladesh on January 31.

But BSF sources said the BDR has put on hold its ploy to send the groups back into India after getting to know about its heightened vigil along the Nadia border.

“The BDR is aware that we are equipped with night vision glasses and have more outposts. They know that their attempts to send in their people would be met with stiff resistance,” a BSF officer said.

The villagers here have their fingers crossed about a possible border flare-up if the BDR-backed “infiltration” commenced.

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