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Smugglers kill jawan near border outpost

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OUR CORRESPONDENT   |     |   Published 03.05.11, 12:00 AM

Balurghat, May 2: A BSF jawan was stabbed to death barely a kilometre from his outpost in Hili yesterday morning, allegedly by cattle smugglers rampant in an area without any border fencing.

Six persons have been arrested for the murder of H. T. Kantaraj, 36. Among the arrested, the scent of two brothers were picked up by BSF sniffer dogs from a slipper left at the site of crime.

The inspector-general of the BSF’s Malda range Ashok Kumar and deputy inspector-general Amarjeet visited the Bhimpur border outpost today.

According to BSF and police sources, around 2am yesterday, a gang of cattle smugglers was spotted by Kantaraj, alone on a patrol, very close to the BSF border outpost at Bhimpur. There is no border fencing in the 7km stretch in that area.

Police said the jawan, who hailed from Karnataka, was attacked by the smugglers who slashed his stomach, killing him on the spot before his colleagues could come to his aid. His screams for help had alerted the border outpost.

The gang of smugglers managed to escape under the cover of darkness, BSF sources said. The jawan’s body was sent for post-mortem to the South Dinajpur district hospital.

Indra Pahan said his sons Sushil and Swapan were not smugglers, but they were not home when the incident took place. Police sources said a slipper found at the spot was smelt by the BSF dog, which followed it to the Pahan house in Iswarpara, 3km from the border.

While the BSF officers refused to speak, sources in the district police said according to a new guideline issued by the Union home ministry, the border force had been instructed to fire only rubber bullets during any eventuality. However, it was learnt that the BSF men at Bhimpur were not equipped with rubber bullets.

South Dinajpur police chief Swapan Banerjee Purnapatra said investigations were on after the BSF filed a complaint that their jawan had been killed by cattle smugglers at the Hili border.

“We have already arrested six persons from the border area and investigations are on. We are stepping up security measures in the area,” the police chief said.

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