‘Cattle smuggling from India harms Bangladesh dairy industry’

Shillong, July 15 (IANS): The Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) on Saturday asked its Indian counterpart, the Border Security Force (BSF) to stop cattle smuggling as it is “harming” their dairy industry. “It is a fact that cattle are being smuggled from India to Bangladesh. We have agreed and identified that cattle by itself cannot walk. It is understandable that both countries’ nationals are involved in this smuggling,” BGB’s Additional Director General M. Zahid Hasan told journalists.


“Actually it (cattle smuggling) is harming our economy. These cattle are coming from deep inside India and from west of India. If these cattle doesn’t come from India, then our dairy farmers can grow up and take care of ourselves,” said Hasan, who was here to take part in the bi-annual BSF-BGB Border Coordination Conference at the head of a 23-member delegation.


“Cattle smuggling was also one of the main agenda points apart from Indian insurgents hiding in Bangladesh and other trans-border crime during our dialogue with the BGB,” said BSF’s Inspector General in-charge Meghalaya frontier P.K.Dubey. “We have worked some concrete plans at the ground level and will carry out joint patrolling during night and day to tackle cattle smuggling besides other trans-border crime along the India-Bangladesh border,” he said.


On the presence of Indian militant groups in Bangladesh, the BSF official denied any existing “well-established” or “regulated” camps in Bangladesh but said that most of the Indian militants are changing their identities by marrying Bangladeshi nationals residing along the border to evade arrest. In fact, Indian intelligence have confirmed United Liberation Front of Asom leader Drishti Rajkhowa is married to a Bangladeshi woman.


Dubey said that the BGB officials also held discussion with Meghalaya Police chief Swaraj Bir Singh on members of Meghalaya-based groups hiding in Bangladesh. “Action plan has been drawn to find out details about presence of insurgents along the international border. We are getting cooperation from the BGB in this regard. Our intelligence agencies are trying to get the information about the presence of militants and such information will be forwarded accordingly to the BGB,” he said.


Describing India’s concern on presence of Indian militants in Bangladesh as “perceptions”, Hasan said: “Frankly speaking, there are no militants from India taking shelter in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has the toughest stand on this and zero tolerance for any militant activities. We are very sure that there are no militants operating in Bangladesh.”