Vigilance heightened along Bangladesh border

Agartala, Jan 3 (IANS) The BSF has heightened vigilance, while other security forces in Tripura are keeping a close watch on India’s border with Bangladesh in view of the political turmoil ahead of parliamentary polls in that country Jan 5, an official said.

“The government has asked the BSF (Border Security Force) to keep maximum alert along the border. We have asked the superintendents of police of bordering districts to take necessary measures to deal with the situation,” Tripura Director General of Police C. Balasubramanian told reporters.
“Mobile Task Force (MTF) officials and troopers were also engaged in round-the-clock patrol along the bordering areas to prevent any untoward elements from (coming) across the border,” he said.
He said that top officials of Tripura Police, BSF and intelligence officers were reviewing the situation from time to time.
BSF Director General Subhash Joshi earlier last month inspected the India-Bangladesh border in Tripura and other northeastern states to review the security along the border with turmoil-stricken Bangladesh.
“The BSF DG has directed all senior officials to closely monitor and review security along India’s border with Bangladesh,” a senior official told reporters.
The BSF chief accompanied by Inspector General (operations) Rajib Krishna and Additional DG (east) B.D. Sharma also held a series of meetings following the border inspection.
“We have asked our soldiers to keep an intense watch on the border situation. Our men, with available gadgets, remain vigilant round-the-clock along the borders, specially where a substantial number of people reside across the border,” BSF chief public relations Officer Bhaskar Rawat said.
India’s five states (West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram) share a 4,096-km border with Bangladesh, including 856 km in Tripura. A large portion of the International Border remains unfenced and porous.
There are a large number of thickly populated Bangladeshi villages and towns on the other side of the International Border, making the task a delicate one for Indian border guards and other security forces.
The Bangladesh Election Commission has set Jan 5 for the 10th parliamentary elections, a plan rejected by the major opposition parties.
Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led 18-party alliance, with the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami as a major partner, has been conducting violent agitation across the Muslim-dominated country demanding postponement of the polls and holding them under a neutral caretaker government.
The opposition parties’ demands have been rejected by the ruling Awami League party-led coalition government, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
According to media reports, several hundred people have died in widespread violence in the past several weeks.
Rail coaches, vehicles, shops and offices and private and government assets have been damaged by the protestors.