After the NDA government came to power, the Border Security Force (BSF) has given its men discretionary powers to shoot at cattle smugglers, which has reportedly resulted in the number of cattle smuggling cases drop along the Bangladesh border.
It was on Bangladesh government’s request in 2011 that the then UPA government had agreed to use only non-lethal weapons along the border. Though the killings of civilians had come down drastically, the number of attacks on security personnel increased manifold.
“Now the control of opening fire has gone from the supervising authority to the person on the ground. We have asked our men to use their discretionary powers whenever it came to using weapons. One cannot be expected not to shoot in self-defence when attacked,” said a senior official.
The BSF has been filing FIRs against cattle smugglers and following it up with state governments to take it to a logical conclusion.
BSF director general DK Pathak told The Indian Expresss that they started an anti-cattle smuggling drive, particularly in south Bengal, four months ago, which resulted in the smuggling cases coming down. To begin with, the BSF has identified 64 Border Outposts (BOPs) along the Bangladesh border that are vulnerable to cattle smuggling. Of these, there are 46 BOPs which account for 80 per cent of cattle smuggling cases.
“We have adopted a three-pronged strategy to deal with this-first is a large number of arrests and following up the criminal cases with the state government. Second is putting up check-posts at second and third-tiers to prevent their movement near the border. Third is increasing the manpower,” said Pathak.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh, while visiting a border outpost in West Bengal, said Wednesday that “the price of beef had gone down in Bangladesh by upto 30 per cent due to heightened vigil by BSF against cattle smuggling.”
Since the non-lethal weapons were introduced along the border, more than 510 cases of injuries to BSF personnel were reported. In January this year, a BSF jawan was hacked to death by alleged cattle smugglers in North 24 Parganas.