A day after Bangladesh border guards mutinied over pay conditions,the international checkpost along the Indo-Bangla border was closed for over five hours on Thursday following news that the Bangladesh Army is set to take over the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) outposts.
Trade traffic and passenger buses travelling from either side of the border between India and Bangladesh stopped completely between 10 am and 3 pm.
Around 3 pm,the Border Security Force,however,got the information that their counterparts,the Bangladesh Rifles jawans,have neither deserted their posts nor had the Army taken control of them.
In the confusion that prevailed for five hours,two Dhaka-bound buses with about 72 passengers were stranded for hours at the border checkpoint. A Kolkata-bound bus from Dhaka arrived at Benapole,the Bangladesh side of the border,only to be stranded there for hours.
The driver of the Kolkata-bound bus,Karamjeet Singh,said: When we left Dhaka early in the morning,the roads were deserted. The road leading to the border point was also free from heavy traffic,enabling us to reach Jessore faster than we normally do. But we were stuck at the check post for over two hours.
Amzad Hussein,a Dhaka-bound passenger in Shyamali bus,said: When we began from Kolkata in the morning,we were told that the tension has subsided in Dhaka and that there was no problem in travelling. But when we reached there,we found the gates closed.
Kartick Chakrabarty,secretary of the local clearing agents association,said a large number of goods truck were stranded on both sides of the border. Normally,about 350 to 400 trucks ply from India to Bangladesh while the inward traffic from Bangladesh to India is about 100.
There has been a sharp drop in human traffic as well. On an average,about 1,500 to 2,000 people cross the border with valid passports. The number dipped to about 700 on Wednesday and to about 300 on Thursday.
The Indian border at this point is guarded by the 36 battalion of the BSF,commanded by Virendra Kumar,CO. He is camping at the border with additional troops brought from the headquarters at Kalyani.