IN WHAT may be the first such official articulation on cattle smuggling, the Border Security Force (BSF) has said the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) supports the “inhuman, merciless and seditious” activity.
In a press statement dated July 6, on its preparations to check cattle smuggling ahead of Eid ul-Adha or Eid Qurban later this month, the BSF has cited religious and medical reasons to underline that the meat of the smuggled cattle is not fit for consumption.
The statement, in Hindi, gives details of how the animals are smuggled across the border. “The inhuman, merciless and seditious actions of cattle smugglers are very disgusting,” it says.
It says the cattle are blindfolded, and banana stems are tied to them to help them float on the Ganga, so that they can be swept across to Bangladesh.
“When they arrive in Bangladesh, there are hundreds of Bangladeshi cattle smugglers who capture these animals, using their speedboats. This task is sometimes done with the agreement of the Border Guard Bangladesh personnel,” says the statement, signed by DIG S S Guleria of South Bengal Frontier.
It says that on Eid Qurban, personally reared animals are supposed to be sacrificed, not those that have been smuggled and “tortured”.
Citing medical reasons, it says: “When the cattle undergoes mental and physical pain before being slaughtered, its meat is not fit for consumption. Because the lactic acid in its body is completely depleted… due to the absence of lactic acid in its meat, many types of harmful bacteria flourish in it. Those who eat it are at risk of falling sick.”
The cattle are packed in trucks from across North India and transported to the border. When they are near the border, the smugglers try to make them run fast so that they can’t be caught. For this, the animals are injected with drugs or their tails are cut and pressure is applied on the wounds, it says.
The statement says that a buffalo that costs Rs 50,000 in India will sell for Rs 1.5 lakh in Bangladesh during Eid. The cattle smuggler, according to the BSF, makes about Rs 10,000 per buffalo.
In the past, the two sides have maintained that there is complete cooperation and coordination between the two forces on the issue of cattle smuggling.
In 2015, after then Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked the BSF to put a complete halt to cattle smuggling so that people in Bangladesh give up eating beef, Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star quoted then BGB Director General Major Gen Aziz Ahmed as saying, “My message to my force is that ensure no Bangladeshi can enter India to bring cattle.”
In 2017, after a BSF-BGB meet, BGB Region Commander Addl Director General Md Zahid Hasan told reporters in Shillong, “Actually, cattle smuggling is harming our economy. If it (cattle) doesn’t come from India, then our dairy farmers can do better and we can take care of ourselves.”