The Border Security Force (BSF) has augmented security deployment across Indo-Bangla international border in Tripura to check infiltration or exfiltration ahead of the general election in neighboring Bangladesh, officials said here on Friday. Bangladesh is scheduled to undergo its 11th parliamentary elections on December 30.
Speaking to reporters at the force’s frontier headquarters at Shalbagaan, BSF Inspector General Hemant Kumar Lohia said the border is always on alert. However, the Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) have been put on alert ahead of the Bangladesh Parliament elections and so have been BSF.
“We have augmented out efforts so that criminals do not have free movement between the states or between the two countries. We have augmented the efforts. Our borders are usually very peaceful and our vigil is high at all times. But we have augmented our efforts by putting more men and resources on the field,” IG Lohia said.
BSF has currently got an estimated 20,000 personnel on duty in Tripura. In addition to the existing force mobilization along the Indo-Bangla border, more men, more “resources” were deployed recently to ensure zero infiltration or exfiltration. Equipment for electronic surveillance, which was kept on reserve, is also being used apart from intensified vigilance, intelligence, and barbed wire fencing, the official said.
On the issue of Rohingya refugees, BSF Inspector General Lohia said he doesn’t feel Rohingyas are a threat to the security and sanctity of India.
“We have apprehended nearly a hundred Rohingyas in joint efforts with the state police. We have maintained alert along border and BGB is highly cooperative. Few Rohingyas were residing in parts of India like Bengaluru, Kolkata. They were trying to go back to Bangladesh when we apprehended them. As of now, I don’t see it a serious threat that they can march into India,” he said.
He praised Bangladesh Police and Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) for doing “excellent job” in containing Rohingyas.
Earlier in October 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) instructed Tripura and few other bordering states to identify and monitor Rohingya refugees in a letter to Tripura Chief Secretary. The letter said there was infiltration from Rakhine state of Myanmar into Indian territory and stated that they are a burden on resources and security challenges were aggravated by their influx.
Tripura shares 856 km long international border with Bangladesh. 70 km of the international boundary is still unfenced in 34 different patches due to physical barriers, ownership issues and other problems.
For such locations, BSF is contemplating to use Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System, which is a network of multiple sensors, radars, and personnel connected by an electronic system to the command headquarters. The system is already being used on a pilot basis at Jammu and Dhubri of Assam.
“If the results show there is efficacy, we shall consider implementing the new system in riverine areas or deep gorges where conventional border fencing is impossible,” the BSF officer said.
BSF has seized contraband and other smuggled goods worth Rs 37.79 crores in the last 8 months in Tripura. They also arrested 174 Indian and 189 Bangladeshi nationals in possession of contraband drugs near the border. Eight outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT-BM) cadres were motivated by BSF to lay down arms this year.