NEW DELHI, Dec 7 � Centre has denied issuing orders to the Border Security Force (BSF) not to open fire at unarmed people crossing the international border illegally.
In response to a question, whether Government of India has issued orders not to shoot unarmed civilians, even if they are found to be crossing the porous border illegally, Minister of State for Home Affairs, M Ramachandran said that the Government has not issued any such order.
The Rajya Sabha reply to a question by Kumar Deepak Das is interesting because Union Home Minister P Chidambaram during his Dhaka visit on July 30 had announced that BSF would not shoot anyone crossing the Indo-Bangladesh border irrespective of the circumstances.
�Let me make it very clear�we have issued strict instructions to our border security forces that under no circumstances should they fire upon anyone trying to cross from either Bangladesh to India or India to Bangladesh. The message has gone down to the last jawan,� he had added then.
The announcement resulted in an understanding in October, between BSF and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) to decrease the number of deaths due to the firing at the border.
BSF has started using non-lethal weapons on Indo-Bangladesh Border. To minimise casualties, BSF has provided its force non-lethal weapons including stunt grenade and pump action shotguns, BSF has announced in October, adding that deaths on the border had come down drastically.
The Minister revealed that number of Bangladeshi nationals apprehended at the border has declined from 2677 in 2008 to 468 till October this year.
�There are reports of Bangladeshi nationals having entered into India without valid document. As entry of such Bangladeshi nationals is clandestine, it is not possible to have a correct estimate of such illegal immigrants, the Minister added.
An amount of Rs 5 crore has been allotted to BSF in the Budget for maintenance of flood lights and fence and roads.