GUWAHATI, Feb 2 � Large patches of unfenced border with Bangladesh in Meghalaya are still encouraging movement of militants and there is urgent need for expediting the work of completing the fencing to check the menace.
Highly placed police sources in Meghalaya told The Assam Tribune that less than half of the total length of the international border with Bangladesh in the State is still unfenced and the Government of Meghalaya is yet to give clearance for construction of fencing in a stretch of 135 kilometers.
Sources said that the militants belonging to the Garo National Liberation Front (GNLF) are still taking advantage of the unfenced border to move to their hideouts in Bangladesh. Though the Government of Bangladesh has been taking action against the militants staying in that country, the GNLA is still maintaining its bases in the neighbouring country.
There are large numbers of Garo villages just across the international border and taking advantage of the unfenced border, the people visit their relatives across the border. The militants also take advantage of the situation to move to their hideouts in the Garo villages in Bangladesh.
Sources admitted that though the BSF has intensified vigil in the area, the troops of the border guarding force has to face hurdles like tough terrain with thick jungles, frequent movement of wild elephants, lack of fencing etc. There is urgent need for completing the fencing on war footing and the visits of people from across the Garo villages should be regulated, sources added.
Police said that there have instances of opposition by local people, which slowed down the construction of the fencing. But mostly people with vested interests are instigating the locals to oppose construction of fencing, sources added.
On the possible external threat, sources said that so far there was no specific information of elements of anti-India forces like jehadi elements trying to infiltrate into India from Bangladesh. But the need for keeping a close vigil on the international border cannot be overlooked.
Meanwhile, the BSF also admitted that the possibility of cross border movements in the unfenced areas cannot be ruled out. BSF sources said that despite best efforts of the force, cross border movement in the unfenced areas cannot be totally checked. Sources said that the thick jungles also act as a major hurdle for the force and only construction of a proper fencing can totally prevent the menace. However, from time to time, GNLA militants are caught by the BSF while trying to sneak into India from Bangladesh.