Bangladesh:Dhaka worried at killings by Indian BSF

January 8, 2013 1:01 am 11 comments __
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By -The Daily Star:

2011-10-16__dipu moni2Dipu Moni says it’s unpardonable

Dhaka has termed the killing of Bangladeshi nationals on the border by the Indian Border Security Force “unpardonable, excessive and very unfortunate”.

“Killing is in no way pardonable … it’s not at all desirable,” Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told a press conference at her ministry yesterday.

Expressing Bangladesh’s concern over the recent killing of its citizens, the foreign minister said Dhaka had earlier got assurances from the highest level of the Indian side that the border killings would be stopped.

She, however, observed it was the task of either side to take effective steps to bring the border killings down to zero. “Whether the shooting was unilateral could be ascertained by observing the place of occurrence and time.”

The minister said the deputy commissioners of the bordering districts had been asked to ensure that no Bangladeshis crossed the border at night-time.

Replying to a query, she said Bangladesh had always lodged strong protests against each killing incident upon verification from the Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB).

Dhaka on Sunday sent a strong protest to the Indian government over the recent killing of Bangladeshis, she added.

About the performance in the last four years, Dipu Moni said her ministry was able to project Bangladesh as a nation that is non-communal, democratic, press-friendly, and respectful of human rights.

Among the successes, she observed, the most important was the triumph over Myanmar in the maritime dispute case, as it established Bangladesh’s legitimate right to the Bay of Bengal.

Replying to another question, the minister said both Bangladesh and India were still hopeful of signing a Teesta water-sharing deal and implementing the land boundary agreement.

Asked about the reported US threat of lifting the GSP facilities for Bangladeshi export items, she said the US trade representative had written a letter to the commerce ministry, and a copy had been sent to her ministry by the US ambassador.

“We will properly uphold our position at an appropriate time. We want the continuation of the GSP facilities,” the minister said, adding that the government had already undertaken necessary steps to ensure safety in the garment industry.

After the Tazreen factory fire, people have become more conscious about the issue of compliance, which she said was better than many other countries.

Though garment export to the US under GSP accounts for 0.6 percent of Bangladesh’s total export volume, “we certainly want the GSP facilities, and bilateral negotiations are on”, she continued.

“Bilateral ties with the USA are stronger than at any time in the past,” she claimed, citing the partnership dialogue agreement signed between the two countries during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Bangladesh.

Queried if the government was under pressure from foreign diplomats who frequently comment on the next general election, she said the way the envoys used to make remarks before the present government came to office had changed.

She further said the issue of national election was an internal affair that would be settled by Bangladeshi people and politicians, and outsiders had nothing to do about it.

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