SHILLONG, June 15 – One woman was injured when the Border Security Force (BSF) and Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) today exchanged fire in three different areas along the Indo-Bangla border in the Jaintia Hills sector in Meghalaya.
Sari Nonglamin of Amdoh village received bullet injury on her leg during the exchange of fire. The injured woman is a lower primary school teacher.
The first exchange of firing began at around 9.30 am in Muktapur village, followed by subsequent firing at Naljuri and Jaliakhola around 11 am, official sources said. The exchange of fire lasted for several hours.
Trouble started yesterday when BDR objected to Indian villagers cultivating in their land, claiming the land as Bangladesh territory. BDR also hoisted red flags to stop the villagers from cultivating. They later opened fire to scare away the villagers. The BSF responded by firing back.
“The BDR resorted to firing to scare us from cultivating in our own land”, the village headman of Muktapur, Manoj Manar said.
Panic-stricken border villagers, meanwhile, have shifted to safer grounds following today’s incident. “The situation is tense. Most of the people, especially women and children, have moved to safer grounds after the gunfire”, Manar said.
Muktapur, Jaliakhola and Naljuri is about 20 km east of Pyrdiwah village, which was occupied by the BDR in 2001 for days, claiming it to be a part of Bangladesh, before they were forced to retreat.
There were several exchange of fire between the BSF and BDR this year due to claim and counter-claim of land by both countries.
Union Home Secretary GK Pillai during his recent visit here said the joint boundary working group of India and Bangladesh would meet during July or August to resolve all the boundary disputes between the neighbouring countries.
Of the 4,098-km-long border shared between India and Bangladesh, Meghalaya shares a 443-km border, part of which is porous, hilly and unfenced.
At present there is 551.80 acres of Bangladesh land under adverse possession of India, while 226.81 acres of Indian land is under adverse possession of Bangladesh. There are 11 such areas of dispute in the Meghalaya sector.