‘No more camps of Indian militant outfits in Bangladesh’

Shillong Aug 20: Bangladesh authorities have denied that militant outfits from India’s Northeast are running camps in their country, and pledged cooperation to root out terrorists operating from their soil.

During a meeting for cluster-9 between the border districts of Meghalaya and Bangladesh in Shillong on Tuesday, Bangladeshi officials told their Indian counterparts that Bangladesh has manifested its strong position against all kinds of extremism and terrorism.

The deputy commissioner of Bangladesh’s Jamalpur district, Ahmad Kabir who led the team of 52 officials from Bangladesh said that that Bangladesh has successfully rooted out all terrorists operating from its soil.

“Bangladesh has made significant progress in uplifting the socio economic. Bangladesh manifested its strong position against all kinds of extremism and terrorism, and has successfully rooted out terrorists operating from Bangladesh’s soil,” Kabir said while assuring that Bangladesh would continue to cooperate with India in this regard.

Kabir also said that through this meeting, issues related to cross border infiltration, smuggling, repairing of damaged border pillars and facilitating export and import would be addressed by both the countries.

Meghalaya Additional Chief Secretary, RV Suchiang termed the bilateral meeting as ‘right forum’ for generating decisions based on consensus.

She said that there were decisions which were under status quo because long standing issues cannot be resolved overnight and hoped that such meeting would ensure better ties between India and Bangladesh.

Suchiang also suggested that mechanisms should be adopted how to expedite the repatriation of those being lodged in jails in India and Bangladesh.

“The BSF and BGB can come up with the standard operating procedures in order to avoid delays, and come up with solid propositions approved by governments of both the countries,” Suchiang said.

The districts of Bangladesh bordering Meghalaya include Jamalpur, Sherpur, Netrakona, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Sunamganj and Kurigram while Meghalaya’s districts bordering Bangladesh, include East Khasi Hills, South West Khasi Hills, West Jaiñtia Hills, East Jaiñtia Hills, West Garo Hills, South West Garo Hills and South Garo Hills.

The bilateral meeting aimed at enhancing bilateral relationships between districts across the international border and to resolve issues on infiltration and improve border management.

East Khasi Hills district, deputy commissioner, Matsiewdor W. Nongbri who hosted the bilateral meeting said that some decisions were taken during the meeting but the decisions would be first conveyed to the respective governments.

Meanwhile Kabir said that it was decided that such bilateral meeting should be held regularly in future so that issues can be discussed and resolved.

Kabir also denied that some militant outfits from India’s Northeast are setting up camps in Bangladesh’s soil.

Earlier militant outfits like ULFA and others have camps in Bangladesh, and even the BSF used to submit the list of militant organizations operating from Bangladesh.

Kabir however said, “if there is specific information regarding any group, Bangladesh will certainly examine and take necessary steps as per law. Right at the moment, there are no militant camps in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has many times demonstrated its strong opposition against all kinds of terrorism, extremism and both neighboring countries want to root out all sort of terrorist activities. Bangladesh never harbors any terrorist group.”

He said that Bangladesh did not want her friendly neighbor India to suffer due to criminal activities in the border areas or within Bangladesh.

Asked about cattle smuggling, Kabir said that Bangladesh wanted to curb all types of smuggling and the BGB and BSF are also working together.