New Delhi/Kolkata, Feb 7: BSF has lodged a protest with their Bangladeshi counterparts after a jawan today succumbed to his injuries, three days after he was beaten up by a group of smugglers along Indo-Bangladesh border in North 24-Parganas district of West Bengal.
Head Constable Sartaj Singh (42) was deployed at Gobardah border outpost in the district on February 4 when he and his colleagues intercepted a 100-strong squad of suspected cow smugglers in the wee hours.
“The smugglers who came from across the border attacked the BSF party and two troops, including Sartaj, sustained serious injuries. At a hospital in Kolkata today, Sartaj succumbed to his injuries which were largely sustained by him because of stones and kicking during the incident,” a senior BSF officer said.
“We have registered an official protest with the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) for not intercepting the smugglers in their area of responsibility”, the officer added.
“During the attack, three Bangladeshi nationals were apprehended and 32 cattle heads were seized from the place of incident,” a statement by the South Bengal Frontier of BSF, whose headquarters is in Kolkata, said. According to Border Security Force (BSF) officials, Sartaj exercised full restraint and did not fire at the smugglers even though he had a weapon.
“The troops tried to apprehend the smugglers but the BSF team was outnumbered and Sartaj and another jawan were seriously injured. Sartaj did not open fire till the end,” an officer said.
Sartaj hailed from Uttar Pradesh's Etawah district. According to official data, a total of 52 attack/assault incidents on BSF jawans had occurred in the area of South Bengal frontier, comprising four districts of 24-Parganas North, 24-Parganas South, Murshidabad and Nadia districts in the last one year.
At a number of places along the Indo-Bangladesh border, BSF troops are now armed with non-lethal weapons and they are under strict instructions to show restraint while dealing with people who cross-over from the other side.