Hyderabad: With Eid-ul-Adha, the festival of sacrifice round the corner, the South Bengal Frontier Border Security Force is gearing up to tackle a threat they face every year – that of a surge in animal trafficking along the Indo-Bangladesh international border.
This year, the festival will be celebrated on July 31 in Bangladesh. With the rains on in full force and the water level in the rivers flowing along the border also rising, along with an increase in demand for animals for sacrifice in Bangladesh, the cattle smugglers are getting active, say officials.
According to a BSF spokesperson, it was learned from sources that the licensing of ‘Cattle Haats’ on the Bangladesh border would be completed soon. Cattle smuggled from India are traded in these haats. The price of cattle in Bangladesh has increased significantly this year, with a large buffalo, available in India for Rs.50,000 being priced in Bangladesh at about Rs.1.5 lakh while a large bull goes for about Rs.80,000.
Officials said the cattle smugglers were quite rich persons who run the business by luring in illiterate and unemployed youngsters, called Rakhals, for a few thousand rupees. When a buffalo crosses the international border, a Rakhal gets about Rs.8,000, for which he has to risk his life.
Officials said the Ganga River enters Bangladesh from India through areas under these border posts and when water is released from the Farakka Dam, the river gets flooded. This is exploited by the cattle smugglers, who tie the legs of the cattle, bandage the eyes of the animals, and tie them to pieces of banana stems and let them float eight to 10 kilometres upstream.
This year, BSF battalions deployed in Malda and Baharampur sectors have completed preparations, while in the most vulnerable Border Outposts such as Neem Teeta, Harudanga, Madanghat and Sovapur in Malda and Murshidabad districts, additional troops and resources have been deployed. Night cameras and speed boats are being used while BSF units have set up temporary camps on both sides of the ghats.
Officials said the smugglers were injecting drugs into the cattle before smuggling cattle so that they run violently, apart from having Improvised Explosive Device tied on them so that when BSF personnel rescue them, they can be killed or injured. Many times the Rakhals also attack BSF personnel with indigenous bombs and pistols. So far in 2020, 16 personnel of the South Bengal Frontier have been injured in various scuffles with trans-border criminals.
The new Inspector General of BSF, Ashwani Kumar Singh, has given clear instructions to the soldiers that incidents of BSF personnel getting injured or killed would not be tolerated.
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