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Friday, September 01, 2006

Delhi urges Bangladesh to crack down on rebel camps

SHILLONG (Gulf Times): India has demanded a crackdown by Bangladesh on camps used by rebels launching attacks in the troubled northeast.

A top Indian military official said Bangladesh will be handed details of some 172 rebel bases which New Delhi says are operating across the border.

"We shall be handing over a list of 172 rebel camps with specific locations to the Bangladesh Rifles team," Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Inspector General SK Dutta said.

India made the demand at a high-level meeting between border security officials in Shillong, capital of the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya. Bangladesh officials denied there were any rebel bases on its territory, Dutta said by telephone from Shillong.

Bangladesh and India share a 4,000km border and regularly trade accusations over shootings linked to attacks by various rebel groups, illegal trade and immigration.

In the latest incident, two Bangladeshi men were shot dead by Indian border guards, a senior officer of the Bangladesh Rifles said.

Bangladeshi border guards have accused Indian troops of killing hundreds of Bangladeshis along the border. India has said many of those killed were smugglers.

Over the weekend, home ministry secretaries from the two sides said they would tell border forces to exercise the "utmost restraint" on their volatile frontier.

At least 30 rebel groups operate in northeast India with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy in conflicts that have left more than 50,000 people dead since independence from Britain in 1947.

India and Bangladesh will also try and mutually settle disputed water projects and land strips along major rivers that separate the two countries during ministerial level talks next month, officials said

"The India-Bangladesh Joint River Commission (JRC), headed by the water resources ministers of the two countries, would make an on the spot study of disputed water projects and other riverside land before the two-day JRC meeting to be held in Dhaka on Sep 19-20," Tripura’s water resources department chief engineer G Malakar said.

The 11-member Bangladeshi delegation headed by Hafizuddin Ahmed and 12-member Indian delegation led by Saifuddin Soz will visit bordering areas of West Bengal and Tripura. The ministerial level meeting is scheduled for September 12 in Tripura’s capital Agartala.

The two ministers, accompanied by senior officials of the two countries, will make a similar visit in the Bangladesh side across West Bengal and Tripura. – IANS
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