Kidnapped Indian farmer in Bangladesh police custody

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SHILLONG - The Border Security Force (BSF) Thursday said it was in touch with Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) officials for the safe release of an Indian farmer from Meghalaya who was abducted by Bangladeshi nationals.

On Wednesday, Bangladeshi nationals abducted Demi Dhar, 21, an Indian farmer from Rongkhum, an ‘adverse possession’ or disputed area along the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills district, says the BSF.

Sources in Dhar’s Amlympiang village said the Bangladesh nationals later handed him over to the BDR while accusing him of illegal intrusion into Bangladesh. Dhar, the grandson of a land owner, is in the custody of Bangladesh police in Sylhet district.

Rongkhum is 25 km east of Pyrdiwah village, which was in 2001 occupied for days by the BDR - which claimed it was part of Bangladesh - before they were forced to retreat.

“We are keeping in touch with our Bangladesh counterparts for an early release of the kidnapped Indian farmer,” BSF Inspector General R.C. Saxena told IANS.

Villagers have urged BSF officials to put pressure on the BDR. “We have asked the BSF to ensure the immediate release of Dhar as he was detained illegally,” Amlympiang village headman Peace Dhar told IANS on telephone.

Meghalaya, which shares a 443-km border with Bangladesh, has witnessed several incidents of “unprovoked firing” by the BDR June 15.

Adverse possession areas were created when the erstwhile East Pakistan - present day Bangladesh - and India demarcated the international boundary in the mid-1960s. There are 551.8 acres of Bangladeshi land in India’s possession, while 226.81 acres of Indian land is in Bangladesh’s possession.

There are about 11 such areas in Meghalaya, with several of them being in the Jaintia Hills and East Khasi Hills district bordering Bangladesh.

On June 24, the BSF and BDR agreed to exercise “utmost restraint” in areas of dispute along the international border and to leave the issue of settlement of areas under adverse possession to the joint working group of both nations.

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