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3 Bangladeshis killed in Assam

3 Bangladeshis killed in Assam

The bodies of three Bangladeshi nationals, suspected to have sneaked in to steal cattle, were found in a tea estate near the international border in south Assam’s Karimganj on Sunday, their injuries suggesting they had been beaten to death.

Karimganj police chief Kumar Sanjit Krishna said in a WhatsApp message that preliminary probe revealed that the deceased had “crossed the border with the motive to steal cows”. He told The DSTV Darjeeling that the police were trying to identify those behind the suspected lynchings.

“The post-mortem has been done and the bodies have been kept at the Karimganj Civil Hospital. We have asked the BSF and the state government to make arrangements to send the bodies to Bangladesh. The BSF will take up the identification of the bodies with the Border Guard Bangladesh. They (the deceased) seem to be from the Juri PS (area) in Bangladesh,” the officer added.

Assam shares a 263km border with Bangladesh, of which the Karimganj stretch is 93km long, including a 42km riverine border. Karimganj borders Sylhet district of Bangladesh.

The assumptions that the deceased were Bangladeshis and that they had come to steal cattle are based on the recoveries from their possession — biscuits and bread made in Bangladesh, ropes, carry bags, fence cutters, wire and a pair of trousers and shirt.

This is the second case of suspected lynching in Karimganj since June. Last month, a suspected Bangladeshi cattle thief had been killed at another tea estate.

The local Patharkandi MLA, Krishnendu Paul of the BJP, is said to have told the deputy commissioner to initiate a thorough probe into how the suspected Bangladeshis could enter the district.

There have been questions on how the trio had entered — by cutting through the fencing or using the elephant corridor. The garden is about 1km from the border.

A BSF official told this newspaper that intruders use the elephant corridor to sneak in. “They have not cut through the fencing. They must have used the elephant corridor. Elephants damage the fencing for smooth movement,” he said.

The sources said cattle theft was common in Karimganj, but not cattle smuggling which is a routine affair at Dhubri district of lower Assam.

“Since we have people guarding the border, they need to answer. They need to identify the gaps and plug them. The BSF authorities should look into it. Cattle smuggling and cattle theft are issues of concern along the border,” a source said. “Had the border been secured, these lives could have been saved. Those killed are poor people who have also been hit by the lockdown.”

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