KOLKATA: Three tribals, including a woman, were killed in firing by BSF jawans in South Tripura. The BSF said the killings were part of an operation to bust cattle smuggling on the borders. However, the tribals contend that the killings resulted after a woman was molested allegedly by a BSF jawan.
Villagers at the remote hamlet of Chitabari had on Friday clashed with the BSF alleging that three of its personnel had tried to molest a tribal woman. Three persons, including the woman, were killed and two others were injured.
BSF dismissed the molestation allegation and said its personnel had opened fire on “cattle smugglers” who tried to attack them.
The incident showcases the illegal cattle trade to Bangladesh across the Tripura border to supply the meat industry in the neighbouring country. Illegal smuggling dwarfs legal export by as much as 90%.
Home minister Rajnath Singh had claimed in 2015 that the BJP’s policies against cow slaughter had resulted in massive price rise of beef in Bangladesh. He had claimed that only 2.5 lakh cows were smuggled in 2015 whereas 22-25 lakh were being smuggled during the previous UPA-II government.
Bangladeshi cuisine is heavily dependent on illegally smuggled and legally exported beef from India. While the most sought-after big-sized cows and buffaloes are brought in from states such as Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat, the transport route to Bangladesh via West Bengal passes through Uttar Pradesh.
With the new BJP government in Uttar Pradesh mooting closure of abattoirs in the state, questions have been raised over the future of the Bangladeshi food industry.
Indian cows are prized possessions in Bangladesh and special ‘haats’ (weekly markets) are held with fresh consignments of Indian cows.