NEW DELHI: Two Bangladeshis were shot dead at the Indo-Bangla border in West Bengal's Coochbehar district in the early hours of Friday after they attacked a BSF patrol party that stopped them from smuggling cattle, a senior official of the force said.
The district police claimed that three persons had died in the incident, including an Indian.
A personnel of the border force was also injured and has been evacuated to a nearby hospital.
The incident has triggered a political slugfest in the border district with the ruling TMC blaming the enhancement of BSF's jurisdiction from 15 to 50 kms as a reason behind the incident.
"The incident happened early this morning at around 2 am when a group of 60 miscreants assembled on both sides of the border to smuggle cattle. The miscreants tried to smuggle cattle by throwing improvised bamboo cantilevers on the barbed wires. When a BSF patrol party tried to stop them, they started pelting stones at the party and attacked them with iron rods and sticks," BSF Additional Director General Y B Khurania said.
The Border Security Force troops on duty ahead of the India-Bangladesh border fence asked the miscreants to return, but they did not pay heed.
He said then BSF officials used non-lethal munition, but that too did not deter them.
"Two BSF constables got surrounded and were badly hurt (by the miscreants). It was then that they opened fire in self-defence. They fired a few rounds in the air. Later it was found that two persons on that side of the border had died in the firing," Khurania said.
Meanwhile, the body of an Indian was found within 700 m inside the border.
"We have heard that one more body has been found, but it does not have any bullet injury. The police are looking into the matter," he said.
A senior Coochbehar district police official claimed that the man had died in the border incident and was identified.
"Due to the incident at the Indo-Bangla border, a total of three people have died - two Bangladeshis and one Indian. How the Indian person died, whether due to bullet injury or any other injury, only doctors will be able to say," the police official said.
"This incident of killing of an Indian proves the kind of atrocity that goes on in the bordering areas. This is why we had opposed to enhancing the jurisdiction of the BSF," senior TMC leader of Coochbehar Udayan Guha said.
The opposition BJP wondered what would the border force do if they are attacked with lethal weapons.
"TMC has a habit of politicizing every issue and maligning our security forces," a BJP leader said.
The union home ministry had expanded the area of jurisdiction under BSF from 15 km to 50 km inside the international border along Punjab, West Bengal and Assam in October to curb trans-border crimes, like smuggling of drugs, ammunition, busting cattle smuggling and fake currency rackets in those states.
The incident took place hours before Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla's scheduled meeting with senior state government officials on various issues in Kolkata.