Bangladesh and India share a border of 2,429 miles. A number of pillars mark the border between the two states. In many areas, India has built fences with barbed wire along with the borderline. The border is used as a route for smuggling livestock, medicine and other things from India to Bangladesh and because of this smuggling a controversial shoot-on-sight policy has been enforced by the Indian border patrols. Eventually, many of the victims are reported killed by BSF every year. A recent killing of a young girl Felani was highlighted in the media and even reached the courts of Delhi.
So these are the cowboys of no man’s land who have no idea about the foreign policy between countries. They come to graze their cattle in the huge no man’s land as free land is scarce in Bangladesh and they become the victims of the “shoot-on-sight policy”.
Editor’s Note – Anil Cherukupalli
Saud Faisal’s melancholic photo essay documents the children who take their cattle to graze in the huge no man’s land on the border between India and Bangladesh. While the photo essay itself does not show any of the horrors that are a result of India’s policy to shoot on sight anyone who crosses the border-even children, the dark and brooding nature of the photographs seems to hint at such possibilities. The children, while playful in parts, seem to be weighed down by the burden of staying safe and not crossing imaginary lines drawn in an arbitrary manner. The echoes of the partition of the subcontinent still reverberate in unlikely corners with often tragic consequences. Unfortunately, this is also an issue that is largely under reported. While some media reports seem to indicate that India has revoked the shoot on sight policy it is not very clear if it is actually being enforced on the ground. It is a sad but bitter reality that when nations clash it is the little people who suffer.