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India accuses Bangladesh of war crimes

Bangladeshi border guard
India alleges Bangladesh violated a statute of the Geneva Convention  

GUWAHATI, India -- The Indian military has accused Bangladesh of war crimes in a formal complaint following last week's border clash which left 16 Indian soldiers dead.

India's Border Security Force filed the complaint with police in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, alleging that Bangladesh had violated a war crimes statute in the Geneva Convention.

The clash erupted over a disputed patch of land between the two countries, which share a 4,000-km (2,500-mile) border.

"A group of BSF jawans (soldiers) on Thursday filed a first information report against the Bangladesh Rifles," a police official in Assam said.

Under Indian law, the report is the first step in the investigation of an alleged crime and empowers police to carry out further inquiries.

Bangladesh, three of whose soldiers were also killed in the clash, have returned the bodies of the 16 Indian soldiers, some of which were mutilated.

Indian doctors said the Indian soldiers bore signs of torture before being shot at point-blank range.

Tense diplomacy

Indian police will conduct an investigation after taking down the testimonies of two injured Indian soldiers now in hospital.

Bangladeshi coffins
An April 17 border clash left 16 Indians and three Bangladeshi soldiers dead  

Sympathetic words were exchanged last week by Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Bangladeshi Prime Minsiter Sheikh Hasina, who promised a thorough inquiry into the killings.

Shortly after, India accused Bangladesh of increasing border troops, 20,000 of them new recruits.

But Bangladesh says troop movements observed along the border are routine. Border disputes have occurred often over the years between the two traditionally friendly nations, but a high death toll is rare.

Sections of the border have been in dispute since the British carved up the subcontinent in 1947, creating India and Pakistan.

The eastern portion of Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Indian Armed Forces
Bangladesh Prime Minister's Office http://www.bangladesh

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