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Border Killing

Parvez Ahmad | Bangladesh, Bangladesh

A view of a fenced border near Behular char, Roumari. 24 September 2016

I grew up in a place close to the India-Bangladesh border. It was not news for me that the smuggling of goods is what keeps the local economy alive. What was unclear to me in my early adulthood is, when smuggling is public knowledge and everyone in the system (local law enforcement particularly) why the mere carrier (the poor boy or the girl) are taking bullets. Being unaware of regional politics, I asked, why victims are always Bangladeshi. As I have started to work on this project, the idea border itself became the main site of exploration. For those who live close to the border, they do not consider the barbed-wire fences as a boundary, rather as a meeting point where the land of two nations meet and interact. I want to explore this apparently the mutually exclusive meaning of border. My work as a photojournalist while covering day to day spot news opened avenues for me to explore documentary photography and develop sustained interest in particular issues including cross-border violence

For the past four years, I have worked with victims of (India-Bangladesh) border violence. In doing so, I have come to realize victims who are often treated as criminals by both states have very different understanding and conception of the border. Even when they know crossing the border may mean taking a bullet, the land on the other side does not seem to them like other lands/nation. The kinship ties that were lost with the birth of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are not conceived as broken. As a photographer, I have often felt inadequate to deal with such delicate realities of border-fence and historical sense of belonging that shapes the experience of the victims.

Parvez Ahmad Rony
email: parvez.ahmad.rony@gmail.com

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