The India-Bangladesh enclave exchange protocol is yet to be implemented, but in a first ever instance of mutual cooperation, the district administration of Cooch Behar and that of Lalmonirhat in the neighbouring country got together on Wednesday to get post-mortem conducted on the body of a woman, who was allegedly murdered almost 19 days ago.
The body of the 24-year-old woman was found in a field in an Indian enclave in Bangladesh on September 25. The autopsy was conducted in Cooch Behar Wednesday. The move has set a precedent and nullifies the general perception that any crime committed in Indian or Bangladeshi enclaves can go undetected and unpunished as “no administration exists in these no-man’s land territories”.
The residents of these enclaves have no voting or citizenship rights. Also, police from either country had no access to each other’s enclaves.
Though India and Bangladesh had signed a protocol agreement in 2011 to exchange the 110-odd enclaves to set the border abnormalities and disputes right, the process got stalled after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee objected it, saying India stands to lose more land in the exchange process and it will affect her state.
However, on Wednesday, inspector Amirul Islam of Patgram police station in Lalmonirhat district of Bangladesh brought over the body of Salina Begum to Cooch Behar district hospital morgue on request of the Indian authorities, and got the postmortem done. The Bangladesh team of officials came early in the morning and left with the Salina’s body at about 4 pm after all the formalities were completed.
This unique exchange programme was made possible at the initiative of the India-Bangladesh Enclave Exchange committee led by Diptiman Sengupta of Cooch Behar. The committee members also urged the Patgram police in Bangladesh to arrest the alleged culprit of the crime, Salina’s husband. The Bangladesh authorities have arrested Salina’s husband and kept her body in a morgue.