I’ve got a nation. It comes at the end of my life, still it comes: resident of a Bangladeshi enclave

In Bangladesh, in the Indian enclaves that went to its possession after the deal, residents put up the Bangladeshi national flag atop their houses.

Written by Subrata Nagchoudhury | Cooch Behar | Updated: June 7, 2015 4:42 pm
narendra modi, bangladesh, Modi in Bangladesh, bangladesh land swap, india bangladesh land agreement, India Bangladesh LBA deal, LBA Bangladesh India, narendra modi bangladesh visit, modi in bangladesh, modi news, narendra modi news, india news, bangladesh news Asgar Ali, possibly the oldest resident of enclaves in India, hoisted the tricolour on Saturday. (Source: Express Photo by Subham Dutta)

The tricolour had started fluttering in the Bangladeshi enclaves here since early Sunday morning. When Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina finally inked the Land Boundary Agreement in Dhaka formalising these territories as a part of India, the area erupted in celebrations.

For the first time in his life, 25-year-old Zainal Ali strode out fearlessly from his Mashaldanga enclave to buy sweets and tricolour flags from the Dinhata market nearby. “Overnight, there is a feeling of freedom. Ours had been a life in the shadows — no sense of belonging to any country, no citizenship, no basic amenities. Everything we did had an air of illegality. All this has come to an end,” he said.

Zainal’s grandfather Asgar Ali, said to be 105 and the oldest man in the enclave, hoisted the tricolour at a ceremony. “I have got the nation of my dream. It comes at the fag end of my life, still it comes. I saw Jawaharlal Nehru and Jinnah divide India and I saw Indira Gandhi and Mujibur Rehman sign the treaty to settle the enclave issue. But things dragged on for so long,” he said.

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In Bangladesh, in the Indian enclaves that went to its possession after the deal, residents put up the Bangladeshi national flag atop their houses.

Among those celebrating on the Indian side was 5-year-old ‘Jehad’. He is famous for being perhaps the first child in the enclaves to be born in an Indian government healthcare facility. His mother Asma Biwi had refused to give birth at home, and his parents had sat in protest when the doctor at Dinhata turned them away. The boy acquired his name due to this act of defiance of his parents.

Golam Mostafa, who lives in one of the Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh, said, “A lot of rumours were being floated that the treaty would open floodgates of influx into India. But that hasn’t happened.”

Azizullah Islam, who also lives in an Indian enclave, said, “People are happy to have their identity. The rest they will sort out with time.”

An inspector at a border outpost of the BSF, who did not want to be named, said the end of uncertainty was good. “Till now we did not know if the enclave dwellers on the Indian side were our friends or enemies. But now things have been sorted out.”

“The Land Boundary Agreement not only sets a geographical territory in order but sets right a long-standing aberration of humanity,” said Diptiman Sengupta, who has been fighting for the rights of people living in the enclaves.

With the treaty, 111 Indian enclaves spread over 17,160 areas go to Bangladesh while 51 Bangladeshi enclaves comprising over 7,110 acres come to India. Notionally, India stands to lose around 10,000 acres of land to Bangladesh.

The population stays on an ‘as is where is’ basis, but if anyone wants to migrate to either country, it will be allowed.

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  1. A
    Anirban
    Jun 7, 2015 at 9:40 pm
    By this accord, Muslim potion increased in India.
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    1. B
      Bal
      Jun 7, 2015 at 10:44 am
      Media is managed and controlled by men of Modi .
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      1. Vidyaranya Bellur
        Jun 7, 2015 at 11:01 am
        All is well that ends well!
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        1. o
          one_genuine
          Jun 7, 2015 at 8:02 am
          "With the treaty, 111 Indian enclaves spread over 17,160 areas go to Bangladesh while 51 Bangladeshi enclaves comprising over 7,110 acres come to India. Notionally, India stands to lose around 10,000 acres of land to Bangladesh." BJP may flash it as their victory or statesmanship! No issue! It at least solves some humanitarian problems. But, sometimes wonder if other countries get what they want by just playing with Namo's ego - Hasina broke protocol to receive Namo at airport!
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            P.S.Radhakrishnan
            Jun 7, 2015 at 8:24 am
            Like every indian ,the people of the enclave now annexed to the great country, can also be proud to be an indian first. They are secure in the country that believes in secularism, democracy, human rights and allows freedom ( even to separatists) well protected by a Consution. India is emerging as an economic power in the region,even surping China in growth, and the new entrants also can become a part of it and exploit the resources legally for their benefit. Asgar Ali ( like many in that region) might be thrilled to be an Indian because large part of his life was spent under the Pak rule ( before the birth of Bangladesh) and therefore, could be well experienced with treachery, deceit, misrule , poverty, factional in-fights etc when the country was known as East stan and what is being practised in Islamabad.
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