Tuesday, July 16

National flag hoisted in Panchagarh marking enclave swap



The dwellers of Garati enclave in sadar uapzila of the district celebrated the historic swap of enclaves with India by hoisting the Bangladeshi national flag on Saturday morning.

The national flag was hoisted in Forkania Madrassa playground in Panchagarh sadar upazila at 6 am.

As part of the process to implement the 1974 historic Land Boundary Agreement, Bangladesh and India formally swapped their enclaves in the wee hours of Saturday, bringing an end to the 68-year statelessness of thousands of people.

With the midnight swap, the 51 Bangladesh enclaves in India have become Indian territories while 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh the Bangladesh territories.

Mohammad Samsul Alam, acting deputy commissioner of Panchagarh, Giasuddin Ahmed, su-perintendent of police of the district, Upazila Nirbahi Officer Laila Muntajery Deena, Mafizar Rahman, Panchagarh-Nilphamari district unit president of Bangladesh-India Enclave Swap Committee, among others, were present at the ceremony.

Besides, the enclave dwellers also sang the national anthem ‘Amar sonar Bangla ami tomay bhalobashi’ during the celebration.

There are 20,071 people reside in 36 enclaves in the district.

Of them, 512 people have registered their names to go to India.

Earlier, the Bangladeshi national flags were hoisted at 12:01am at Dasiarchhara enclave in Phulbari upazila of Kurigram district and Bhitorkuti enclave of Lalmonirhat district, marking the historic day.

Thousands of people joined the flag hoisting ceremony while the moment was also marked by lighting 68 candles.

However, Indian flag was kept half-mast at Mashaldanga enclave inside the Indian territory following the death of Former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam.

Enclave dwellers celebrated their freedom in a festive mood at the midnight.

They brought out a torch procession and cooked special foods to celebrate the day.

The transfer of territorial jurisdiction of adversely possessed lands would also take effect from the midnight.

Gazette notifications pertaining to the territories will be issued by both the governments.

The residents, except those who opted for moving to India from Indian enclaves which are be-coming Bangladesh territories, will be given Bangladesh citizenship.

Similarly, the residents of Bangladesh enclaves becoming Indian territories will be given Indian citizenship.

The movement of people would take place between November 1-30, 2015. Both the govern-ments would ensure safe, orderly and secure passage for the movement to the mainland.

The High Commissioners of the two countries on Thursday signed 30 boundary strip maps in Dhaka.

The historic Land Boundary Agreement between Bangladesh and India was signed by Banga-bandhu Shiekh Mujibur Rahman and Srimati Indira Gandhi in 1974.

Both the countries agreed that the Bangladeshi enclaves in India and Indian enclaves in Bang-ladesh will be exchanged in pursuant to the 1974 Agreement and 2011 Protocol shall stand transferred to the other with effect from 12:01am of August 1, 2015.

Under the Land Boundary Agreement, India will exchange 111 enclaves measuring 17,160 acres to Bangladesh and receive 51 enclaves covering 7,110 acres.

More than 51,000 people reside in these enclaves.

There are 111 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh – 12 in Kurigram, 59 in Lalmonirhat, four in Nilphamari and 36 in Panchagarh whereas all 51 Bangladeshi enclaves are located in Cooch Behar of India.

According to the Indo-Bangla joint survey report disclosed on July 21, 779 residents of 111 In-dian enclaves on Bangladesh side opted for going to India while no one of the residents of Bangladeshi enclaves on Indian side intended to come to Bangladesh.

As per the joint report, there are 14,500 residents in the 51 Bangladeshi enclaves on the Indian side, and 44,500 people in 111 Indian enclaves landlocked in Bangladesh.

The enclave residents of Kurigram, Panchagarh, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat celebrated the end to their captive life with many programmes.

Special munajats were offered at nine mosques in Dasiarchhara enclave after juma prayers while special prayers were arranged at six temples in the enclave.

A boat race was also arranged in the Nil Komol River flowing through the west side of the en-clave. Hundreds of people enjoyed the boat race from both banks of the river. Besides, a stick game was held at Kamalpur village.

A victory celebration started at Kalihat Bazar after midnight.

On June 6, Bangladesh and India signed and exchanged the historic instruments of ratification on Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) formalising the long-pending issue between the two countries.