Gobindapur border in Haripur upazila under the district saw an amazing picture on Friday as thousands of Bangla speaking people from both sides of the border got an opportunity to meet their relatives on the occasion of decades-old traditional Pathar Kali Mela.
Standing on both sides of the barbed wire fence between border pillars No 345 and 346 near Kochal and Chapshar areas, people of different districts of Bangladesh and India exchanged greetings and talked happily with their near and dear ones for hours from around 9:30am.
They were seen sharing various items like biscuits, chanachur, pens and clothes.
Seeing family members and relatives after a long time, many could not check their emotion.
Usually the day-long traditional fair is held on the bank of the Kulik river on the first Friday after Shyama Puja (also called Kali Puja) since the British era, said Nagen Kumer Pal, president of the fair organisation committee.
The arrangement was delayed this year due to standing paddy plants on vast tracts of land on both sides of the border, he said.
After the partition in 1947, meeting of relatives living in the two countries became very hard, especially for those who could not afford expenditure for the government approved procedures, said several people.
Biplab Mahanta, 45, of Sundardighi village in Debiganj upazila of Panchagarh, came to meet with his brother-in-law and other relatives living in Shiliguri of Darjeeling district in India's Pashchimbanga.
“Every year we come here to meet with our relatives as the event creates the opportunity in an easy way,” he said.
“I am happy to meet my daughter and grandchildren from Hemtabad village under Uttar Dinajpur district in India's Pashchimbanga although I could not take the kids on my lap due to the barbed fence,” said Rosho Bala, 48, of Tarbagan village in Haripur upazila.
An official of Border Guard Bangladesh, seeking anonymity, said, “On this occasion every year, we unofficially allow people living in the bordering districts to meet their relatives near the barbed wire fence, honouring their emotional bond with relatives. We make the arrangement with the consent of Indian Border Security Force officials.”
Like other years, people have gathered here peacefully to avail the opportunity to meet their near and dear ones, he said.