Only 979 want to leave for India
No dweller of the 51 enclaves in Indian territory wants to come to Bangladesh while just 979 residents of the 111 enclaves inside Bangladesh are willing to go to India, say officials.
Lalmonirhat Deputy Commissioner Habibur Rahman, who led a five-member Bangladesh delegation at a meeting with the Indian side yesterday, confirmed it to The Daily Star.
According to the 2011 census, 14,215 people live in the 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India while 37,369 people live in the 111 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh.
Officials of the two countries held yesterday's meeting on Changrabandha border in India's Cooch Behar district to finalise the nationality of enclave dwellers based on their choice of citizenship.
They exchanged data of the joint survey, conducted in the enclaves from July 6 to 16, as well as information on the enclave dwellers, land area and dwellers' choice of nationality, reports our Kolkata correspondent quoting Cooch Behar District Magistrate P Ulaganathan.
The officials, however, didn't disclose the latest figures of enclave dwellers.
The joint survey followed the signing of a protocol by the two countries last month to ratify the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA). It will bring an end to the long-standing unresolved issue of nationality of thousands of enclave residents.
Of the 979 enclave dwellers in Bangladesh, who want to live in India, two-thirds are Hindu and the rest Muslim, Habibur told The Daily Star after the four-and-a-half-hour meeting that ended around 7:30pm.
The enclave dwellers have to travel to India between August 1 and November 30 once the two countries begin exchanging the enclaves from July 31 midnight.
At yesterday's meeting, the two sides discussed several issues, including management of the enclave dwellers' properties. The two countries have imposed a ban on sale and purchase of land in the enclaves till July 31 midnight.
Chiranjib Ghosh, additional deputy commissioner of India's Cooch Behar, led the Indian delegation.
Meanwhile, sources in Dhaka said a high-level delegation of the Border Guard Bangladesh would discuss enclave-related issues with Indian Border Security Force top brass at the annual director general level-talks in New Delhi early next month.
The Bangladesh delegation to be led by BGB Director General Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed is due to leave Dhaka on August 2. The Indian side will be led by BSF DG Devendra Kumar Pathak.
According to the sources, the two sides would discuss several important issues, including safe passage of enclave dwellers, and exchange data of the joint survey, on the enclaves and the recent changes.
The role of the two border forces is very crucial as they would assist the administration in ensuring safe passage of enclave dwellers with their belongings and moveable property to the mainland of Bangladesh or India, said the sources.
Border-related issues, including killing of Bangladeshis by BSF on the border, frontier management, and activities of insurgents and smugglers would be discussed during the six-day talks.
The Bangladesh side is likely to take up the issue of trial of the killing of Bangladeshi girl Felani Khatun, who was shot dead by BSF personnel on the border in 2011.
A special court of the BSF recently gave its verdict, upholding its previous judgment that acquitted the accused BSF member of murder charge.