The anguish of enclave dwellers | The Daily Star
04:07 PM, July 31, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:18 PM, July 31, 2017

The anguish of enclave dwellers

After the long 45 years of independence, enclave exchange between the Bangladesh and India has been done in 2015. So far the government of Bangladesh has made many laudable initiatives for the development of the enclaves but actual implementation in practice still lags behind the promise. It is true, in a span of last two years; some infrastructural development has been taken, including electrification in some enclave area, still many more initiatives are necessary to be taken by both the governments immediately for the betterment of the previous enclave people.  

Earlier, many students got registered in the school with parents’ fake name and address. Many of them have already completed their education or completed one or more educational level with those fake name and address. As the enclaves are now exchanged, it is the responsibility of the respective governments to give these people an opportunity to rectify these mistakes. Otherwise these unfortunate people will have to bear the brunt of this throughout their life. The people living in enclaves had no citizenship status of either country; hence they don’t have any national ID card but many of them managed ID cards with wrong permanent address indicating in the main land. The governments of both the countries should provide national ID cards and those who already have it, their permanent addresses should be corrected. In addition, they or their children do not have any birth registration certificates.

It is a matter of great regret that their entire struggle to get educated goes in vain when they do not get any job opportunity according to the stature of their education. Study shows, many educated enclave youths failed to manage a worthy job. They also lack the privilege of receiving bank loans to run a business, as they do not have valid documents for it.  It is the duty of their governments to take special measures to remove all these barriers providing them with equal employment opportunity.

There was a common practice of buying and selling lands in both Bangladeshi and Indian enclaves without proper registration process. As the enclave people were not allowed to go to the mainland for registration process, they did it on white papers. Now it may create disputes among the buyer and seller as the land buying or selling process did not take place through a legal procedure. Even there is a possibility of taking possession of the land illegally by land grabbers. The governments should take specific initiatives to resolve this problem.  

Marriage registration is mandatory under both Bangladeshi and Indian laws. But the enclave people used to get married without any registration. Both the governments should give them the opportunity to register their marriage.

In the budget of the fiscal year 2015-16, Bangladesh government allocated Tk. 200 crore for the development of the enclave areas where 38 thousand people resides. On the other hand, India declared Rs. 3 thousand crore for only 14 thousand people. It is apparent that allocation of budget is not satisfactory in Bangladesh.

Most of the promises relating to the enclave areas are still hollow words and overall their development growth is very sluggish. In this backdrop, both the governments are responsible to remove the plight of enclave dwellers. 

The writer is a human rights activist.

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