With uncertainty looming over the transfer of enclaves between India and Bangladesh, its residents have decided to take the legal route and approach the courts over violation of the fundamental rights of the inhabitants.
“The fundamental rights of the people in the enclaves have been violated for the past six decades and with no solution in sight we are forced to approach the courts,” Ahasan Habib, lawyer and chief legal adviser of Bharat Bangladesh Enclave Exchange Co-ordination Committee ( BBEECC) told The Hindu over telephone from Cooch Behar district on Saturday.
The BBEECC, an organisation comprising over 70 percent residents of the enclaves has been promoting the cause of the people over the past two decades.
“There are 111 Indian enclaves inside the territory of Bangladesh and the people in these pockets are being denied their fundamental right to move freely in the territory of India, a right guaranteed under Article 19(d) of the Constitution,” Mr. Habib said.
Referring to the arrests of the Indian enclave dwellers when they cross over to their motherland, he pointed out that their fundamental right under Article 21, ensuring life and personal liberty of an individual is also being violated.
The pitch to provide the long denied rights to the inhabitants of enclaves is being raised afresh by the residents at a time when the Trinamool Congress and then Asom Gana Parishad scuttled the move by the Centre to transfer the enclaves between the two countries.
The parties did not allow the Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 to be tabled in Parliament on August 19.
While 51 enclaves of Bangladesh are located in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district, 111 Indian enclaves are located in four districts of Bangladesh. About 51,000 people reside in these enclaves where none of the governments provide any services to the people.
Diptiman Sengupta, the coordinator of BBEECC said that there has been no assurance from either the State government or the Centre to examine the issue of enclave dwellers sympathetically despite several requests.
Mr. Sengupta said that some interim arrangements between the two countries with an aim to provide respite to the people in the enclaves needs to be worked out urgently.