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Bangladeshi enclaves in India get ready to celebrate

Mansur Ali Mian and Mansur Ali Khandakar busy for the preparation at Poatarkuthi (Enclave), which from midnight from July 31st, 2015 will become a part of India - Photo by Sanjoy Ghosh   | Photo Credit: Sanjoy Ghosh

More than 14,000 residents of 51 enclaves are eagerly waiting for August 1 when they can hoist a flag of a country they can call their own.

The residents of the Bangladeshi enclaves on the Indian side — who till now had no identity or citizenship — will become Indian nationals from the midnight of July 31.

“The district administration will organise flag hoisting ceremonies in all the 51 enclaves. The Tricolour will hoisted and quickly put on half-mast as the nation is mourning its former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam,” P. Ulagnathan, District Magistrate, Cooch Behar, told The-Hindu on Thursday.

For Mr. Ulagnathan, the past few months have been extremely hectic. The district administration raced against time to complete the formalities involved in the mammoth task of exchanging Indian and Bangladeshi enclaves.

While there are 111 Indian enclaves in four districts of Bangladesh with a population of over 34,000, there are 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal with a population of 14,854. The two countries finalised the exchange plan during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bangladesh visit in June this year.

Jubilation, high hopes

Practically every house in the enclaves is preparing for some celebration. Archways are being constructed, arrangements are being made to hoist the Tricolour and many will be lighting candles and lamps to herald their “new Independence.”

“It took us 68 years to finally come to this point. Words cannot describe how we feel,” said 75-year-old Mansur Ali Mian of Potarkuti enclave.

He recalled the time when he was a student of a primary school which he was forced to leave after Partition.

“The school authorities said I was now a foreigner and could not continue to be there any more,” he said.

No more fake identities

Many young boys and girls in enclave are happy that they will no longer have to fake identities to gain admission in schools.


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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 10:10:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bangladeshi-enclaves-in-india-get-ready-to-celebrate/article7482241.ece

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