Bangladeshi enclaves still have nowhere people

As the clock struck 12: People of the Mashal Danga enclave celebrate with atricolor rangoli near the India-Bangladesh border in Cooch Behar district ofWest Bengal on Friday midnight.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Shaidul Sheikh sits in the food stall he set up for the celebrations on Friday, the eve of > exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh. But his joy is tinged with fear as he is among a handful of enclave residents whose names have not come up in the latest population estimation exercise.

Showing the badge given to each resident counted by the 2011 census, Mr. Sheikh says, “We have evidence to prove that our names figured on the census list.”

Members of at least 10 families in the Masaldanga enclave, which has planned grand celebrations, have their names left out. Mr. Sheikh will, however, join the festivities reaching its peak at midnight. Through the day, he has been busy selling wares in the stall right next to the celebration site.

“Many say we will have to go to Bangladesh after the exchange of enclaves. After so many years of struggle, we did not expect something like this to happen,” Javeda Bewa told The Hindu. Sukur Sheikh and Ersad Sheikh blame procedural lapses in the estimation exercise for being left out of the list.

In other enclaves too, some residents have been >protesting against the exclusion of their names from the list.

Kirity Roy, secretary of Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 21, saying 297 persons had been left out.

“The governments of India and Bangladesh have jointly carried out the headcount; there is no going back on it,” District Magistrate P. Ulganathan says.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 9:48:07 PM |

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