Around 50,000 people residing in 111 adversely located enclaves of Bangladesh went on a jubilant celebration on Saturday as Bangladesh and its neighbouring country India exchanged the historic instruments of ratification on Land Boundary Agreement (LBA).
Their joy knew no bounds as the exchange of the enclaves would enable the inhabitants to taste the real freedom with basic citizen rights, including education, health and right to franchise.
Under the agreement, India will exchange 111 enclaves measuring 17,160 acres to Bangladesh and receive 51 enclaves covering 7,110 acres. More than 51,000 people reside in these enclaves.
There are 111 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh - 12 in Kurigram, 59 in Lalmonirhat, four in Nilphamari and 36 in Panchagarh, whereas all 51 Bangladeshi enclaves are located in Cooch Behar of India.
Visiting the enclave areas in Kurigram, Panchagarh, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat, it was found that the enclave residents took to the streets and bought out processions to express their joy and relief.
Hoping for an end to their captive life of 68 years with the implementation of the land deal, the delighted enclave residents hoisted the national flag of Bangladesh, hugged each other and distributed sweets among each other.
On Saturday morning, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and Indian External Affairs Ministry Secretary Dr S Jaishankar exchanged the document of LBA on behalf of their respective countries in presence of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Earlier in the morning, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Dhaka on his two-day maiden visit to Bangladesh aiming to take the two neighbouring countries' special relationship to a newer height.