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Thursday, August 6, 2015, Shraban 22, 1422 BS, Shawal 20, 1436 Hijr

Claim Of Forcing Indian Citizens To Stay Back
BD envoy scoffs off NHRC allegation
Saleem Samad
Published :Thursday, 6 August, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 322

India's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has ordered an inquiry into the allegation that the residents of erstwhile Indian enclaves in Bangladesh have been "forced" to stay back in the country.
Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner Zokey Ahad in Kolkata scoffed off the allegation while talking to the Indian Express.
"I have no idea of any such thing happening and there is no point (in it). Why would Bangladesh want to take the burden of 40,000 people?" he said.
The 162 enclaves (in adversely held territories in India and Bangladesh) were handed over to each other in accordance with the historic Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) signed between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1974.
But the LBA came into effect in June this year after the Indian parliament ratified it, 41 years after the Bangladesh legislature had approved it.
The diplomat (Ahad) who visited Madhya Mashaldanga, in India's West Bengal, a day before the enclave dwellers had a night-long celebration to mark the landmark event, said that Bangladesh would rather want them (Indian enclave residents) to return to India.
He told Indian Express, that there have been talks about citizens of Indian enclaves being forced to stay back and the Indian NHRC has ordered an inquiry into it.
But citizenships of the enclaves' residents have been decided as per their choice, given during a joint survey of the Indian and Bangladesh officials, Dhaka says.
Ahad told the Indian newspaper that the process of shifting residents to and from the enclaves has started and will be completed by the end the deadline or after the monsoon.
"There are different time frames for the process. They will definitely come by the deadline," he assured.
There are many other issues including sharing of the River Teesta water that, he said, need to be resolved.
The Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner in Kolkata was positive about improved connectivity between the neighbouring countries.
He said only recently, bus services between Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala had started. Infrastructure is being developed for improved road connectivity among Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India. These are positive steps which promise to benefit the entire region, he observed.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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