India & Bangladesh governments are interested only about land, not their people
The Honourable President of India
Republic of India
New Delhi – 4
I want to draw your kind attention on the situation of overall uncertainty at enclaves and ambiguous, vague and obscure approach of Indian government towards the resettlement of the populace. Here I want to bring an archetypal incident before your notice. Though the populace of various enclaves at India and Bangladesh was optimistic about their future after the passing of 119 Constitutional Amendment Bill in Rajya Sabha and signing of protocol between the Bangladeshi and Indian prime ministers at Dhaka- Bangladesh, but uncertainty and insecurity also looming large at the said area. As we already voiced our concerns that this act in haste by the governments and their attitude to exclude the populace from decision making would open up a Pandora’s Box of distress and conflict; now became a reality. The whole process to resolve a long standing issue of citizenry rights for enclave dwellers was culminated while not a single dweller was consulted or their opinion has been taken into consideration. Now, after the signing of protocol thousands living in a foreign land and an intention to migrate to a country of their choice or in another situation, willing to stay back at their native; which has received new geo political identity of separate country facing equal uncertainty and would be victims of apparent loss of lands and assets or ill effects of unsolicited entry to a land; where their resettlement till date has not planned effectively.
Karkeyabari was a Bangladeshi enclave inside Coochbehar district of West Bengal; India. Eighteen families with an area of 90bighas (30 acres) of land are living at the said enclave for last 40-45 years. Few Indian citizens; not enclave dwellers also possessed lands within the said 30 acres of land. The families of enclave dwellers possess in an average of .7- 1 acre of land and totally dependent over this land. As the governments of India and Bangladesh and their respective line departments never monitored/ assessed the land; the dwellers not holding any valid land documents. In this circumstance; on 03.06.2015; Sub Divisional Officer of Mathabhanga Sub Division, Block Development Officer of Mathbhanga Block, Block Land and Land Revenue Officer of Mathabhanga and Sabhapati (elected chairman) of Karkeyabari Panchayet Samity (local self government) came to Karkeyabari enclave and during their brief visit, informed the enclave dwellers that 40 families from Indian enclaves at Bangladesh territory; who are willing to stay at Indian territory would be resettled at the above mentioned land. This information creates ripples among the worried Karkeyabari residents. On 11.06.2015, the nervous residents submitted a signed memoranda to the District Magistrate of Coochbehar; West Bengal, demanding for citizenry rights for enclave dwellers, to protect land and other interests of the dwellers, job opportunity for youths of the enclaves inside Indian territory, irrigation, electricity, road and healthcare facilities for dwellers, initiative to ascertain the ownership of land and distribution of relevant land documents to actual owners, not to distribute the land to any outsiders and adequate packages for underdeveloped enclaves.
This news of conflict and anxiety from various enclaves is only corroborating our apprehension and concern which we stated above
In this context, we reiterate our position that this initiative of bilateral political discourse was lacking the actual democratic element of people’s participation; further the long pending initiative is devoid with adequate planning for resettlement and compensation. I request your good office to take immediate and appropriate action over these issues of human concern and demand for:-
- An enclave level census must be initiated immediately
- The governments must publish an enclave level list of affected population
- Details of rehabilitation and compensation must be published in public domain
- All enclave dwellers must be provided with an identity document
- Communal harmony must be protected in future
- The inadequacies, deficiencies, contradictions and unconstitutionalities of the land transfer issue must be brought before the Supreme Court of India