The Acting Chairman
National Human Rights Commission
Manav Adhikar Bhawan,
Block-C, GPO Complex, INA,
New Delhi – 110023
For the last 68 years since India’s independence, the erstwhile enclave dwellers were a people who existed in a state of limbo as residents of enclaves lying within India and Bangladesh. They had neither social identity nor political status and lived and died outside the purview of any law or constitution, unnoticed and uncared for. These residents had de jure rights—being Bangladeshi or Indian citizens on paper. The chimes midnight of July 31 this year ushered in a new phase in the existence of the enclave-dwellers. On August 1, as the Land Boundary Agreement (1974) and the subsequent Protocol (2011) between India and Bangladesh came into force, for the first time in their lives they thought that they would be given citizenship of the countries.
Amid the celebrations, there were some whose joy was tinged with apprehension because their names had not come up on the final list of the recently concluded joint headcount. There were apprehensions that those who were not counted in the joint headcount of 2015 will not receive any compensation or citizenship proof as per the Land Boundary Agreement, between India and Bangladesh.
These populations who are being included or excluded during the flawed headcount deserve to establish their authenticity for citizenship, but no such mechanism has been evolved. Further, a number of erstwhile Indian enclave dwellers inside Bangladeshi mainland fled from Bangladesh to Indian territory in search of safety for their lives, and somehow managed to settle inside Indian territory are being excluded from the process of headcount and by default denied to even apply for citizenship; here is a case.
Mr. Mantu Barman; son of Late Mahesh Chandra Barman; aged about 38 years lived with his two wives and two daughters at Banskatha 119 No. Enclave (Indian), inside Bangladesh; Rajbangshi, OBC. His two wives were Ms. Minubala Barman and Ms. Jayanti Barman; aged 28 and 27 years respectively. Mr. Barman possess nearly 9 bighas of land (about 3 acres) at Bangladeshi side at Indian enclave with proper land records. The family faced constant distress and threats during their stay at Indian enclave inside Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi miscreants used to loot their agrarian produce of paddy, jute and tobacco. None was there to protect them; neither Indian Government nor Bangladesh Government. The women of the family was constantly being harassed and their modesty were challenged, unnoticed and without remedy. Mr. Barman and his two wives along with their two daughters; Ms. Mallika Barman and Ms. Tumpa Barman were get included their names during the headcount conducted by both the countries in 2011. But this inclusion of names in headcount list further increased the subjugation upon the family and in these circumstances Mr. Mantu Barman decided to flee from Bangladesh. On 9th April 2015 / 25th Chaitra 1421 ( Bangla Calendar) at wee hours of night he entered India but in this course for few reasons his one wife; Ms. Minubala Barman and a daughter failed to enter India; resulting Ms. Minubala Barman and one of the daughter was included in the list prepared by joint headcount of 2015 and Mr. Mantu Barman and his one wife; Ms. Jayanti Barman with another daughter were excluded.
In this situation, Mr. Mantu Barman made a written application before the District Magistrate of Coochbehar on 05.10.2015, requesting for inclusion of his name in the list prepared during 2015 headcount and compensation for the land, he has left behind in Bangladesh.
In these circumstances, we sincerely appeal to your goodself for:
- All erstwhile enclave dwellers resides in India and Bangladesh sides must be provided with adequate opportunity to apply for their citizenship and a high level monitoring should be done with case by case approach.
- The persons forced to move the side due to coercion, threats and distress must be provided with citizenship according to their wish.
- Recently concluded 2015 headcount list must be checked as erstwhile enclave dwellers will get another chance to exercise their choice and it will be published immediately.
- No government clearly announced the rehabilitation package for enclave dwellers, so rehabilitation and compensation package must be published in public domain of both the countries.
- Details of the records and specifications of immovable property of erstwhile enclave dwellers will be posted in public domain so that they will sell their immovable property at proper market prices.
- Any type of coaxing of communal vengeance must be stopped at early stage.
Petition submitted to District Magistrate, Cooch Behar on 5th October 2015
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor)
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