The authorities of Bangladesh and India are set to exchange enclaves at midnight tonight as part of the process of implementing the historic Land Boundary Agreement (LBR) of 1974.
Official sources said, with the execution of LBA signed by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Indira Gandi, all Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh will become land of Bangladesh while Bangladeshi enclaves inside India will be considered Indian land from midnight tonight (July 31).
Dwellers of 111 Indian enclaves inside Bangladeshi land, except who wished to be Indian citizens, will be provided Bangladeshi citizenship while dwellers of 51 Bangladeshi enclaves inside Indian land will be considered as Indian citizens. The movement of people would take place between November 1 and 30 and both the governments would ensure safe, orderly and secure passage for the movement to the mainland, foreign ministry officials said.
Our correspondents said extensive preparations have been taken in the enclaves marking their transfer to Bangladesh tonight. The residents of the enclaves, including children, women and elderly persons are in a festive mood as they are going to get their new identity as citizens of Bangladesh. Preparations are at the final stage for lighting candles, exchanging sweetmeats and holding rallies, cultural functions and sports on the occasion.
Bangladeshi national flag will be hoisted at newly included lands of 111 enclaves at dawn tomorrow. Separate stages have been made at Tanker Bazar, Kamalpur and Chhoto Makat for purpose. However, all functions remain suspended in 51 Bangladeshi enclaves inside India because of state mourning in that country over the death of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, reports our Lalmonirhat correspondent.
Officials said a land ministry gazette notification would be issued shortly marking out the newly integrated and excluded land in Bangladesh in the enclave area. Meanwhile, an Indian High Commission release here said the enclaves would stand physically transferred with effect from midnight tonight in accordance with steps agreed to between Bangladesh and India during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Dhaka visit in June this year.
“July 31, 2015 will thus be a historic day for both India and Bangladesh. The day marks the resolution of a complex issue that has lingered since independence,” the release said, adding that it also marks the day from which enclave residents on both sides of the border will enjoy the benefits of nationality of India or Bangladesh, as the case may be, and thus access to civic services, education, healthcare and other facilities provided by the two Governments to their respective nationals.
Other steps with regard to implementation of the 1974 LBA and 2011 Protocol are underway in accordance with agreed modalities between Government of India and Bangladesh, according to the release, agencies report.