Saturday, 1 August 2015

Enclave exchange effected from midnight

Cooch Behar, 31 July/ 1 August (PTI) : The much awaited exchange of enclaves (Chhitmahals) of India and Bangladesh came into effect from this midnight. Though, no official ceremony was held but an organisation named Bharat Bangladesh Enclave Exchange Co-ordination Committee (BBEECC) organised a ceremony at Madhya Masaldanga enclave adjacent to Dinhata sub-division of Cooch Behar at night.

At 12-01 AM the enthusiastic dwellers hoisted Indian National Flag. Flying of colourful balloons and sound of fireworks marked the moment. From that moment the existence of Chhitmahals turned vanished as 111 Indian enclaves and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves have been exchanged between the two neighbouring countries. The enclaves are now part of mainland of the concerned countries.

To mark the occasion of exchange, the BBEECC organised a festive ceremony at Madhya Masaldanga enclave, which was an enclave of Bangladesh encircled by Indian Territory a few moments ago. The dwellers are observing almost Independence Day because from now on they are legal citizens of a country they want to live in.

Sub-divisional Officer of Dinhata Mr Krisnabha Ghosh, ex-SDO of Dinhata Mr Augastin Lepcha, Natabari MLA Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh (President of Cooch Behar District Trinamul Congress) and Dinhata MLA Mr Udayan Guha (Secretary of Cooch Behar District Forward Bloc) were among the guests who delivered speeches on the occasion. Eminent writer Mr Amar Dey, advocate of Bangladesh Supreme Court Mr Abraham Lincoln and Mojaffar Hossain (brother of BD ex-President Abu Ershad) were also present.

The stage and approach roads were beatified with colorful flags, balloons and flowers. All are found in a festive mood.  Cultural function was staged and a documentary film was also shown. A number of enclave-residents spoke on the occasion. They described the painful days and bitter experiences of their life as enclave dwellers. Tears rolled down the cheeks of a few elder residents.

During his speech Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh claimed that the exchange of Chhitmahals was possible due to positive role of the Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee only. Mr Udayan Guha however said that he don't want to make any controversial comment at this historic moment.

The observance began at about 8 PM on Friday night and it will go on till Saturday.