At midnight, India and Bangladesh began the process of exchanging 162 adversely-held enclaves to implement the historic Land Boundary Agreement, spurring the enclave residents to celebrate the end of a 68-year deadlock.
Bangladesh too welcomed the exchange with hoisting its flag, holding prayers in areas of worship and lighting 68 candles to commemorate the years of struggle for an identity.
While 51 enclaves have been handed over to Bangladesh, India had 111, comprising an area of around 17,160 acres.
The LBA will be implemented over a period of 11 months to facilitate "orderly, safe and secure passage" to dwellers and their personal belongings, movable property to either of the two nations, with sufficient "travel documents", according to the agreement.
Shufola Barman and Nimai Barman with their five-year-old Shimanto, residents of Dalaha-Khagrabari in the Bangladeshi district of Panchagarh, pose for a photograph in their home. Bangladesh and India finally swapped tiny islands of land, ending the border dispute that has kept thousands of people in stateless limbo for almost 68 years. (AFP Photo)
A villager walks through fields of Dalaha-Khagrabari in the Bangladeshi district of Panchagarh. The tiny pockets of land that exist as enclaves in India, Bangladesh territories will merge into the respective countries, after the landmark LBA signed and ratified earlier this year. (AFP Photo)
A woman in Madhya Mashaldanga Enclave (Chitmahal), Coochbehar are excited and full of hope. The mood in enclaves was mostly of celebration. Localities decked up to welcome the guests for the official ceremony at the locality. (Subhendu Ghosh/HT Photo)
Twenty-eight-year old Mohammad Moinul signs papers cancelling his application to migrate to India in Debiganj in the Bangladeshi district of Panchagarh. There are 14,856 people living in 51 Bangladeshi enclaves inside Indian territory and all of whom will get a homeland. None of them opted for the citizenship of Bangladesh. On the other side, 979 of the 37,369 living in 111 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh have applied for Indian citizenship so far. (AFP Photo)
Children wave the Indian flag to celebrate the exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh. The exchange of 162 enclaves began on July 31, 2015, marking the start of implementation of the landmark land boundary agreement. (Subhendu Ghosh/ HT Photo)
Fulashhori Barman, 80, a resident of Dalaha-Khagrabari in the Bangladeshi district of Panchagarh, poses for a portrait in front of her home. There is also some uneasiness about prospective new neighbours; many fear that criminals from Bangladesh might sneak into India, taking advantage of the enclave and population exchange. (AFP Photo)
Women lighting candles at the Madhya Mashaldanga enclave, Cooch Behar. In Bangladesh, residents lit 68 candles to mark the years of their struggle for a definite homeland. (Subhendu Ghosh/ HT Photo)