India-Bangladesh enclave swap: Land losers cry foul, seek compensation
People like Arshad Hussain and Aloke Mitra represent those who claim that the Bangladesh and Indian governments have illegally transferred land which belonged to their families.kolkata Updated: Aug 26, 2015 10:44 IST
The July 31 exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh which freed people locked in foreign land after 68 years has also left behind many issues that need to be addressed before the bilateral problem is settled once and for all.
One of the pertinent issues relates to the ownership of land in the erstwhile 161 enclaves which now have become a part of either India or Bangladesh.
People like Arshad Hussain and Aloke Mitra represent those who claim that the Bangladesh and Indian governments have illegally transferred land which belonged to their families.
Hussain, a resident of Rangpur district in Bangladesh and who runs a medicine business in Bangladesh, said that his family owned 100 bigas of land at Dakshin Mashaldanga, the former Bangladesh enclave surrounded by India.
Hussain’s grandfather Alauddin Sarkar bought the land before India’s independence and since then the ownership remains with the family.
On the midnight of July 31, Dakshin Masaldanga was also transferred along with 50 other Bangladeshi enclaves and became an integral part of India.
But in the meantime, the Hussain’s family lost the land. Talking to HT, Hussain said, “The Bangladesh government did not take the consent of my family before transferring the land to India. My family owned the land and transferring the land to India without our consent is illegal. We are not opposed to the transfer of enclaves, but want compensation,” said Hussain.
Similarly, the family of Aloke Mitra, a resident of Mekhliganj in Cooch Behar district, owns huge plots of land in the erstwhile Indian enclave surrounded by Bangladesh.
Sources said that the Mitra family owned 450 bighas in former Indian enclaves Garati and Dighaltori in Panchagarh and Kurigram districts of Bangladesh respectively. These two erstwhile enclaves were among the 111 on the Indian side transferred by India to Bangladesh.
Talking to HT, Mitra said, “The government is not entitled to give the land to anyone without notifying us. The Indian constitution does not say so. The land belonged to my father and we need compensation.”
Such families are contemplating moving their respective Supreme courts to seek compensation.