Friday, September 16, 2011

India-Bangladesh land swap deal : A curse for Border Hindus.

UPA and Congress made this ‘Land Swap Deal’ for border enclaves as a ‘Curse for border Hindus’.

Upananda Brahmachari.

Though the last visit of Sri Monmohan Singh in Bangladesh has been impugned by so many matters and somehow disgraced by the Paschimbanga CM Miss. Mamta Banerjee over the Tista water issue, the managers in UPA and Congress are highlighting this visit of Indian PM in BD has its grand success with an advantage plus position in Land Swap deal of the boarder enclaves (chittmahals) and corridor problems. 

Practically this rubber-stamp Prime Minister has humiliated himself enough, by rendering his service more to an uneducated foreign lady only to seek her self-interest before her final settlement at Italy, than to the Nation as a whole. In each and every footstep this Govt. is being discredited for its light resolute and the hidden coterie very much active to malign the Nation. This is evident from Govt.’s stand and tendency for smashing the Anti-Corruption Move of the Civil Society or like this for the swap deal for the border enclaves that will give our border citizen more and more trouble with a severe persecution by the cross-border invaders very frequently. 

Shrouded in tight secrecy, the deal is suspected to have ceded 10,000 acres of land to Bangladesh in the name of peace with the neighbor. The Govt is beating its big drum publicly by saying that India is giving only 55 enclaves on the border to Bangladesh in return for 111 from it. Though the number of enclaves given away on platter is just half the gain, but their total area is much bigger and that is the potential loss of India, for which the Govt.’s reluctance and falsifying are quite condemnable. 

ABVP's Agitation against Land Swap Deal in Assam.
As a matter of fact this land swap deal tends to a greater loss for Indian aspect. And if it is not checked and we allow this Govt. to go with its irresponsible and locked head advisors ahead, India stands to lose just over 4,000 hectares of its territory, or about 40 square kilometers. India’s 111 enclaves of land within Bangladesh— measure nearly 70 square kilometers. Bangladesh has 51 enclaves of its own, comprising 28 square kilometers surrounded by India. The present land swap would simplify the messy boundary immeasurably—and entail something like a 10,000-acre net loss for India. 

Now after the deal has been signed by the two PMs of India and Bangladesh, the protests from the oppositions and others are quite irritable so that they were busy for some other business and could not find any time for such an important thing when the Nation is going to lose its land for ever. 

For India’s governing Congress party and its friends in UPA making this gift of land to Bangladesh—in all an area equivalent to the size of 2,000 test-cricket stadiums—will not come easy. During this time of ideological waffle, it is an issue which India’s opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) can use to flaunt its nationalistic credentials and to attack Congress at a weak spot—its perceived softness towards illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, most of them Muslims. By many estimates, more than 15m (1.5 crore) illegal migrants have entered India from Bangladesh since 1971. The BJP has been trotting out the round figure of 25m (2.5 crore) for years. 

Meanwhile, construction of a border fence, 2.5m high, on India’s 4,100km border with Bangladesh, the world’s fifth-longest (due to all its zinging and zagging), continues unabated. It is a bloody border, too. Indian soldiers enforce a shoot-to-kill order against Bangladeshi migrants caught making their mundane way from one side of the line to the other. 

Since the deal involves ceding of land to a foreign nation, it requires Parliament's approval with voting by the two-third MPs through a constitutional amendment. It is not for the first time that some land is ceded to Bangladesh. Back in September 1958, India had signed an agreement, ceding Berubari in West Bengal to then East Pakistan and the procedure adopted then will have to be followed this time too. 

The President had referred the matter to the Supreme Court for its opinion on how the agreement could be implemented. A Constitution bench of eight judges held that it requires Parliament's endorsement. It ruled that "the agreement amounts to cession of a part of the territory of India in favour of Pakistan and so its implementation would naturally involve the alteration of the content and the consequent amendment of Article 1 and of the relevant part of the first schedule of the Constitution, because such implementation would necessarily lead to the diminution of the territory of the Union of India. Such an amendment can be made under Article 368." 

Following the SC observation, Jawaharlal Nehru was compelled to draw the Constitution's ninth amendment passed to implement the India-Pakistan agreement. Manmohan Singh will have to follow the same route and if he fails to get the amendment passed, the agreement with Bangladesh can become invalid. 

The same procedure was followed in the acquisition of the Goa, Daman and Diu territories in 1962 through the 12th Constitution amendment and that of Sikkim in 1975 through the 36th Constitution amendment and will be required to merge into Indian Territory the enclaves conceded by Bangladesh and remove from its territory the land ceded to Bangladesh.
But the present situation of drum-beating of phony success of the Govt. or the appearance of BJP in the field too late stirred irritation and agitation in many a parts of Assam and West Bengal where the habitants of the border areas or the enclaves purely are adversely denying the Govt deal as felt very detrimental to their interest of peaceful living, enjoying sovereignty of a free state or the safety security of their lives now at a stake. 

The spokesman of the BJP, Chandan Mitra said that the BJP would continue to agitate against the recent land border agreement, as per which, a large portion of Assam’s land is sought to be handed over to Bangladesh. The party president has already formed a committee to visit the international border areas to assess the situation on the ground and the party would chalk out its action plan immediately after receiving the report. The committee is likely to visit the Indo-Bangla border areas and submit its report within this month. 

Mitra said that the BJP wanted to raise the issue during the recently concluded monsoon session of Parliament and also submitted a formal notice in this regard. But unfortunately, the Parliament did not function properly on the last two days of the session and the issue could not be raised, he added. However, he said that the BJP would definitely raise the issue strongly in the winter session of Parliament. 

Now, the agitations are in full swing in Assam conducted by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parisad (ABVP), the right wing student force of RSS and the All Assam Student Union (AASU) against the land deal made by the Central Government with Bangladesh. 

24X7 surveillance some time faces failure
for the soft state policies.  
"We cannot tolerate and accept to hand over Assam land to Bangladesh. So from here, from Jorhat, we like pass this strong message to the Prime Minister of the country and the chief minister of the state, no Assam land to Bangladesh," said Samujjal Bhattacharya, the advisor of All Assam Student Union. 

"And Prime Minister and Chief Minister are betrayers. We are rejecting their move and we cannot accept to hand over Assam land to Bangladesh," he added. Bhattacarya confirmed that the agreement would part with over 600 acres of land of Indian state, presently in Dhubri and Hailakandi regions of Assam to Bangladesh. 

But the CM of Assam has a quite different opinion. "I am very happy with the land swap agreement. In fact, the deal now officially gives Assam possession of over 1,240 acre of disputed land. On the other hand, Bangladesh gets 375.5 acre," Gogoi said in New Delhi on Friday. "Boraiabari village existed as Assam's territory only on the map. In reality, this area was never in our possession, even before Bangladesh's creation. There's not a single Indian citizen in this village," he added. 

But the agitations of the local people have confirmed their personal loss and a Nehruvian mentality as exemplified in the Tibet case of accession by China. 

A strong movement to protest against the deal of the Indian land to Bangladesh has launched by the ABVP, Assam unit to oppose the decision of the Govt. Of India and they will marched to every disputed land under the land swap deal as notified by the largest students’ organization in India as claimed. 

Around one thousand activists of Akhil Bharitiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) of different units of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi district assembled on 9th Sept. at Kukithal village of Patharkandi circle, Karimganj to condemn land deal with Bangladesh and hoisted Tricolour near Lathitila-Domabaroi, a bordering village and the actual site of dispute. 

ABVP has plan to launch big agitation in all border districts.
On reaching the Kukithal BPO of BSF, the security man detained the activists but allowed a four member student delegates to go to the no-man’s land and hoists the National Flag (the Tricolour) near the disputed land. 

Addressing a gathering there, ABVP’s northeast organizing secretary Manoj Nikra criticized Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief minister Tarun Gogoi for giving nod to the agreement without consulting the owners of the land in question and avoiding a discussion in parliament. 

According to Apangshu Shekher Seal, organizing secretary of ABVP of the valley region, the benefits of Assam as stated by Tarun Gogoi for the controversial and unaccepted deal is “remaining vague and undefined”. He wanted to know how the endemic influx of Bangladeshis would come to end. Did the agreement get any assurance from Bangladesh prime Minister that the detected and deported people of their country after push-back are taken back? It was not clear at all, as he said. What would be the quantum of the land to be returned by Bangladesh as India does not have any land of that country in its adverse possession. 

Questions after questions whirled the anxiety of the border Hindus facing day to day problems including robbery, giving live taxes, trades and cultural and religious festivals. The cross border fundamentalism and the surrounding adversities always put them in a heavy taxation of life not secured by their Hindu and Indian safe guards. This land swap deal is treated by them as a curse of destiny. Now, it is nothing but a ‘Curse for border Hindus’. 

Indian Govt. must publish a white paper on land swap deal with Bangladesh without keeping any secrecy of it.
Courtesy : The Economist, Governance Now, DNA, IBNS, Assam Tribune & Sambuddha Gupta.

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