Although the Cooch Behar district administration is preparing to hold a meeting with Bangladeshi officials tentatively on 25 June to discuss preparations to execute the enclave exchange agreement, officials in the district are in a tight spot when it comes to handling some sensitive issues about the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA).
Welcoming the government&’s initiative to execute the LBA 1974, political parties and some organisations associated with enclave dwellers in both India and Bangladesh have taken up several agendas for the coming days.
While a group is preparing to celebrate the fresh agreement signed on 6 June between Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina in the presence of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, other groups including the Forward Bloc (FB) have planned to stage an agitation over the issue of Tin Bigha Corridor in Cooch Behar on 26 June.
Notably, the Tin Bigha Corridor was officially handed over to Bangladesh on 26 June 1992, and two agitators were killed in police firing during the agitation there on that day.
FB leaders and other organisations will observe a ‘Martyrs’ Day’ near Tin Bigha on 26 June in memory of the two killed persons.
Some organisations, including the Kuchlibari Sangram Samiti, as well as the BJP have decided to renew their agitation, demanding two plots of Bangladeshi land of Angarpota and Dahagram connecting the Tin Bigha Corridor. They are demanding abolition of the concept of a corridor to save another area named Kuchlibari in Cooch Behar.
Meanwhile, another group called the Greater Cooch Behar People&’s Association served a memorandum to the administration recently, saying that they would not allow rehabilitation of all the Indian enclave dwellers who will be coming to India in Cooch Behar district.
The GPCA argued that the government should rehabilitate the people, who will be coming from Indian enclaves in the Bangladesh part, outside of Cooch Behar proportionately. “The objective of our demand is to reduce the rate of population explosion in Cooch Behar district. Excessive population will create problems of livelihood of the common people,” GPCA president Banshi Badan Barman said.
“We are exploring to hold talks with our Bangladesh counterparts tentatively on 25 June on the matter,” said Cooch Behar district magistrate P Ulaganathan. Commenting on the programmes of the several organisations, Ulaganathan said, “I have discussed the matter with the superintendent of police. The administration will not compromise with any force to maintain law and order.”
Notably, administrative officials are also keeping a watch on the activities of some organisations to avoid any untoward incident.