BSF Personnel Stopped Us But Allowed Meeting With Enclave Dwellers In Coochbehar: Aparna Sen

Kolkata , PTI | Updated : 20 October 2019, 08:07 PM
Film-maker Aparna Sen
Film-maker Aparna Sen (Photo Credit : PTI file )

Eminent film-maker Aparna Sen on Sunday said the BSF personnel were very cooperative to her and members of an NGO, though the border guards stopped them from entering an enclave in Coochbehar district on Saturday. The NGO that arranged the visit to Korola village enclave near Dinhata town had written to the BSF authorities about the visit, but received no reply, Sen told PTI.

However, the film-maker said they faced no problem as the BSF personnel guarding the area allowed the inmates to meet them.

"We have nothing against the BSF.... The BSF guards were very cooperative and allowed the inmates to meet us outside and we learnt enough about their living conditions to know that the matter should be looked into immediately," she told PTI.

A senior BSF officer said one requires valid papers to visit a border enclave.

"To go to the border enclave one has to have valid papers like written permission from the district authorities, border area landownership deed or Kisan card," BSF Guwahati frontier DIG JK Rudola said in a statement from the capital of Assam

Coochbehar falls under BSF's Guwahati frontier.

On Saturday, three people including Sen and women's rights activist Bolan Gangopadhyay on behalf of the NGO, 'Citizen Speak India', had intended to visit 50 people belonging to 11 families living in the enclave at Korola village at Dinhata.

Mudar Patherya, a columnist, had also accompanied Sen and Gangopadhyay.

Gangopadhyay had on Saturday said they were not allowed to enter the enclave, known as 'chhit mahal' when its gates were open between 11 am and 12 noon despite having informed the BSF director general in advance of their visit.

In a tweet on Saturday night, the film-maker said, "CitizenspeakIndia is not affiliated to any political party whatsoever. We simply believe that instead of leaving everything to politicians, we as civilians, must be involved

in the plight of our co-citizens."

"Problem is, our society has become so politically polarised, that no one believes anymore that anyone can be concerned about their fellow citizens for purely humanitarian reasons without having any political axe to grind," she said in another tweet.

India and Bangladesh exchanged 162 adversely-held enclaves on July 31, 2015 marking the resolution of a complex issue that had lingered since Independence.

The 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India were exchanged pursuant to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and 2011 Protocol and instruments of ratification.

With the exchange the enclave residents on both sides of the border became entitled to enjoy the benefits of nationality of India or Bangladesh, as the case may be, and thus access to civic services, education, health-care and other facilities provided by the two governments to their respective nationals. 

First Published: Sunday, October 20, 2019 07:58 PM
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