Indian families Residing outside Border fence to be Rehabilitated in Assam

Border

A stretch of about 5km of the International border fence running between India and Bangladesh is being relocated in Assam’s Karimganj district that had previously put more than 700 people from nine villages in the ‘no man’s land’. 

More than 150 Indian families living outside the fence along the India-Bangladesh international border are set to be rehabilitated in Assam after the state asked them to report to the district deputy commissioner’s office.

It is to be mentioned that Karimganj shares a 93-km-long international border with Bangladesh and the area was fenced a few years back.

The families belonging to the nine border villages are reportedly Indians, but they need permission from the Border Security Force to enter India. These nine villages are Gobindapur, Latukandi, Jara Pata, Lafasail, Lamjuar, Mahisashan, Kournag, Deotali, and Jobainpur.

Karimganj district administration recently issued letters to each family residing in these villages, asking them to appear before the deputy commissioner’s office by June 30 with their documents. They also said the people can claim compensation if they appear within the stipulated time frame.

Senior Assam government official Dev Gyanendra Tripathi on Wednesday conducted a meeting regarding this matter with representatives of various sections. He said the matter will be solved within this financial year and the government has two plans.

“After the meeting, we realised that there are two options. We can make additional fencing and bring the villages inside, or we can ask these families to come inside the existing fencing. With the second option, we have to give them land to rehabilitate, which is easier for us,” he said.

Inspector General of BSF (Mizoram and Cachar Frontier) Mridul Kumar Sonowal in January said that they had sent a proposal to the central government to change the fencing line and bring these villages within Indian territory.

“We can relocate the original fencing or there can be additional fencing which can protect these villagers. There are security issues because thousands of Indians are living beyond the fencing. The border on Bangladesh’s side is open and this can lead to several criminal activities,” Sonowal said.

People living in these villages suffered scarcity of food and lack of proper medical facilities during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, but they were not allowed to enter inside India. BSF officials supplied them with medicines and some local NGOs provided them with food.

In October last year, when there were communal tensions in Bangladesh during Durga Puja, people from these villages attempted to take shelter in places inside the fencing. 

There are also reports that some youths from these villages were arrested by Bangladeshi police and one of them is still in the neighbouring country’s prison.

 

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