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Five decades after partition, a village remains undivided
Udaygobinda Burman Roy | September 10, 2005 16:31 IST
Five decades after the partition, a remote village through which the Indo-Bangla border runs remains undivided - at least emotionally.
There are concrete pillars at village Sardarpara, 17 km from Siliguri, to demarcate Indian and Bangladesh territories.
The well in the village sits squarely on the borderline. It is used by residents, both Indians and Bangladeshis, to draw water.
The village falls partly under Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal and Tentulia police station area in Bangladesh.
Describing the Muslim inhabitated village as 'an island of peace,' 75-year-old Mehrul Alam, a farmer told this correspondent, "We are yet to accept the political division of Bengal in our hearts even after five decades."
According to Alam, the 55 families of the village did not allow a few concrete pillars to divide them. Instead, they helped each other survive.
He also said the village was free from crime and dispute.
A student of Pachagarh college of Bangladesh, Muhammad Plaban, a resident of the village, said, "We do not allow criminal activities in the village. The Border Security Force and the Bangladesh Rifles hardly ever visit Sardarpara as they have nothing to do here."
A woman, who came forward, queried angrily, "Why you have come here? We don't allow outsiders in the village as they want to divide and disturb us.
"How can you divide the village well which exists from 1940? Can you post an armed guard in it?" she said before flouncing off.
Asked about relations between residents and security forces of both the countries, Muhammad Alam said, "We have no grievance. They do their job. They do not bother us."
"We don't allow criminals to settle in Sardarpara. You can confirm this from the BSF and BDR. They are happy with us," Alam said.
A Bangladesh resident of the village Rahim Chacha said they were dependent on India for salt, sugar and clothes which cost several times higher in Bangladesh.
The Bangladeshis at Sardarpara also sought treatment at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital as the nearest primary health centre in Bangladesh was at least 15 km away.
Indians, on the other hand, went to Paglirhat in Bangladesh for dairy products, villagers said.
When this correspondent expressed a wish to take a few steps inside the Bangladesh part of the village, Alam said, "Sorry, we can't allow that as it will violate the border norms. We guard the border in the absence of security forces."