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Pranab denies Bangladeshi land grab
July 28, 2006 19:10 IST
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee Friday denied reports that Bangaladeshi nationals, backed by their armed forces, had forcibly occupied two sq km land in Assam, and termed them ''incorrect.''
Making a suo moto statement on the issue in the Lok Sabha, he said the reports, appearing in a section of the press, about Bangladeshi nationals, backed by their army, uprooting boundary pillars along the Indo-Bangladesh border in the Dhubri and Karimganj districts of Assam, and forcibly grabbing 500 acres (2.02 sq km) of Indian territory were ''incorrect.''
''The Border Security Force, deployed on the Indo-Banglaesh border, is on high alert and no fresh adverse possession or illegal occupation of Indian land has been reported on any section of international border,'' he said, adding that no Indian population or border outpost has been shifted away from the International Border.
However, he noted that three areas in Assam -- Boraibari in Dhubri district where 189.06 acres, Pallatal Tea garden in Karimganj district - 299.04 acres and Pramodnagar Tea garden in Karimganj district - 11.73 acres, totalling 499.83 acres were in adverse possession of Bangladesh.
The defence minister said no intrusion by Bangladesh Rifles or Bangladesh nationals has recently been reported from Mankachar in Dhubri district.
''The matter has been under discussion with Bangladesh. The Joint Boundary Working Group meeting was held on July 16 and 17 in Dhaka. The issue of adverse possession was also discussed in the meeting. It was decided that joint visits by the two sides to the territories under adverse possession would take place without prejudice to their respective positions,'' he said.
Mukerjee said both countries have adverse possession in certain pockets, but the exact details of such averse possession are yet to be reconciled between India and Bangladesh. Efforts to do so continue, he added.