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Assam:Bangladesh officials visit border amid protests

June 24, 2013 19:27 IST

The visit of a high-level delegation of revenue officials from Bangladesh to India-Bangladesh border areas in Dhubri sector in western Assam has triggered sharp protests by political and non-political groups in Assam.

The protestors are alleging that the visit was a prelude to hand over of Assam’s land to Bangladesh as per the land-swap pact signed by both the countries during the Dhaka visit of the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on September 6 last year.

Opposition regional Asom Gana Parishad, the All Assam Students Union, the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad and the state unit of Bharatiya Janata Party have registered strong opposition to the land-swap agreement.

The AGP has sent a memorandum to the President Pranab Mukherjee seeking his intervention to stop any transfer of Assam’s land to Bangladesh as per the India-Bangladesh land swap agreement signed last year.

The AGP decried the on-going inspection of the Indo-Bangla border at Mankachar area in Dhubri district of Assam by a team of Bangladesh officials while its members held protest  demonstration in front of the government guest house at Hatsingrimari where Bangladesh officials were present and burnt effigies of the prime minister and Assam Chief  Minister Tarun Gogoi.

The AGP stated, “ The party is strongly opposed to Assam government’s decision to allow a  team of revenue officials from Bangladesh to inspect the international border in Dhubri district defying protests that is rife in Assam against Government of India’s intention to hand over Assam’s land to Bangladesh as per the land swap deal between the two countries.”

The regional party also pointed out that attempt by the Central government to table a Constitutional Amendment Bill to execute the land swap agreement was foiled in the Parliament.

An official source, however, maintained that it was just a routine visit by the team of revenue officials from Bangladesh and should not be linked to the border land swap pact signed by the two countries.

Assam chief minister maintains that opposition to the land swap deal was baseless given that the land-pact would provide Assam with 1240 acres of disputed border land while Bangladesh would get only 357.4 acres. 

According to Gogoi, Bangladesh will get 193 acres of adversely possessed land at Boraibari in Mankachar sector of Dhubri district in West Assam and 74.5 acres land out of total 455 acres in Pallathal Tea Estate in Karimganj district in South Assam.

“In case of 714 acres undemarcated area in Latitila-Dumabari in Karimganj district, dispute has been resolved regarding over 3 kilometer stretch of unfenced border and now Bangladesh will get only 90 acres of the area.

The government has rejected Bangladesh’s claim over 145 acres of adversely possessed land at Naygaon in Karimganj district and they have agreed to it,” Gogoi said. 

K Anurag in Guwahati