Published On: Fri, Jul 31st, 2015

India-Bangladesh land swap: Hundreds to get citizenship in historic exchange

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August 1 will be like Independence day for the thousands of people living adjacent on the India-Bangladesh Border when they get to choose the country of their choice of which they want to become a citizen.

Ending more than four decades of wait, India and Bangladesh will start the exchange of 162 adversely-held enclaves from Friday, marking the start of implementation of their landmark land boundary agreement (LBA). While those in 51 Bangladeshi enclaves on the Indian side have all chosen to stay put, 979 people in Indian enclaves in Bangladesh will cross over. Of these, 163 are Muslim. For Mondal and most of the other Muslims becoming Indian, the reasons are mostly economic but personal belief and safety are also involved. India offers better prospects and an escape from political violence. While India will hand over 51 enclaves, comprising 7,110 acres to Bangladesh, the neighbouring country will give India 111 enclaves comprising around 17,160 acres.

Bangladesh and India will implement the LBA of 1974 and the enabling Protocol of September, 2011, in a phased manner over the next 11 months.India and Bangladesh have already completed an exercise in July to ascertain the views of the residents in the enclaves whether they would like to take Indian or Bangladeshi citizenship. An estimated 600 people want to migrate to India.
The Centre has already sanctioned a Rs 3,048 crore package for rehabilitation of the people affected by the exchange of enclaves under the LBA implementation.

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