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Captive citizens of no man’s land

India has a long stretch of international borders with Bangladesh surrounding throughout north, east and west. On the north eastern part, Indo-Bangla borders in Assam, barbed wire fencing work is continue for a longtime. Despite all efforts infiltration of foreign nationals from that country is continue. In between the two countries a vast area, called ‘No man’s land’ is lying where a large number of Indian families are living and there is nobody to look after their convenience and welfare.

They are Indians, but they are not independent like other Indians. According to official reports, beyond the wire fencing on the borders 448 families are land locked. Out of them 179 families are in the district of Cachar, 144 in Karimganj and 125 in Dhubri . Nobody has ever thought about their plight. Bordering Bangladesh 325 families of Cachar, Karimganj and Dhubri have 3093 members, who have no citizens rights. They ask whether it is not the responsibility of the government to look after their welfare?. Their citizenship is decided by the international border gates. In the morning when the gate is open they come out as Indian citizen, but as soon as the gate is closed in the evening, they become the resident of ‘No man’s land’. In the night they neither Indian nor Bangladeshi national. According to Assam Accord, wire fencing work on the international borders is continue In order to check infiltration of foreign nationals from the other side. This has created the problems for the resident of these ‘No man’s land’.

According to the rules at a distance of 150 feet from the international borders, fencing has to be constructed. By doing so as per system hundreds of villages in the districts of Karimganj and Dhubri have been pushed beyond the fencing. As the result those villagers have become the resident of the No man’s land’. Even the state government is not unaware of this fact. know it.

Assam Accord Implementation Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, in reply to a question of Ataur Rahman , Member of Katigora Assembly Constituency informed That 448 families were living beyond the wire fencing, but they are getting the facility of getting in touch with the ‘main land’. He informed that for communication with the main land in Cachar district border gate is opened in the morning from 6 to 7 am and 9 am to10 am and afternoon from 2 to 4 pm and in the evening 5 to 7pm. Similarly, the gates in the district of Karimganj is opened from 6 to and 9 to 10 in the morning and afternoon 2 to 4 and 5 to 7 in the evening.. In the district of Dhubri of course the gate remains open from morning to evening. In case of emergency the gate can be used during the night also with the help of Border Security Force jawans. He claimed the facility for students for going to and coming from school is also available. The minister informed that into the border districts daily use items and medical facility is also available.

However, the government has not taken any effort to rehabilitate the people of no man’s land. The people in Karimganj and Dhubri districts are passing terrible life at the other side of the barbed wire fencing. At the border of Cachar district 179 families rehabilitation in between the barbed wire fencing Katigarh revenue circle Jalalpur and Nutan pur mousers lad settlement scheme has been taken up. Under the Indira Awas yojana in

Cachar district Rs.32255 lakh has been sanctioned. In that Katigora development block and Kalain development bloc 45 houses have been constructed.

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Daya Nath Singh's picture

Journalist; Guwahati Press Club office Secretary

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