Rights body to move SC over denial of ‘basic rights’ to enclave dwellers

Kolkata, (IANS) Claiming irregularities in the enumeration of enclave dwellers and that many of those accorded Indian citizenship were being denied basic rights and amenities, a rights group has decided to move the Supreme Court over the issue.

Along with MASUM (Manabadhikaar Suraksha Mancha) – a rights organisation, activists have claimed that contrary to the official figure of 51,000, the actual population in the recently exchanged 162 Indian and Bangladeshi enclaves is far more.

“According to our findings, over 30 residents who have been accorded Indian citizenship continue to be deprived. They are being denied basic facilities. Their right to life, livelihood, and identity is at stake,” MASUM secretary Kirity Roy said here on Thursday.

In pursuance of the Land Boundary Agreement, India on August 1 gave away 111 enclaves located in Bangladesh and in return received 51 enclaves located in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal.

Author and activist Arindam Sengupta claimed that the actual population of the enclaves was double the official figure and alleged that many of the dwellers willing to come to India were not being allowed to do so by Bangladeshi authorities.

“While the joint estimation exercise carried out by the two countries put the figures to about 51,000 (14,000 in India and 37,000 in Bangladesh) the figure should be anywhere above one lakh,” he claimed.

The activists along with several enclave dwellers were interacting with the media about the problems being faced by the enclave dwellers.

While about 980 people living in the Indian enclaves in Bangladesh officially became Indian citizens, Sengupta as well others claimed “thousands are trying to come to India but are not allowed by the neighbouring country”.

The National Human Rights Commission earlier in the month issued notice to the home and external affairs ministries as well as the West Bengal and Assam governments asking them to inquire into a complaint that Indians residing in Bangladesh were being denied basic amenities.

According to the NHRC, about 30,000 residents of Indian enclaves in Bangladesh have not been included in the census for land compensation while women were being abducted and sexually exploited.

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