Security beefed up after mob violence along Indian enclave

Last Updated: Sunday, October 17, 2010 - 23:48

Dhaka: Security has been been beefed up near the Indo-Bangladesh border after a mob torched and vandalised several houses inside an Indian enclave in Panchagarh district in retaliation for the alleged killing of a Bangladeshi.

"We have arrested three (Bangladeshi) villagers in connection with the violence and the situation is calm after we held several meetings with the people of nearby villages
and asked them to maintain order," Shahriar Rahman, the police chief of Panchagargh district told PTI.

Reached here by phone, Rahman said a makeshift police camp has been set up along the enclave Garati, surrounded by bordering Bangladeshi villages while the border guards
Bangladesh Riffles (BDR) were asked to intensify vigil in the area.

The enclave residents need to cross international border every day for cultivation and need to follow the official formalities as well as clearance from the BDR and
India?s Border Security Force (BSF) guards.

Officials and reports said tension was sparked in the area after Bangladeshi national Ramjan Ali went inside the enclave and was allegedly killed by the residents. It is claimed that the initial refusal to return the body sparked violence by the frontier villagers in Sadar sub-division of Panchagarh district, some 344 km from Dhaka in Rajshahi division.

The enclave residents, however, returned the body to us after midnight on Friday but angry villagers raided Garati and set on fire a number of houses there though no casualty
was reported as they (enclave residents) fled their homes sensing the attack," Rahman said.

"The enclave is out of bound for Bangladeshis as it is part of the Indian territory though the nearest border was three kilometres off the enclave but we are in touch with them
to give them a sense of relief," the police chief said.

Banamali Bhoumik, the administrative chief of Panchagarh told local reporters that some 50 houses were either ransacked or torched during the raids by the villagers. Anwar Saadat, vice-chairman of Panchagargh Sadar sub-division, said he was trying to get relief supplies to the Indian enclave dwellers on "humanitarian ground" as they were
surrounded by Bangladesh with no direct links to India.

Bangladesh and India share 4,156 kilometres of common porous border, of which 6.1 kilomtres were still un-demarcated. The two countries have 162 such enclaves, 111
being Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh and 51 being Bangladeshi inside India. The population in the Indian enclaves was estimated to be 1.4 lakh on 17,000 acres of land while the Bangladeshi enclaves inside India had some 44,000 people on 7,000 acres.

Officials said 3,000 acres of Bangladesh land are inside India while India has around 3,500 acres of land inside Bangladesh. "These pieces of land are all contiguous, so there is a possibility that we redraw the international border and finish this problem once and for all," Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, the former Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, said last year.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, October 17, 2010 - 23:48

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