R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, Dec 9 – The area where 16 Border Security Force (BSF) men were killed in 2001 will go to Bangladesh if the Indo-Bangla land swapping deal is passed by the Parliament. The land swapping protocol was signed by India and Bangladesh during the last visit of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to that country last year and now it has to be ratified by the Parliament to make it effective.
The land swapping deal is aimed at dealing with the problem of adverse possessions and enclaves, but the Baraibari area in Dhubri district, which is in adverse possession of Bangladesh, will go to the neighbouring country if the deal is passed by the Parliament. The Baraibari area witnessed the worst ever clash along the border since the creation of Bangladesh and it will always remain fresh in the memories of everyone for the gruesome killing of the BSF men.
The clash in Boraibari started with the Bangladesh Rifles and Army personnel encircling the BSF camp in Pyrduah in Meghalaya, the area which is under the adverse possession of India. After the incident, a team of the BSF headed by assistant commandant BR Mondal entered the Boraibari area but they were cordoned off by local people and BDR personnel. The BSF men were brutally hacked to death and their bodies were later handed over to India. Following the incident, an exchange of fire between the BSF and BDR also took place in the area and one Indian civilian was killed in the cross fire. As the firing continued for some time, the people of the villages living near the international border had to be evacuated.
It is still not clear as to why the BSF team went to Boraibari, which is in adverse possession of Bangladesh. It is believed that following the encirclement of Pyrduah, the BSF men tried to repeat the same style in the BDR camp at Boraibari. But it is still not clear whether the BSF team, which went inside Boraibari had the clearance of the Government or the senior officers of the border guarding force to enter that area. Interestingly, when they were encircled by the villagers and BDR men, they did not open fire even on self defence though they were carrying firearms with them.
Meanwhile, official sources said that people of some areas did not accept the Radcliff Commission recommendations during the time of partition of the country in 1947 and that is why the boundary disputes could not be settled. The problem continued even after the creation of Bangladesh with the help of India and even the 1974 border agreement failed to sort out the problem of adverse possessions.
Sources said that the Boraibari area, which according to the Map, is in Dhubri district of India, was never in possession of India and similarly, the Pyrduah area was always in possession of India as the Khasi people living in that area never wanted to go to Bangladesh.
Official sources said that now efforts are on to settle the disputes and a joint survey was carried out. Officials of both the countries visited the disputed areas and even took the views of the people living in those areas before finalizing its report, on the basis of which, the land swapping deal was prepared.