Guwahati, Wednesday, May 22, 2019
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Stiff rules hindering cross-border marriages!
 DHUBRI, May 21 - As the Border Security Force (BSF) has intensified its level of vigilance across the India-Bangladesh border, problems for the residents of Bhogdanga and Faksarkuti villages have compounded manifold, resulting in a spurt in the number of bachelors and spinsters.

These aforementioned pot-shaped Indian villages are uniquely situated outside the Indo-Bangladesh border, not far from Kedar Border Outpost (BOP) and near Golokganj in Dhubri district, and surrounded by Bangladeshi villages all around.

The Bangladeshi villages are located not more than 100-200 metres away from these two Indian villages and are separated by paddy fields and swampy areas. The residents of these two Indian villages with 375 voters have always felt separated from mainland India. Moreover, the recently-imposed security rules and regulations by the BSF have been restraining even the guests from visiting these villagers. As a result, none from the other side of the border is ready to get their children married to the boys and girls of the villagers.

“People of these two villages are distant relatives and people from outside the villages are scared of letting their daughters and sons get married to our children because when they enter these villages they have to go through a number of formalities,” said Bangtu Barman, one of the villagers.

He also explained that when guests need to visit their villages, they first take a slip from the BSF and put down the name of the guests whom they are visiting, submit their ID proof and also take the initial and slip from the village ward member and camp commander. But if the guests choose to stay for more than 24 hours, then they have to go through the whole process again.

“Considering the detailed formalities, the guests have stopped coming to our villages and people are not letting their children get married to our villagers,” lamented Chandra Kanta Roy, another senior citizen.

However, these are not the only issues that the villagers are facing for being outside the border. They say people from Bangladesh have tried multiple times to burn down the bridges in the villages, which are in a rickety state now.

The villagers also complain that there are no proper healthcare facilities and if someone falls sick, then they have to be taken to the villages on the Indian side by crossing the border. Further, if some health issues arise during the night, crossing borders for them becomes much more difficult.

“Although we are Indians, we have been separated from the India,” said Roy. “In fact no candidates or their representatives during any of the Lok Sabha or Assembly elections visit us to ask for our votes.”

The villagers informed that the long and arduous process to be followed in order to visit the village, have been imposed recently. However, a few years earlier, the process was much easier.

The BSF officials said that these are regular procedures that they need to fulfil in order to secure the borders and to check border crimes.

Given the quaint situation, the district administration informed that they are planning to shift the villages inside the border and settle them near Kedar village by providing them land and adequate compensation.

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