History at midnight: About 50,000 people finally got citizenship
68 years of wait, finally, came to an end on 31st July, 2015 at the stroke of midnight. Celebrations began, crackers were burst, candles were lit, flags were hoisted – thousands of stateless people finally have a country. History was written, when India handed over 51 enclaves, comprising 7,110 acres to Bangladesh, and the neighboring country gave India 111 enclaves comprising around 17,160 acres.
“We have fought and revolted a lot. We have sat on hunger strike and finally we have gained independence. I forget all sadness today by lighting this torch of happiness. Today is the day to rejoice,” a villager told Reuters.
Following Modi’s visit to Dhaka on 6-7th June, 2015, much work has gone into ascertaining the nationality options of the enclave residents. Both the governments are working closely together to facilitate trouble-free movement of these residents before the stipulated date of November 30, 2015.
“July 31 will thus be a historic day for both India and Bangladesh. The day marks the resolution of a complex issue that has lingered since independence,” a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry said.
Chief coordinator of the India-Bangladesh Enclave Exchange Coordination Committee, Diptiman Sengupta, said that, “This agreement will change the image of India’s economy in front of the world. We have established a strong relationship with Bangladesh through his agreement”. “This region has the potential to emerge as a major business hub, if 122 crore (1.2 billion) people of India and 17 crore (170 million) people of Bangladesh, along with the population of neighbouring countries, come together,” he added.
Thousands of people – victims of the geo-political game of the two nations – with no citizenship is finally going to have their country and will be able to enjoy their new found freedom.
Cover image source – The Indian Express