India & Bangladesh

Stranded no more

Print edition : September 04, 2015

Joy in a Bangladesh enclaves on July 31, a day before its dwellers became Indian citizens. Photo: Sanjoy Ghosh

Cooch Behar District Magistrate P. Ulaganathan hoisting the Indian flag at Poaturkuthi, which used to be a Bangladesh enclave. Photo: Sanjoy Ghosh

A woman lights candles on July 31 in celebration at Dashiarchhara in the Kurigram enclave in Bangladesh. At the stroke of midnight, thousands of stateless acquired a meaningful citizenship. Photo: AP

Mansoor Mian (left) of Poaturkuthi enclave makes an Indian flag on July 31. Photo: Sanjoy Ghosh

Ashgarh Ali of Mashaldanga enclave, and residents claim he is 106 years old. "For long we have been living like primitive people without amenities. Now we can look forward to better days," he says. Photo: Sanjoy Ghosh

Mansoor Ali Khandehar of Poaturkuthi, a Bangladeshi enclave with 628 families. "It is like being set free for the first time. All our lives we have only had problems. We believe we will be happy as Indians," he says. Photo: Sanjoy Ghosh

Saddam Haque of Poaturkuthi enclave has worked illegally in many places in India at construction sites. "Now that we are a part of India we won't have the constant fear of being arrested and we can work wherever we want," he says. Photo: SanjoyGhosh

Jabeda Bewa of Madhya Mashaldanga enclave. Her main fear is that she and her family will be forced out of their land and pushed into Bangladesh. "When we finally get to be a part of India and I see my family is not on the list, I feel shattered," she says. Photo: Sanjoy Ghosh

On August 1, more than 51,000 stateless residents in enclaves in India and Bangladesh became citizens of the respective countries after nearly seven decades of isolation, denial of even basic human rights, and no access to development.
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