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Bengal enclave villagers urge Delhi and Dhaka to expedite exchange treaty

Siliguri, Wed, 29 Feb 2012 ANI

Siliguri, Feb 29 (ANI): People residing in enclave villages in West Bengal, alongside the Indo-Bangladesh border, have urged the governments of India and Bangladesh to expedite the exchange treaty, signed between the two nations last year.


Interacting with reporters in Siliguri on Wednesday, enclave villagers said the exchange of enclaves would ensure their freedom and resolve territorial issues.


"Certainly, the exchange should take place as it will improve relations both countries. It will also rid us of an international problem that has been staring at us for a long time," said Gopal Adhikari, a resident of Mrigiur Bangladeshi Enclave.


Villagers of Bangladeshi origin living in the Indian territory expressed their willingness to continue residing in India.


"I want to tell the Indian government that the exchange should take place as soon as possible. We want to reside within the Indian Territory, it will strengthen mutual ties between India and Bangladesh," said Bipul Choudhury, a resident of Mrigiur Bangladeshi Enclave.


An enclave is a part of a country entirely surrounded by foreign territory, which is viewed from the position of the surrounding territories.


In September 2011, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina signed an accord on border demarcation and on the exchange of adversely held enclaves.


Under this agreement, enclave residents might continue residing at their present location or move to the country of their choice.


It is reported that there are 102 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh and 71 Bangladeshi ones inside India, with a combined population between 50,000 to 100,000. Inside those enclaves are also 28 counter-enclaves and one counter-enclave. (ANI)


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