NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today sought responses from the Centre and the West Bengal on a plea alleging omission of around 597 persons, affected by the recent pact between India and Bangladesh to exchange territories, from the list of citizens.
A bench of Justices T S Thakur and V Gopala Gowda issued notices to the Ministries of External Affairs and Home Affairs on a petition filed by NGO, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM). Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the NGO, alleged that there were some persons who are neither citizens of India or Bangladesh and there is "gross violation" of rights to life and basic human dignity of the families residing in the Bangladeshi enclaves located in India and Indian enclaves in Bangladesh.
The petition, filed on behalf of the dwellers in these enclaves on both sides of border, said if the issue remained unresolved, it would lead to resentment and discontent. The plea has sought a direction to the Centre to disclose the list of eligible residents of the enclaves on both sides of the border and give an opportunity to those who claim that their names have been illegally and wrongly omitted to make a representation to the authorities.
It further sought a direction to authorities to consider claims of wrongful exclusion of families from the list of eligible enclave dwellers. It has also sought a direction to the authorities to provide the residents of the enclaves with a temporary Identity Card.
According to the plea, there are around the 51 enclaves on the Indian side of the border housing 14,215 persons and 111 enclaves on the Bangladesh side of the border housing 37,334 persons. The NDA government has recently operationalised the historic Land Boundary Agreement (LBA), which paved the way for the operationalisation of the 1974 pact under which 161 enclaves under the control of either countries were to be exchanged.