Silchar: How the UPA government is playing with the sovereignty and integrity of the country has been brazenly exposed when it gave clean chit to Bangladesh that ?it has not encroached or occupied Indian land? despite the assertion of Dr Bhumidhar Burman, Minister of Revenue of Assam on the floor of the State Assembly on June 25, that 310.77 acres of Indian land in Promode Nagar and Pallal tea estates in Karimaganj and 189.06 acres of land Moncachar of Dhubri district are under the occupation of Bangladesh?.
This serious issue had its echo in the Parliament when Vijay Kumar Malhotra, deputy leader of BJP in Lok Sabha, drew the attention of Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister and sought statement from him. Quite surprisingly, the Defence Minister instead of making any statement in the House on the question of technicalities in not being served with calling attention notice by the Hon?ble Member came out with press-release on June 28, contradicting the statement of Dr Bhumidhar Burman. Pranab Mukherjee rather defended Bangladesh by stating in the hand out that India also occupied some land of that country, though he did not give details. He termed them as ?adverse possessions of each other'sland.
There was more elements of surprise when Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister of Assam, subsequently contradicted his own cabinet colleague, Dr Bhumidhar Burman. The fall out of these irresponsible statements of Congress leaders at the Centre and the state was that Bangladesh got encouragement to grab more Indian land in Cachar district of Assam. This was done quite subtly and surreptitiously by Bangladesh Rifles and the army. The farmers of their country were provided fire cover to till Indian land in the Katigorah circle of Cachar district. They reaped paddy seedlings on the land measuring 220 acres pertaining to dag nos. 249 and 463 under Harinagar part I and II as specified in the revenue records of the circle. All this happened despite the warnings by BSP. The topography is no doubt difficult, as the land in question has fallen on Bangladesh side across river Surma when the highly sloughing river changed its course in the 70?s.
When this scribe came to the frontline in boil over land grab by Bangladesh, BSF with all the sophisticated weapons and four bullet proof vehicles was in full battle gear along the troubled border between its outposts of Harinagar and Kinnerkhal. Standing at the two border outposts, it was clearly visible that Bangladeshi farmers had already reaped and raised paddy on our land.
Biplob Sengupta, commandant of BSF manning, 47 kms of border in Cachar, when asked about the reality of situation, said, ?It is for any one to see and make one'sassessment?. He preferred not to antagonise the rulers of Delhi and Dispur. But, anger and fury was quite writ large on his face. He was helpless. He was on Kashmir front when Indo-Pak war broke out in 1971. Indian forces had dismembered Pakistan and created Bangladesh. It was unprecedented when 92,000 Pakistani soldiers under its General Niazi surrendered before the mighty Indian forces. But, today Sengupta and his BSF stand crippled in the chess-game of Congress(I) politicians.
A reinforced and emboldened Bangladesh, on the other hand, displayed its bellicosity when its troops intermittently resorted to unprovoked firing. It reached its climax on August 10, when mortars fired by Bangladesh Rifles hit one of the houses at Kinnerkhal, 45 kms from here, killing Sabita Dey(30) and Shanta Dey(20) and injuring Rina Rani Dey(35) and Sevak Dey(7) of the same family. Through this bloodshed, Bangladesh wanted to establish its claim over Indian land. Thousands of people with their cattle and livestock deserted their hearths and homes and fled to safer places.
Even the bloods of innocent women did not deter Santosh Mohan Dev, Union Minister of Heavy Industries and public enterprises, to reiterate four days after the tragedy, ?Bangladesh has not encroached or occupied any Indian land.?
A stunned and bemused BSF IG, S.K. Dutta, looking after Tripura, Mizoram and Barak Valley, had to issue a statement to the effect, ?It is part of India and Indians have their patta over land. It is clearly demarcated in six patches since partition. The problem started when Bangladesh farmers illegally tried to cultivate on 220 acres of our land a few months ago.?
After all the tragedy on Indian side, Bangladesh Rifles after the flag meeting of July 4, met BSF again on August 13, only to break its commitment to reduce tension and restore normalcy. Latest information from the border of Cachar is that BDR is back to its jingoistic posture and encouraging its farmers to occupy fresh Indian land.
(The author can be contacted at [email protected])