Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on March 31 visited Teen Bigha corridor at Indo-Bangladesh border in Coochbehar district of West Bengal. The objective of the visit was to assess the situation along Indo-Bangladesh boarder. When Shri Rajnath Singh reached there he was greeted with the slogans of Bhartmata Ki Jai and Vandemataram.
After reaching Teen Bigha by a helicopter, Shri Singh headed towards an enclave in Chit Balapukhri where he spoke to the local people. A high level delegation of Kuchlibadi Sangram Samiti comprising of chairman Shri Girinath Rai, Shri Utpalkanti Rai, Shri Ashwini Rai, Shri Sadhan Kumar Pal and Shri Satish Chandra Varman called on Shri Singh and submitted a memorandum.
The Sangram Samiti demanded to take back Teen Bigha corridor from Bangladesh as it has complicated the movements of Indians in their own territory. Teen Bigha was transferred to Bangladesh on June 26, 1992 despite heavy protest by the local pople. The delegation said Dahagram and Angarpota must be included in India, because two Bangladeshi Enclaves inside India are dangerous for security of the country. After the transfer of Teen Bigha corridor the Kuchlibadi region of Mekhaliganj tehsil has been encircled by Bangladesh and it has now become a new Enclave. Now, if the Indians of Kuchalibadi region have to enter into India they have to come via Teen Bigha corridor.
Surrounded by Bangladesh, the region of Kuchalibadi comprises of 15,291.25 acre land and the population of the Gram Panchayat in 1981 was 35,000. After transferring Teen Bigha to Bangladesh it got reduced to 23,756, according to 2011 census. By and large Kuchlibari Village Panchayat has now been reduced to just a new Enclave. The Indians living here are frightened round the clock. That is why the delegation urged the Home Minister to scrap Teen Bigha agreement and swap Teen Bigha and Chhit-Mahal Enclaves. The delegation also urged Union Home Minister to take effective steps to curb cow smuggling which is rampant in the border areas. The delegation also said the Government of India should issue biometric identity cards to the people living in the area until the Chhit-Mahal and Teen Bigha are swapped so that the Indians can move into the Indian territory easily. It is necessary as the Bangladeshi Muslims torture them repeatedly and almost everyday.
Another important issue raised by the Sangram Samiti is the sale of tobacco. The delegation said since the Indian market is overloaded with the Bangladeshi tobacco the Indian farmers find it difficult to sell the tobacco produced by them. The delegation said the land of India which it beyond the fencing is mostly used by the Bangladeshi and the Indian farmers, who are legal owners of that land, are not able to harvest the crops, which they grow. The delegation also drew the attention of the Home Minister on many other issues.
However, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioned the motive behind the trip of the Home Minister, while the BJP accused her of politicising a national security issue. Mamata Banerjee said the Centre should have consulted the State government and wondered whether it was a ‘political visit’ by Singh with BJP MPs. Singh was accompanied by party MP SS Ahluwalia. The Home Minister's visit to the enclaves is significant as the Central government is said to be eager to ratify the Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh which entails swapping of adversely occupied border enclaves.