Indians return home after attending Kali Puja fair in Bangladesh
A small group of Indians, who had travelled to Bangladesh for a Hindu fair, returned through the Indo-Bangladesh border gate at Pirijpur village in Siliguri district of West Bengal on Friday.
The Kamalpur village under Jaipurhut district of Bangladesh hosted a group of Indians at the five-day long Kali Puja Mela.
Bangladesh allowed Indians to enter their country without any passport or visa, to attend this fair.
"This free movement of people across the border shows the love that Bengali people have among themselves. We have all come here and many people are happy to meet their relatives and kin. The security forces on the border are also looking to take care of our needs. We are happy to be here and experience the common culture that binds us all," said Bablu Das, an Indian villager, after coming back.
Officials of India's paramilitary, Border Security Force (BSF) allowed the departing villagers with Indian citizenship cards.
Before the partition in 1947, the fair was organized jointly by both villagers, but since the formation of Bangladesh -- formerly known as East Pakistan -- Indians have not been allowed to attend the fair.
But ever since the current Sheikh Hasina led government has come to power, rituals in Hindu temples restarted.
"After Sheikh Hasina was elected Prime Minister, all the religious rituals in the Hindu temple were restarted. The Kali Puja at Kamalpur has been going on since the British times, it ahs been started again. The people from the surrounded areas attended and we hope that this goes on and our temple becomes more popular," said Nirmal Kumar Maji, another Indian villager.
India and Bangladesh have had a long political, cultural and economic history. Though the political relation between the neighbouring nations has witnessed hiccups in the past, they share friendly and cordial relations and have improved in the last few years.