BJP spearheads Assam shutdown in protest against Bangladesh land deal

Guwahati, Dec.20 : The Assam unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spearheaded a 24-hour-long shutdown in protest against the tabling of a Constitutional Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, to facilitate the swapping of land enclaves with Bangladesh.

BJP leader Santanu Gogoi said in Guwahati that the Bangladesh land-swap bill has hurt the sentiments of the people, and added that the shutdown was an act of retaliation.

The BJP vehemently protests against the bill that is being placed in the Rajya Sabha to transfer a portion of land to Bangladesh. It is a major issue. The state government and the central government must consider the sentiments of the people of Assam and not try to handover land to Bangladesh," said Gogoi on Friday.

Guwahati resident Farooq Ahmad said: "The shutdown is affecting us a lot. The buses and vehicles are not being allowed. This is affecting the commute of the residents and shop owners are also facing losses in their daily business."

Yesterday, the bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha amid opposition from lawmakers of the Trinamool Congress and the Asom Gana Parishad.

The Rajya Sabha, saw repeated adjournments as members caused a ruckus after Deputy Chairman P J Kurien tried to take sense of the House for the introduction of the bill.

The government had mooted the bill to ratify an agreement under which India and Bangladesh will exchange adversely-held 161 enclaves.

The agreement is aimed at settling the issue of enclaves, having a population of about 50,000 and adverse possession along the common land boundary of approximately 4,069-km border between India and Bangladesh. It is seen as an important confidence-building measure between the two neighbours.

On May 16, 1974, the two countries signed an agreement to find a solution to the complex nature of the border demarcation involved. This agreement was not ratified as it involved transfer of territory, which requires a constitutional amendment.

After a protocol was signed on 6th September, 2011, the issues relating to demarcation of un-demarcated boundary; the territories in adverse possession; and exchange of enclaves were identified and resolved, which forms an integral part of the Land Boundary Agreement between India and Bangladesh, 1974.

--ANI (Posted on 20-12-2013)

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