Balurghat, Oct. 9: The Durga Puja of Uchagovindapur on the zero line of the India-Bangladesh border has become a symbol of communal harmony with the Hindus and Muslims gathering at the pandal to celebrate the annual event.
Octogenarian Kalipada Mandal said he started the puja when he was around 15-year-old. “We live just outside the fencing of the Indian border. We don’t have the scope to collect subscription, as we cannot go everywhere all the time. People who live here raise funds for the puja,” he said.
The village, 30km from here, has 250-odd residents and most of them are Hindus.
Uchagovindapur is 50m from the Indian border and the neighbouring villages of Rachandrapur, Chaugharia, Daudpur and Banshipara are on Bangladeshi soil. Pillars mark the Bangladeshi territory.
“Muslims from Bangladeshi villages come here to enjoy the Puja with us. The BSF and the Bangladeshi border force give some relaxation during the festive days,” said Nripen Mandol of Uchagovindapur.
Organisers said this year the budget was Rs 25,000.
“People from Bangladeshi villages come here for the puja. They bring papers and return at night,” said a BSF officer who didn’t want to be named.