Berubari plea to PM for place on map

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 7.09.11
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Members of Berubari Protection Committee demonstrate at Manikganj on Tuesday. (Biplab Basak)

Jalpaiguri, Sept. 6: More than 3,000 residents of Berubari today met at Sankalpa Mancha near the Bangladesh border, demanding that Berubari be put on the country’s map on a day Manmohan Singh left for Dhaka.

“Ever since Partition, five villages have been left out of the official map of India and are shown to be in what is now Bangladesh. But the villages are part of India as it is part of the Jalpaiguri Assembly constituency. We even have government-sponsored schools,” said former Forward Bloc MLA from the seat Gobindo Roy, who was part of an all-party gathering at Manikganj, 33km from here.

The residents of Berubari said the officials of the two countries have to sit together to rectify the map.

“We are not there in any India map, be at the village or the gram panchayat level. The border markings on the maps show that our villages are in Bangladesh, but our land records are with the Jalpaiguri district office,” said one of the demonstrators.

Secretary of the South Berubari Protection Committee and local CPM leader Jagdish Roy Pradhan, zonal president of the Trinamul Congress Nripati Bhusan Roy and the working president of the district Congress committee Harish Roy were among the other speakers at the Sankalpa Mancha today.

The Mancha was set up after police lathicharged the local people on January 26, 1960, when they resisted a joint survey of the land to implement the Nehru-Noon treaty signed two years before that.

According to the treaty, the villages would have been included in East Pakistan. Malik Feroz Khan Noon was the governor of East Pakistan at the time when Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister

“More than 12,000 villagers had cut their fingers and wrote to then President of India Rajendra Prasad: ‘Amra rakto debo, pran debo, Berubari debona. (We will rather give blood than Berubari)’,” Roy said.

The survey was withheld temporarily. But on August 28, 1960, the Constitution was amended to hand over the villages to East Pakistan.

In October that year, former industries minister and Bloc leader Nirmal Bose and former MP Amar Roy Pradhan along with some other local people filed a suit in the Supreme Court against the Government of India’s decision.

The apex court said Berubari was inseparable from India and under no circumstances could it be handed over to East Pakistan.

“The Union government declared the area as adversely possessed about seven years ago and no revenue is collected from here. Without revenue receipts, the farmers cannot apply for loans. No NREGS or central schemes like Indira Awas Yojana are implemented here,” Roy said.

He said the accord signed by Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujib in 1974 had also agreed to the fact that Berubari was part of India. “Now that provisions of the accord are being implemented, along with the exchange of enclaves, we want this settled once and for all,” Roy said.