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History At Midnight: 14,000 Bangladeshis Become Indian Citizens After Land Swap

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| July 31 , 2015 , 16:47 IST
[caption id="attachment_97203" align="aligncenter" width="700"]india-bangladesh-border-700-400 Imaging: Shivam Agrawal[/caption]
At the stroke of midnight hour on Friday when the world slept, with the historic exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh more than 51,000 enclave dwellers finally got a country of their own after having been “stateless” for 68 long years. With this land swap, India gained access to 55 Bangladesh enclaves that house 14,000 residents. Officials of two nations hoisted their respective national flags in 162 enclaves - 111 in Bangladesh and 51 in India - to assume sovereignty over the territories following a historic border pact in June. More than 100 enclaves of India encircled by Bangladesh border and over 50 enclaves of Bangladesh enclosed by Indian territory have been exchanged between the two neighbouring countries at Friday midnight. ALSO READ: Work On India-Bangladesh Telecom Link To Start Next Week: BSNL As the country is observing mourning following the death of former President A P J Abdul Kalam, there would be no celebrations to mark the exchange, they said. About 51,000 residents of the enclaves, who have been stateless for decades, have made up their mind to choose the country they want to live in. The exchange of enclaves followed signing of an agreement in Dhaka by India and Bangladesh on June 6 this year. Under the deal, signed in Dhaka in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina, the two countries will swap the enclaves dotted around the border. Their inhabitants have been deprived of public services and living in squalid conditions. ALSO READ: PM Modi, Sheikh Hasina Flag-Off India-Bangladesh Bus Services The land accord was originally agreed in 1974 by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The progress of the accord stopped for a long time after Mujibur was assassinated in 1975 and subsequent governments failed to agree on the transfer of enclaves. Watch Focus News' special coverage on the impact this land deal will have on ordinary lives: (With Inputs From Agencies)

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