West Bengal's Coochbehar district enclave-dwellers to vote for first time since Independence

May 4, 2016 14:31 IST


Coochbehar district of West Bengal came in news in the first week of May 2016. The district that lies on the foothills of Eastern Himalayas came into news as the residents from 51 enclaves will vote for the first time since India’s independence in 1947.

More than 9000 persons living in these enclaves will exercise their franchise on 5 May 2016.

The 51 enclaves of Coochbehar were treated a no man’s land till 31 July 2015, as before this day, neither India nor Bangladesh had any legal right on this region. As a result they belonged to no country and were devoid of any right belonging to a citizen.

These enclaves formally became part of Indian Union with the execution of Land Border Agreement, 1974 between the two countries at midnight of 31 July 2015. On this day, 162 enclaves of India and Bangladesh were integrated with the main land of the two countries.

According to the agreement, 51 Bangladeshi enclaves (measuring 7110 acres) situated at Indian soil in Coochbehar District of West Bengal were amalgamated with India, while 111 Indian enclaves (measuring 17160 acres) in Bangladeshi territory were integrated with that country when the clock struck 12 at night.

The 51 enclaves are spread across Dinhata, Mekliganj, Sitai, Sitalkuchi and Toofanganj Assembly constituencies.

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