Sunday, June 23, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

‘This is goodbye forever…’

Update : 23 Nov 2015, 09:31 PM

“I am leaving my land of birth, my motherland. I don’t know if I will feel the same peace on the other side as I felt here. I don’t know if I will ever come back. Perhaps this is goodbye forever.”

The tear-soaked words above were of Ukil Chandra Barman, who left Bangladesh – perhaps to never return – with his family to move to India, as part of the Land Boundary Agreement between the two countries.

The agreement, implemented this year, saw the absorption of the neighbouring state’s exclaves by both the countries, letting the exclave residents to move back to their countries of origin.

Ukil, in his 60s, is one such resident of a former exclave in Lalmonirhat’s Patgram upazila. He was one of 130 residents of four former exclaves in Patgram who crossed over to Cooch Behar district in the Indian state of West Bengal yesterday.

It was a bittersweet, emotional moment for both those who were leaving and those who remained behind.

“Stay well, my friend. I don’t know if we will see each other ever again. Pray for me,” said a crying Ukil to Idris Ali, his neighbour and friend for years.

School students Sucharita Rani Barman, Josna Rani Barman and Suman Chandra Barman broke down in tears as they said goodbye to their schoolmates forever.

The group started from Patgram for the immigration point in Burimari border area  in the morning; by the time they finished all formalities and finally crossed over the border, it was around 1pm.

Patgram Upazila Executive Officer Nur Kutubul Alam saw them off with flowers, sweets and good wishes, while Patgram Upazila Parishad Chairman Ruhul Amin Babul and Jongra Union Parishad Chairman Shah Mahmudunnabi Shahin accompanied him.

Across the border, the former exclave residents were welcomed – with flowers – by Additional District Magistrate Ayesha Rani and First Secretary at the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh Ramakanta Gupta.

The Indian officials even organised a small ceremony in order to uplift the gloomy moods of their new citizens. 

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