Proposed enclave exchange with Bangladesh will be national loss: BJP

Indo Asian News Service

Kolkata, March 11 (IANS) The BJP Monday said exchange of land in enclaves with Bangladesh would lead to a "national loss" and asked the Manmohan Singh government to clarify that what it would do to "compensate" it.

"There is a proposal that India would give 111 enclaves, spread over about 17,000 acres to Bangladesh, while 51 enclaves, spread over about 7,000 acres, will be given by Bangladesh to India. So the difference is about 10,000 acres," Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Rajnath Singh told reporters here.

Indian enclaves in Bangladesh are spread over 17,149 acres, while Bangladesh enclaves in India are located on 7,110 acres of land. Bangladesh has already ratified the pact.

BJP, however, termed the difference of 10,000 acres as a "national loss" to India.

"We consider this 10,000-acre as a national loss. The country wants to know that what the government is going to do to compensate this national loss," said Rajnath Singh.

"There should be a discussion in parliament on this. There should be a consensus," he demanded.

The Indian cabinet last month cleared the Bill to amend the India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement, 1974, and the protocol of 2011.

The additional protocol for the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement, inked during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Dhaka in 2011, requires a constitutional amendment for ratification as they involve exchange of land in 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves on Indian soil.

Rajnath Singh also said that the central government should draw a refugee relief and rehabilitation policy for the infiltrating refugees to India from Bangladesh and Pakistan.

"Many people, belonging to the minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan, are being tortured in their countries. These people are coming here as refugees without passports. I demand that the government should constitute a policy for giving them shelters," he added.