Indo-Bangladesh fence issue
- Anoop Prakash Awasthi, Chaitanya
Safaya, Deeksha Sharma, Tanya Narula & Satyajit
Fencing started in 1986, till
date 2677.81 Km of fencing has completed, out
of total sanctioned fencing of 3436.59 Km. Source-
RTI information dated 13.11.2009.
Fencing is supposed to be done
150 yards away from international zero line, which
is not followed at many places and fencing is
done kilometres away from zero line thus precious
Indian land has been abandoned by the state in
the backyards of fencing on the Bangladesh side.
Source- Brief Note dated 18.05.2009 by the pen
of Deputy commissioner- District Karimganj, Assam.
A total of Rs. 811.78+4393.67=5205.45
Crore have been spent for fencing till date. Source-
RTI information dated 30th November 2009.
A good amount of Indian population
is fenced and virtually abandoned and their ingress
in Indian main land is limited just for 4 hours
in a day, timings being 6-7, 9-10 AM; 1-2, 4-5PM
in a day, while coming in or going out they are
supposed to make entry in a register. Source-
copy of order of Deputy Commissioner of Distt.
Karimganj Assam to open gate which is not being
obeyed by BSF, photograph of the gate where timings
are printed, photograph of the register and audiotapes
of oral submissions made by the villagers.
Marriage prospects of fenced
villagers have become gloomy and medical treatment
has also become difficult. Source- Brief note
page 5 by the on the status of fence and audio/video
tape of the oral submission by villagers.
All the civic amenities are
cut off; the fenced village population has no
water pump, electricity, roads, schools or PHC.
NREGS work is not allowed. Villagers are not even
allowed to reconstruct/repair their own houses.
Source- photographs, video footage and audio recorded
oral submissions made by villagers.
BSF forces the villagers to
lend their child to help the BSF to man the gate,
each family has to supply a child to BSF as per
its turn, those having no child of their own hire
others child by money and then fulfil BSF’s
requirement. Source- audio recorded oral submission
made by villagers.
Administrative orders for opening
the gates are continuously disobeyed by the BSF.
Source-order of Deputy Commissioner- District
Karimganj, Assam dated-16th July2008 and 19th
These fenced Indians are mostly
Hindu Scheduled caste or backward Muslims.
MoH has no data about border
population, and there is no rehabilitation scheme
for fenced Indians. Source – RTI information
dated- 20th October 2009.
Under swarn jayanti gram swarojgar
yojana there is no provision to give any compensation/
rehabilitation to the fencing affected people.
Source- RTI information dated 19th November 2009.
Villagers are not allowed to
stock ration for rainy season, they can’t
store ration even for a week; what they are allowed
is to bring only few Kg of rice, 1kg of pulse
and ½ kg of sugar at a time. Source- oral
submission on audio and video.
Fenced villagers submit a petition
to HH. President of India- Source- draft petition
dated 18th August 2008.
Under Indira Awas Yojana, only
one special package to four districts of Tripura
has been sanctioned for fencing affected people
on the recommendation of Ministry of Home Affairs
and to none else; a total of 7744 houses were
made. Source- RTI information dated 19th November.
Ministry of Home Affairs informs
“Entry of illegal Bangladeshis in India
being calendestine and surreptitious, it is not
possible to estimate the no. of illegal Bangladeshis”.
Meaning thereby that govt. has no data about the
no. of illegal Bangladeshis in India, which amounts
to serious security lacuna. Again only 13692 Bangladeshis
in 2006, 12135 in 2007 & 12625 in 2008 overstayed
their visa and officially deported. Source- RTI
information dated 8th January 2010.
More than 3000 km long and
atleast 150 yards wide (at many places kilometres
wide) precious Indian land, falling in the backyards
of fencing, has been virtually abandoned by Indian
As the access to this land
strip is blocked, the land has lost its market
Fenced Indian citizens are
illegally confined in their dwellings for a period
of 20 hours daily.
In any event of conflict, fenced
Indian shall become the first causality and could
be used by Bangladeshi forces as human shield
against Indian forces.
As fenced Indians homes are
easily accessible from Bangladesh side, they regularly
face raids by Bangladeshi thieves and poachers.
Stealing of cattle and abduction of adolescent
girls is very common, fenced Indians can’t
afford to keep their young female siblings so
they send them to the relative’s homes in
Children are losing their childhood,
they can’t even play any game in the fenced
area as by a single stroke their article of game
say ‘football’ will escape Indian
territory and enter in Bangladesh.
As last time for crossing the
gates is 5PM, daily wagers looses wage as they
have to windup their work at 4PM, shopkeepers
are not able to open shop in evening hours post
4PM, people are forced to go for marketing in
morning hours only and return early. Fish catchers
are forced to sell their fish catch to middlemen,
same case with vegetable growers. A vibrant middlemen
economy has emerged which shows that the adverse
gate timings are not limited to security concerns
Land acquisition policy of
Indian government: government of India under its
sovereign powers can acquire any part of private
land but it has no constitutional power to block
passage to any private land thus making it valueless
and forcing an Indian citizen to migrate from
his place without getting any compensation. This
aspect is very important in view of land acquisition
for Proposed SEZ’s (special economic zone).
Home Ministry of India has
no data on the number of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants
in India, though they accept that infiltration
is a reality. This clueless situation is very
serious on following counts:
- First- fencing is all together ineffective,
thus wasting thousands of crore on fences
is a national loss.
- Second- internal security is in incompetent
hands and there is totals collapse of intelligence
- Third- Foreigner’s presence in India
may result in many 26/11 in near future.
- Fourth- if there is no knowledge about the
presence of Bangladeshi’s in India then
surely there is no knowledge about the presence
of other foreigners say presence of Pakistanis,
presence of spy’s or that of terrorists.
So it is the god saving us, not the state
and anything can happen to any Indian anywhere
The whole matter is in the
Knowledge of Prime Minister, Home Minister and
Chief Minister of Assam (I wrote to all of them
with evidences) and surely in the knowledge of
other state agencies but there is no progress.
Article 19 of the Constitution
of India says 19(1) All citizens shall have the
right- (d) to move throughout the territory of
India; (e) to reside and settle in any part of
the territory of India; Article 19(5) says “nothing
in sub-clause (d) and(e) of the said clause shall
affect the operation of any existing law in so
far as it imposes, or prevent the state from making
any law imposing, reasonable restriction on the
exercise of any right conferred by the said sub-clause
either in the interest of the general public or
for the protection of the interest of any schedule
In the present case any restriction put on people’s
movement (such as fencing and gate) is not in
public interest and also it being not a tribal
area, any restriction put on peoples movement
is violation of the fundamental rights of Indian
citizens guaranteed under Article 19(1)(d)&(e)
because such restrictions cannot be put even in
the name of security unless there is state of
emergency, marshal law or war.
Article 21 of the Constitution
of India reads: Protection of life and personal
liberty- ‘No person shall be deprived of
his life or personal liberty except according
to procedure established by Law’.
Here it is important to mention that
- Fencing is not a legal creation but that
of an administrative (cabinet) decision.
- Interpretation of Article 21 is required
whether 20 hours movement blockage amounts
to illegal confinement?
- It is true that government cannot provide
work to everybody, but right to livelihood
is part of Article 21 because livelihood gives
life (Supreme Court in various cases has accepted
it). Interpretation of Constitution (Article
21) is necessary whether any state action
which reduces the working hours for a farmer,
daily wager or shopkeeper or self employed
person amounts to deprivation from right to
Indian state has to function
in consonance with the directive principles of
state policy, hence legal interpretation is required
whether cutting of electricity, water, civic amenities,
blocking road construction, Indira Awas, education,
medical facilities etc. can be done by state even
when there is no ostensible danger of foreign
Right to Property is no more
a fundamental right being put in Article 300-A
which says “no person shall be deprived
of his property save by the authority of Law”,
but it is still subject to judicial scrutiny on
the ground whether the acquisition or requisition
is for public purpose and whether adequate compensation
is paid. Further it is still an open question
whether deprivation of property amounts to acquisition
or requisition? In the present case fencing is
done in such a way as to deprive the Indian citizens
from their property rendering property valueless.
So here interpretation of constitution is further
On these lines I am going to file a case in Supreme
Court of India.