No Clarity between India, Bangladesh on Territorial Jurisdiction over Tripura's Muhurichar Enclave

Reported by

Elizabeth ManiLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

November 24, 2021

Location of Conflict

Muhuri Char Enclave

Belonia

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Border Dispute

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

25

ha

Starting Year

1965

State

Tripura

Sector

Land Use

On July 31, 2015, India and Bangladesh signed the Land Boundary Agreement to resolve the sevendecadelong problem of uncharted enclaves between the two countries. According to the agreement, India gave 110 enclaves to Bangladesh and received 51 enclaves in return. The Union government had sanctioned a rehabilitation package worth INR 3,048 crore for those affected by the exchange. However, talks over the Muhurichar Enclave remained inconclusive. Both the countries have been fighting for this piece of land since 1965, occasionally firing, killing and injuring many. In 1974, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Bangladesh President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had almost resolved the conflict when they decided that in all cases of riverline boundaries the midstream would be regarded as the border and that both the sides will ensure that the river does not change course. Since the Belonia Islet and the Muhurichar Enclave on it lie on the Indian side of the border, India claims ownership over it. However, during the 2014 monsoon, the islet was flooded and the river changed its course, allowing Bangladesh to claim ownership. Declaring that the area is noman'sland, Bangladesh demanded in October 2014 that Indian farmers stop cultivating on the land. Meanwhile, the Tripura government had reportedly evacuated around 2,500 families in the Enclave without offering them any rehabilitation. As a result, the families lost both their homes and agricultural land. Anupam Chakraborty, a social activist in Belonia helping the affected people reach out to the authorities to address their grievances, told LCW that the government did not give any notice to the people before evacuating them nor did they specify the reason for the mass evacuation, the process of which started in 2016 and was completed in 2018. It was the Belonia Municipal Corporation that offered temporary shelter to some of the families, while a large majority continues to live on the streets. On October 5, 2019, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met at a restricted meeting regarding this issue. She had earlier raised the issue of Muhurichar Enclave twice during bilateral talks with Modi in Dhaka in 2015 and in New Delhi in 2017. She has not been vocal about Bangladesh's perspective. At the ministerial level, the issue was last raised in August 2019 at a meeting of the home ministers of the two countries, where the Indian minister assured resolution of the issue.
The matter, however, remains unresolved because Indian authorities have been pushing for a fresh land survey since 2016. The survey is yet to be initiated. There have been at least eight instances of crossborder firing according to government officials.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Constitutional Law, Central/State Government Policy, Case Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Objections as part of official procedures

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Ministry of External Affairs (Government of India), Government of Bangladesh, Tripura Revenue Department, Public Works Department, Health Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Elizabeth Mani

Reviewed By

Elizabeth Mani

Updated By

Elizabeth Mani

Edited By

Elizabeth ManiLand Conflict Watch
X

Support our work

Your contribution ensures continuity of this crucial project.

As a member, you will get exclusive access to special reports, policy papers and research projects undertaken by Land Conflict Watch and behind-the-scenes interactions with the writers and researchers about their work.
Contribute Now