Though 162 detached enclaves were merged with the mainland of Bangladesh and India – 111 with Bangladesh and 51 with India – in 2015, as per a treaty between the two countries, the people living in those areas remained deprived of access to modern television networks.
Now, modern television connections have reached the former enclaves lying in Bangladesh's territory, with support of the country's first and only legal direct-to-home (DTH) service provider Akash, said a press statement issued on Sunday.
People who have never watched television, in these areas, now have access to basic and essential information as they now can watch television to know about Bangladesh and the world.
Akash has become the fundamental source of recreation of these former enclave inhabitants.
British lawyer Cyril John Radcliffe drew the Indo-Pakistan border at the time of the Partition of India in 1947. The partition made many people stateless and they became the residents of enclaves – 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India.
The Indian enclaves were located in the Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Panchagarh, and Nilphamari districts of Bangladesh, while the Bangladeshi enclaves were located in Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri of India.
Before the enclave issue was resolved, the people of these enclaves were considered foreigners in their own countries. People of detached enclaves could not even enter their countries legally. They were deprived of fundamental rights including: food, accommodation, medication, and education.
The people of Bangladesh living on Indian land and the people of India living on Bangladeshi land were given the freedom to choose the citizenship of either Bangladesh or India in 2015 under a treaty signed by the both countries.
The "imprisonment" of 68 years was ended but the mediums of information and recreation were almost closed.
Now, Akash DTH connection has reached the doors of the enclave dwellers as electricity is available in the region. People of the former enclaves, for the first time, have started to watch television.
Obaidur Rahman, a sexagenarian of a former enclave, said, "Previously we had no opportunity to know and see our country or the rest of the world. Now, I am too physically weak to move but I can know unknown things of the world through an Akash connection."
DS Faisal Hyder, chief executive officer of Akash said, "Television is not only a medium of entertainment but a source of knowing essential information. Remote and detached people of the country for many years were deprived of this facility. But Akash has connected the detached people with the planet of information and entertainment."
"We do not do this only for business purposes but we have taken the initiative to develop people to people relationships in this region. Following that commitment, we have brought Akash connections to the former enclaves, including the Dahagram."
Akash, the country's only legal DTH service provider, started to provide its service using the feed of the Bangabandhu Satellite 1 from May 2019.
Akash connections are available at over 8,000 retail outlets throughout the country.