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People rejoice as India, Bangladesh exchange enclaves

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Dinhata (West Bengal): Crackers were burst and people rejoiced as India and Bangladesh exchanged enclaves at the stroke of midnight on Friday-Saturday, ending the 68 years of stateless existence for over 51,000 enclave dwellers.
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Around 14,000 people living for so long in 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in the Indian territory, and another 37,000 residing in 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh, now have a country of their own.

The Bangladeshi enclaves are now a part of India, while the Indian enclaves join Bangladesh.

Torches and candles were lit, people came out of their houses, burst crackers and hugged each other as part of the celebrations with their eyes shining bright with hope.

Their facial expressions showed ecstasy after decades of isolation and deprivation during which they were denied even the basic civic amenities.

History was written as India gave away to Bangladesh a total area of 17,160 acres, covering the 111 enclaves and in return received 7,110 acres comprising 51 enclaves.

As the clock struck 12, the Bharat Bangladesh Enclave Exchange Co-ordination Committee (BBEECC) – an organization that fought for the rights of the enclave dwellers — celebrated the occasion in Mosaldanga enclave of West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district.

Sixty-eight candles were lit, marking the years the enclave dwellers have remained stateless. Besides, a documentary was also screened highlighting their struggle.

The Cooch Behar district administration has planned celebrations at 9 a.m. on Saturday. However, it will be a low key affair owing to the national mourning being observed following the death of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

“As a part of the celebrations, the tricolor will be hoisted in all the 51 enclaves but will be subsequently put on half mast as the country is in national mourning,” said Cooch Behar District Magistrate P. Ulagnathan.

The 111 Indian enclaves are located in the Bangladesh districts of Lalmonirhat (59), Panchagarh (36), Kurigram 12 and Nilphamari (4) while all the 51 Bangladeshi enclaves are situated in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal.

The swapping is in pursuance of the inking and exchange of documents of the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) on June 6 in Dhaka, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina.

The LBA was first inked in 1974 by then Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi.

“July 31, 2015 will thus be a historic day for both India and Bangladesh. The day marks the resolution of a complex issue that has lingered since independence. It also marks the day from which enclave residents on both sides of the border will enjoy the benefits of nationality of India or Bangladesh, as the case may be, and thus access to civic services, education, healthcare and other facilities provided by the two governments to their respective nationals,” said an official statement released by the central government.

Other steps with regard to implementation of the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and 2011 Protocol are underway in accordance with agreed modalities between the Indian and Bangladeshi governments, it said.

(IANS)

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Star ICC Asks Anonymous Accuser Of Sexual Assault Charges To Step Forward

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were "clear instructions" given to make the sales team fulfil the targets.

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Star ICC
#MeToo: Star India internal panel writes to anonymous accuser to come forward

The Internal Complaints Committee of Star India on Sexual Harassment (Star ICC) has written to the anonymous accuser — who had alleged “sexual exploitation” of women employees — asking her to reach out to the committee or its external member on allegations made by her in tweets.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Star ICC, formed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 said it had reached out to the accuser through two emails on the ID provided by her through her tweets. The committee’s external member is Veena Gowda, a Mumbai-based woman rights lawyer.

The accuser, who tweeted through handle @ApurvaS17 — saying she would remain anonymous — had made sexual harassment allegations against the company’s officials in an open letter.

Star ICC
Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt.

Asked to comment on the allegations, a Star India spokesperson said in a statement that despite no response by the anonymous accuser to the messages sent, the Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy” in respect of the allegations.

“We strongly urge any genuine complainant to approach the Star ICC. At Star, we stand with women in drawing the line on any behaviour that violates human dignity or the ability for women to pursue their dreams with respect and freedom. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment,” read the statement in response to an email query by IANS.

It also said that the anonymous tweet shared on October 13 raised an allegation that “runs completely counter to everything we believe in and the norms and values that we deeply embrace.”

The statement further said: “Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt to malign and defame the reputation of the company and the CEO.” It said that Star reserves its right to initiate appropriate legal proceedings in this regard.

Star ICC
The Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy.

The accuser in her tweets had said that the #MeToo movement had encouraged her to come forward and that she had quit her job at Star India in the Airtime Sales section after 26 months and nine days and was now a homemaker, “taking care of my baby and hubby in a beautiful country, far away from Mumbai.”

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were “clear instructions” given to make the sales team fulfil the targets in case they want to continue with their employment contract, “for which even if you have to take the clients to a hotel room and sleep with them for days.”

She said there were many instances when she and three of her female colleagues (interns) had clear instructions to reach a hotel after office hours for a private party hosted for influential friends.

Also Read: India’s Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar Quits Following #MeToo Harassment Allegation By Women

She says the influential friends were “mostly bureaucrats and sometimes politicians and foreign nationals” who were “all ready to violate you, force you to dance against your wishes, drink with them, make drink(s) for them, exchange your numbers and even quietly accompany them to their respective rooms if they want you to”.

Veteran writer-director Vinta Nanda, who earlier this month accused actor Alok Nath of sexually violating her 19 years ago, wrote on Twitter: “I’m neither shocked nor surprised. I salute your courage to have come out and spoken out. The rot runs deep.” (IANS)