A few voters from beyond the border
SILCHAR, April 2: On a day when voters across 39 constituencies in the State, including seven constituencies of Cachar district, thronged the polling stations with great enthusiasm braving the inclement weather and heavy showers in the morning to cast their votes during the second phase of the Assembly election, villagers living in the Indian territory but outside the Indo-Bangla international barbed wire fence at Nathanpur in Katigorah constituency, too, keenly participated in the festival of democracy.
Abdul Mallik, an aged local from among the 30 families (approximately), along with his neighbour, young Shahim Ahmed, were found to be approaching the nearby school (at a distance of about 500 metres from the fence), which was their polling station, to cast their votes. While crossing the border gate, they had to obtain mandatory gate passes from the BSF personnel patrolling the fence.
“The promises made from outside the fence barely reach us to effect any change in our fate, yet, we do not wish to miss the opportunity to exercise our voting rights,” Mallik said.
Two other villagers, Karimuddin and Nirmal Das, who were at the polling station for casting their votes, shared their experiences of earning their living amidst the strict routine of opening and closing of the gate by the BSF. However, they praised the efforts of the BSF unit here in easing their troubles, especially when someone needs medical attention.
The BSF officials on vigil at the Nathanpur BOP, too, said, “There is no conflict among the residents of the village outside the fence and they share a good camaraderie among themselves.”
However, a few other fellow villagers, residing outside the fence, who also turned up to vote, informed that they consume the river water as there is dearth of safe drinking water facility. Their children, too, are not keen to go to school because of procedural hardships.