Faith Sans Border: Where a Durga Puja Celebrating Brotherhood at ‘No Man’s Land’

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Though there were restrictions, the Border Security Force (BSF) has been cooperating with the locals during the festivities since 2011.
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Guwahati: At the time of border disputes, faith sans borders along the Indo-Bangladesh international borders where a Durga Puja celebration has been going on for some 150 years at a ‘no man’s land’.

A tradition that started about 150 years back, the Durga puja organized by locals in Manikpur village in Assam’s Karimganj district has been very special as it’s being held at a Durga temple located in ‘no man’s land’ on the international borders with Bangladesh.

The barbed wire fence on the international border hasn’t dampened the spirits of the villagers as they crossed the border to offer pujas.

Manikpur village fell outside the border fencing when work for the 124km barbed wire fencing was launched in 1994 in the Barak Valley areas of Assam. Around 40 families including Muslims living on the other side of the border have been a part of the puja celebrations for ages.

The temple, set up during British regime, is adjacent to Natagram areas of Sylhet division of Bangladesh.

Though there were restrictions, the Border Security Force (BSF) has been cooperating with the locals during the festivities since 2011. Sources in BSF said that they have been allowing Indians living on the other side of the fence to cross the gates by showing their identity cards. However, they were allowed only between 6 am to 11 am and from 1 pm to 5 pm every day.

Karimganj district shares about 94-km border with Bangladesh. Residents in Lafasail, Gobindapur, Latukandi, Jarapata, Lafasail, Lamajuwar, Mahisashan, Kourbag, Deotali and Jobainpur were living outside the border fence for decades.

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