People from Chapashar area of Haripur upazila and Kuchal area of Ranishankail upazila of Bangladesh and those from Nargao and Makarhat of Kuchbihar district in India throng the border to meet their near and dear ones. Photo: BP

Country Desk
Thousands of people from Bangladesh and India met their relatives from either side at border points in Ranishankail and Haripur upazilas of Thakurgaon on Friday.
The five-km border fence between boundary pillar numbers 345 and 346 turned into a human sea for several hours with the gathering of Bangla-speaking people from both the Bengals.
People from Chapashar area of Haripur upazila and Kuchal area of Ranishankail upazila of Bangladesh and those from Nargao and Makarhat of Kuchbihar district in India thronged the border to meet their near and dear ones, defying a barbwire fence in between them.
As every year, the border forces of both the countries—Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Border Security Forces (BSF) — allowed them to meet their dear ones on the occasion of Patharkali Mela.
Thousands of people from both the countries, especially those who cannot afford to visit their relatives through real travel, eagerly wait each year for this special day.
The people of the district were seen exchanging various items like biscuits, snacks, cigarettes, pens, clothes and towels. Many of them cried out as soon as they saw their beloved ones and some were seen to get upset as they could not find their relatives.
Officer-in-charge of Haripur Police Station Amiruzzaman said people from both sides exchanged their views, offered foods to each other while BGB men observed them standing along the border.
However, they could not hug each other as the barbed wire stood as a barrier. Many failed to hold back tears while taking leave for at least one
year more.
After the separation of India and Pakistan in 1947, many got separated from their relatives.
However, they enjoyed the chance to visit their relatives’ houses on either side of the border even till after Bangladesh’s independence.