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CAA was not necessary, but it’s India’s internal affair: Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina

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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has chosen to call the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) internal exercise of India. She, however, reminded that all this was not necessary. It was not necessary, Hasina told the Gulf News, regarding the new citizenship law in India. CAA says that the members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, following religious persecution, will get Indian citizenship.

The comments of the Bangladeshi PM came weeks after country’s Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen said that the CAA and the NRC are India’s internal issues. He too, expressed his concerns about the uncertain future of the neighbouring countries due the new arrangements. Bangladesh has 10.7 per cent Hindus and 0.6 per cent Buddhist out of the 161 million total population.

Hasina, who is in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, also said that there has been no recorded reverse migration from India. No, there is no reverse migration from India. But within India, people are facing many problems, she said. (Still), it is an internal affair, she told Gulf News. Hasina reminded that Bangladesh has always maintained that the CAA and NRC are internal matters of India.

“The Government of India, on their part, has also repeatedly maintained that the NRC is an internal exercise of India and Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has in person assured me of the same during my visit to New Delhi in October 2019.” She said the relationship between Bangladesh and India is currently at its best, with cooperation in a wide spectrum of areas. Bangladesh has tried to remain quiet on the issue of both CAA and NRC.

Its ministers, however, have cancelled their visits to India amid the ongoing protests in several states including the national capital. In December, both foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan cancelled their respective visits to India. The Home Minister was expected to travel to Meghalaya at Tamabil at the invitation of Indian state Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.

After cancelling the trip, Bangladeshi officials said that the minister will go to Meghalaya at the “right time”. The Home Minister was scheduled to attend a number of events related to the liberation war, he said. Before this, the foreign minister was irked by the comments made by India’s home minister, Amit Shah, regarding persecution of religious minorities in Bangladesh.

Momen cancelled his three-day visit in New Delhi hours before his scheduled arrival, a day after he termed as “untrue” Home Minister Amit Shah’s comments on persecution of religious minorities in Bangladesh. The External Affairs Ministry said Momen has conveyed to India about postponement of his visit from December 12-14 due to scheduling issues, and asserted that Shah referred to religious persecution in Bangladesh during the military rule and not under the current government.

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