The Indian government has admitted that it has never discussed with Bangladesh the question of deportation of those declared foreigners by tribunals after being left out of Assam’s National Register of Citizens. “Government of India has not held any meeting/discussion with Government of Bangladesh in this regard,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in response to a Right to Information query filed by Scroll.in. The response was dated September 9.
So far, the government had been opaque about its efforts to deport undocumented migrants from Bangladesh. In political rallies, Home Minister Amit Shah has threatened to implement the NRC across the country and deport “infiltrators”.
But on an official visit to Bangladesh in August, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said NRC was India’s “internal matter”.
Last week, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York,reports in the Bangladeshi media claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to assure his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, that the NRC would not affect Bangladesh. The external affairs ministry’s statement on the meeting, however, made no mention of NRC.
Hasina is scheduled to arrive in India on Thursday to attend the India Economic Forum. A bilateral meeting with Modi is slated for Saturday.
Less than a week after Modi’s supposed assurance to Hasina, Shah issued a fresh veiled threat on October 1 to deport Muslim migrants. The NRC, he said, would be replicated across the country, but non-Muslim migrants would be provided sanctuary irrespective of their legal status.
The final NRC list in Assam was published on August 31. The list excluded 19 lakh people, who will now face Assam’s quasi-judicial foreigners’ tribunals. In the absence of deportation, people declared foreigners by these tribunals would be incarcerated in detention centres.
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