Bangladesh on Saturday it was keeping an eye on the developments associated with the National Register of Citizens in Assam, even as India told the country that it was an internal matter, PTI reported. Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had raised the matter with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during her four-day visit to India.
“We were told that this is an internal matter of India,” Haque said at a press conference in New Delhi. “Our relationship is best of the best at present. But at the same time we are keeping our eyes quite open [on the issue].”
When asked about Home Minister Amit Shah’s remarks on the deportation of immigrants from Assam, the foreign secretary said, “We should not make a crisis out of nothing.”
“Prime Minister Modi has explained to Prime Minister Hasina that the process that India has put up in terms of making sure that everybody is eventually included in this [NRC],” Haque said.
On Thursday, the Bangladeshi prime minister had said that she was satisfied with Modi’s assurance that the NRC exercise would not affect her country. Earlier, the Indian government had told Scroll.in in a Right to Information response that it had not discussed with Dhaka the idea of deporting those who would be declared foreigners by tribunals after being left out of the citizens’ database.
Earlier reports suggested that Bangladesh was worried about deportation of those unable to prove their citizenship in Assam. The final list of bonafide citizens was published on August 31, and excluded more than 19 lakh people. Foreigner tribunals will now review their cases.
Haque said on Saturday that the “case of movement of people” was a global matter and that there had been always been problems with the “mobility of people among neighbouring states”. The foreign secretary also used the situation between the United States and Mexico as an example to support his statement.
“I think this is not something new, something that cannot be resolved through discussions, but we will have to ensure that it will continue to remain an internal matter of India,” he said, according to Hindustan Times.
On the matter of Rohingyas, Haque said that Modi voiced appreciation for Bangladesh’s generosity for providing aid to the displaced community. The Rohingyas are an ethnic Muslim minority community from Myanmar’s Rakhine state who have faced persecution in the predominantly Buddhist nation for around four decades now. Over the years, thousands of Rohingyas have sought refuge in Bangladesh and India. In August 2017, India announced that it was planning to deport all 40,000 Rohingya refugees in its territory.
India will supply a fifth tranche of humanitarian aid to help Bangladesh’s efforts to provide shelter to the Rohingyas in temporary camps in Cox’s Bazar, a joint statement by Modi and Hasina said. “The two prime ministers agreed on the need to expedite safe, speedy and sustainable repatriation of the displaced persons to their homes in the Rakhine State of Myanmar,” the statement said. “They agreed on the need for greater efforts to be made to facilitate their return, including by improving security situation and socio-economic conditions in the Rakhine State of Myanmar.”
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