Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said that Indian Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s knowledge about the neighbouring country was “very limited”, Dhaka-based daily Prothom Alo reported. Momen made the comment when asked about Shah’s recent remark in an interview that poor people from Bangladesh infiltrated India because they do not get food in their home country.
“There are many wise people in the world who do not see even after looking, and do not understand, even after knowing,” Momen told Prothom Alo. “But if he [Shah] has said something like that, I would say his knowledge about Bangladesh is very limited. No one dies of hunger in our country now. There is no ‘monga’ either.”
“Monga” is a seasonal phenomenon of poverty and hunger that affects people in the northern districts of Bangladesh.
Momen also claimed that Bangladesh was ahead of India on many social indices such as employment and availability of toilets. “Over one lakh people of India work in Bangladesh,” the Bangladesh foreign minister said. “We do not need to go to India.”
Earlier this week, in an interview to Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika, Shah had said that development had not reached the lower rungs of the border areas of Bangladesh. He was responding to a question on why infiltration from Bangladesh was still on. “When development begins in any backward country, the richer people get the benefits first, not the poor ones,” Shah had said. “Bangladesh is still going through this process. So, poor people are not even getting food and so they are infiltrating into India.”
The home minister claimed that those who entered Indian territory from Bangladesh did not stay in West Bengal alone, but moved to different parts of the country, “even Jammu and Kashmir”.
Taking action against infiltration from Bangladesh is one of the major poll promises of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the ongoing West Bengal Assembly elections. Several party leaders, including Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have repeatedly addressed the matter in election rallies.