Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that India’s new citizenship law that aims to fast-track citizenship to persecuted religious minorities of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan was "not necessary". In an interview to an Emirati newspaper, Hasina also maintained that the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens are India's internal affairs.
“We don’t understand why (the Indian government) did it. It was not necessary,” the PM said in the interview at Abu Dhabi. "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 Modi has in person assured me of the same during my visit to New Delhi in October 2019,” Sheikh Hasina said.
This is the first such statement the PM has made since India passed the CAA on December 11. Under the law those Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis who fled persecution in Bangladesh and settled in India before 2015 are allowed Indian citizenship. The NRC is a proposed exercise that Home Minister Amit Shah has repeatedly claimed would be the next move to build a pan-India register of Indian citizens and identify illegal immigrants.
A lot of immigration from Bangladesh, and erstwhile East Pakistan, has happened since the time of Independence of countries in the subcontinent from British imperial rule. Over the past few decades, predominantly Hindu Bengalis have fled Bangladesh into India claiming discrimination and religious persecution in the Muslim-majority nation. There are concerns in Dhaka that once NRC identifies illegal immigrants, New Delhi might push to repatriate them to their home country, something India has assured isn't on the cards.
Sheikh Hasina 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," Hasina added.
(Photo courtesy: AP)