Bangladesh Foreign Minister: ‘I’ve seen media reports that India pushing people into Bangladesh’

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Diplomatic Correspondent |Prothom Alo Nov 26, 2019

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday said he did not know anything officially about the matter of India’s pushing people into Bangladesh.

The minister also said he has seen media reports about the matter and told newsmen he would discuss it with India.

The foreign minister was talking to newsmen after a discussion at a hotel in the capital.

“I don’t understand what’s there to be panicked about NRC (National Register of Citizens). The NRC is yet to … It took 27… 34 years to prepare the list. There’re so many things in the process. Besides, the government of India has reiteratedly promised to us that NRC is their internal matter. It’ll in no way affect Bangladesh. I am seeing newspaper reports that people are being pushed, or they are entering Bangladesh out of fear. I don’t know exactly. We’ve to discuss the matter,” Abdul Momen said.

He said Bangladesh and India have settled most of the major problems through discussions. Very few neighbouring countries of the world share the kind of mutual faith that Bangladesh and India enjoy. Minor issues will also be resolved through discussions.

In response to a question about discussing the matter with India, the foreign minister said, “Of course we had discussed the matter with the government of India. We had asked questions about NRC.”

Responding to another question of a newsman, Abdul Momen said, “I came to know about push in from media reports. Until now we don’t know anything officially. Nowadays media publish many reports, some are true, some false and some exaggerated. We’ve to know these things. We’ve to understand the issue fully. Maybe then I’ll be able to discuss the matter.”

When the foreign minister’s attention was drawn to Jashore and Jhenaidah deputy commissioners’ remarks about push in, he said, “We’ve to know these things officially. Only then we could discuss the matter.”

Abdul Momen also told the media that he has not received any information from the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on push-in.

The number of infiltration from India to Bangladesh has reportedly increased from the second week of this month (November). At least 203 people trespassed into Bangladesh from India through Maheshpur border area, Jhenaidah between 10 and 20 November.

Besides, 59 people were sent to West Bengal’s Kolkata from Bengaluru, capital of India’s Karnataka state, on Saturday to push into Bangladesh. They have been kept in West Bengal due to protests by human rights workers there.

Meanwhile, the BGB members detained 32 people while entering Bangladesh from India through Gatipara border area in Benapole, Jashore early Sunday.

UNB adds: acting on a tip off that a large number of people will intrude the country from India, BGB conducted a drive and detained them from the area, said BGB 49 commander Mozammel Hossain.

Earlier in September this year, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi assured his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina that the NRC in India will have no impact on Bangladesh and there is no need to be worried about it.

India published the final citizenship list in the state of Assam that excluded nearly 2 million people amid fears they could be rendered stateless, UNB reports quoting AP.

The list, known as the National Register of Citizens, intends to identify legal residents and weed out illegal immigrants from the state.

A total of 31.1 million people were included in the list, leaving out over 1.9 million people, according to a statement from the government of Assam.