Citizenship Law Unnecessary But Is India's Internal Matter: Bangladesh PM

Sheikh Hasina's remarks come weeks after Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said that the CAA and the NRC are India's "internal issues".

New Delhi/ Dhaka:

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that the Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA is India's "internal matter", dismissing the law as "unnecessary" in the same breath. "We don't understand why [the Indian government] did it. It was not necessary," Ms Hasina told Gulf News in an interview.

"Bangladesh has always maintained that the CAA and the National Register of Citizens 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," she was quoted as saying by the daily

Protests have swept the nation against the new citizenship law that cleared the parliament last month. Government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-majority nations - Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan - to get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution before 2015.

The National Register of Citizens or NRC, on the other hand, aims to identify illegal immigrants settled in the country. Critics have claimed that the CAA is a precursor to a nationwide NRC, putting millions of the country's Muslim citizens at risk of persecution once the entire process is completed.

Ms Hasina's remarks come weeks after Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said that the CAA and the NRC are India's "internal issues". He, however, had also called the nationwide protests "worrisome".

"We are India's Number 1 friend. Indian government assured us again and again that these are their domestic issues, they are doing it because of legal and other reasons. But our fear is that if there is some uncertainty in India, it might affect its neighbours," Mr Memon was quoted as saying by PTI on the widespread protests against CAA and NRC in the country.

"That is worrisome. We hope the situation cools down and India can get out of it...It is their internal issue. It is not our issue. They should deal with it," he said.

In her interview, Ms Hasina also said there has been "no recorded migration from India" to Bangladesh where about 10.7 per cent of total population of 160 million people are Hindus. "No, there is no reverse migration from India. But within India, people are facing many problems," she said. 

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