"First Burn Wives' Sarees": Sheikh Hasina Slams Rivals' India Boycott Call

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina said that when the BNP was in power, ministers and their wives would buy sarees on India trips and sell them in Bangladesh

'First Burn Wives' Sarees': Sheikh Hasina Slams Rivals' India Boycott Call

Sheikh Hasina has slapped Opposition leaders calling for boycott of Indian products

New Delhi:

Opposition leaders demanding a boycott of Indian products must declare how many Indian sarees their wives have and why they are not setting these on fire, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said.

Addressing a meeting of the ruling Awami League, of which she is the president, Ms Hasina tore into the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leaders calling for a boycott of Indian products. "My question is, how many Indian sarees do their wives have? And why are they not taking the sarees from their wives and setting them on fire? Please ask BNP leaders," she said.

The Bangladesh Prime Minister, who secured the fourth consecutive term in office in the elections held earlier this year, said that when the BNP was in power, ministers and their wives would buy sarees on India trips and sell them in Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina then moved to Indian spices and their role in Bangladesh's kitchens. "Garam masala, onions, garlic, ginger, all spices that come (from India) should not be seen in their (BNP leaders') homes," she said.

The remarks came after BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi threw away his Kashmiri shawl on the road as a symbolic protest against Indian products, The Daily Star reported.

The developments are taking place against the backdrop of an 'India-Out' campaign in Bangladesh. Launched by some activists and influencers and backed by a section of Opposition politicians, the campaign has gathered steam after the Awami League's recent victory in an election boycotted by the Opposition BNP.

Those involved in the campaign claim India has been backing Sheikh Hasina to stay on in power because the status quo suits its interests.

While some BNP leaders such as Mr Rizvi have voiced support for the campaign, the party has not spelt out its stand clearly. "Our policymaking body discussed the issue when some leaders wanted clarity on the party's stand on the boycott call. Till now, our party doesn't have any official stand on it. But it is also true that this is a call from the people and some of our leaders are supporting it," said Sayrul Kabir Khan, a member of BNP's media cell, The Telegraph has reported.