Image Courtesy: PTI
Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said that Bangladesh has asked India to provide it with the list of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, living in India. The Minister assured India that his country will allow them to return as they have the right to enter into their own country. He also hoped that India would follow the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for sending illegal migrants back.
The Minister even confirmed that the relations between the two countries are normal and “very sweet” and that the same will not be affected.
He also said that some Indian nationals enter Bangladesh illegally due to economic reasons and said that, “if anybody other than our citizens enters Bangladesh, we will send them back”. He also stated that India has assured Bangladesh that the NRC process is an internal affair and will not affect Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister who was scheduled to visit India cancelled his visit citing reason that his visit clashed with “Vijay Diwas” or Victory Day in India, i.e. December 16. His visit was, however scheduled for December 12 to continue on until December 14. It was later claimed that the visit was cancelled as his junior minister and foreign secretary were both out of the country. He had called Amit Shah’s comments on persecution of minorities in Bangladesh as “untrue” and later said that Amit Shah’s comments were made in reference to when the country was under military rule.
The relations with Bangladesh have been blowing hot and cold. While Bangladesh has raised its concerns before the Indian government, Centre has seemingly managed to convince Dhaka that their relationship will not go sour due to NRC process, which is a process set to determine who are the citizens of India, an exercise similar to the one that took place in Assam, which has excluded over 19 lakh people over speculations that they may not be Indian citizens, leaving their fate to decision of the malfunctioning Foreigners Tribunals.
The chase in progress
One cannot help but look at this big gesture made by Bangladesh with speculation. India has been identifying illegal Bangladeshi immigrants for quite a while now. If Delhi does provide Dhaka with a “list” will it really welcome all the immigrants with open arms? Or is it just a statement glorifying the standard procedure deportation that takes place often? As per the Centre, in 2015, 3,426 people were deported from the states of West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram and 1,154 people were deported from these states in 2019.
Reportedly, towards the end of November, 59 illegal immigrants detained in Bengaluru were being transported to West Bengal to be handed over to officials to be eventually deported to Bangladesh.
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