NEW DELHI: Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said it is true there have been incidents of attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh, but the government of Bangladesh has taken action against the attackers.
She said this while replying to a query of a member of the House.Swaraj also said the number of Hindu population in Bangladesh marked a rise by two percent in 2017 although there is a perception in India that the number of Hindus is declining.
The Indian minister also referred to the official records of Bangladesh government in parliament.
While informing the House about demographic changes in Bangladesh, she said, quoting Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, in 2011 there were 8.4 per cent Hindus in the country, which have risen to 10.7 per cent in 2017.
“A perception persists in India that Hindus are migrating from Bangladesh and their population is falling there,” she told the House.
Responding to queries in Rajya Sabha, Swaraj also said her government has raised the issue of the plight of minorities in Pakistan,
Bangladesh and other countries at bilateral level and made efforts to take them to a logical conclusion.She urged the members of the House to pass the Citizenship Act amendment bill, pending in the Upper House, to help resolve issues pertaining to atrocities and attacks on minorities, including those in Pakistan.
In her written reply, she said there have been reports of violence and harassment against the members of minority communities in neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, which include killings, persecution, intimidation, abduction, forced conversions, desecration and vandalism at places of worship and attacks on business establishments.
“These incidents are a matter of concern to the government. Concerns regarding the matter are regularly conveyed to the respective countries at bilateral level,” she said.
Swaraj also said that the government of Bangladesh has made it clear that it considers the attacks against the members of minority communities a serious matter and it takes stern action against the perpetrators.
Citing the Brahmanbaria incident in Bangladesh, she said 67 people were arrested there and a judicial process is underway and the culprits are in jail.
Similarly, she said, another incident happened in Rangpur and the person who tried to incite the locals is also in jail and a judicial process is also going on in this case.
“We don’t remain silent by just raising it bilaterally, we also ensure to take them to a logical conclusion,” she said.
“We have not just introduced, but also got the Citizenship Act passed in the Lok Sabha and would urge the Rajya House to pass the same as it is pending in this House,” she stated.
The minister said all the issues will be resolved if they get citizenship here and India provides them a two-year long-term visa initially and then a five-year long-term visa.
“Our Citizenship Act says that after seven years, if they stay here, they can be granted citizenship,” she said.
“I would urge the members to pass the Citizenship Act amendment bill in this session as the last session could not function. All problems pertaining to such issues will be resolved,” she maintained.
The minister also said that the government had raised the issue of ill-treatment on minorities in Pakistan.