Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has refuted an Indian minister’s comment and categorically said that not a single Bangladeshi migrated to the neighboring country after 1971.
Speaking exclusively to News18 from Dhaka, Khan said, “Yes, I am aware of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) list announced in Assam. It is purely an internal matter of India and we have nothing to do with it.”“Bangladesh has nothing to do with NRC. I repeat, it is India’s internal matter. I don’t know who said what in this matter. Let India inform us officially first and then we will respond. All I can say is that no one from Bangladesh migrated to India after 1971. It may be possible that they settled (mainly Bengalis) in Assam from various parts of India itself, but not Bangladesh,” he told India’s News 18 agency.
On Saturday, Assam’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the convener of the ruling National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) North East wing North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), said, “Bangladesh is a friend to India and they are cooperating with us. They are frequently taking back their people when we have presented cases of illegal immigration. The number has not been high, but now we will have a process to identify them.”
Asked about Sarma’s statement, Khan said, “Ever since Bangladesh was created, India has been with us. Our relationship with India is excellent. India is our friend, but as far as NRC is concerned, I can say
that no one from Bangladesh went to India after 1971. I don’t think that the Indian government will push anyone towards Bangladesh,” he added.
The Assam minister’s comment comes after the National Register of Citizens (NRC), released on Saturday, stripped more than 19 lakh people in the north-eastern state of Assam of their citizenship.
Some politicians and quarters in India have been spreading rumours that the NRC-excluded people including Bangladeshi migrants.Meanwhile, most of the Indian newspapers published editorials, strongly suggesting that the government should abandon the process of NRC as it did not yield any desired results.
In the final draft of NRC, out of 3.30 crore applicants, 31.11 crore names have been found to be eligible for inclusion in updated NRC.
Those who have been excluded from the NRC will have 120 days to file appeals with the Foreigners Tribunals.
Later in the day, Sarma told News18 that said the updating process was after all not a futile exercise. “This has been a mixed bag for us. People who came in post-1971 as refugees will face problems. We sympathise with them, but there are many who have manipulated the NRC process and we will look into it,” he said.