DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said she did not understand the purpose of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed in India that aims to offer citizenship to non-Muslim minorities that have faced persecution in neighbouring countries, Dubai-based English daily Gulf News reported on Saturday (Jan 18).
“We don’t understand why [the Indian government] did it. It was not necessary,” she told Gulf News during an interview in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi.
The CAA was passed by the Parliament of India on December 11, 2019, and provides a path to citizenship for members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian religious minorities who have allegedly fled persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 2014.
Bangladesh, where 10.7 per cent of the 161 million-strong population is Hindu and 0.6 per cent Buddhist, has denied any migration to India because of religious persecution.
The Bangladesh premier also said that there has been no recorded reverse migration from India. “No, there is no reverse migration from India. But within India, people are facing many problems,” Sheikh Hasina said.
Protests and violence have erupted across India since the enactment of the CAA last month, and declarations by the Indian government that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be carried out nationwide. Analysts in Bangladesh have expressed fears that Indian Muslims who are unable to prove their citizenship claims will seek shelter in Bangladesh.
“[Still], it is an internal affair,” Sheikh Hasina said. “Bangladesh has always maintained that the CAA and NRC 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 added.
BDST: 1616 HRS, JAN 19, 2020