NEW DELHI: The ripples of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill are being felt in neighbouring Bangladesh as two ministers have cancelled their upcoming visits, though the foreign office urged people not to read too much into the cancellations.
Hours after Bangladesh Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen ‘postponed’ his trip to Delhi, Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan cancelled his visit to Meghalaya citing the unstable situation.
Earlier Momen had cited ‘increased demands at home’ as a reason for cancelling his visit. “I had to cancel my trip to New Delhi as I have to participate in Buddijibi Debosh (Martyred Intellectuals Day - December 14) and Bijoy Debosh (Victory Day of Bangladesh - December 16) and more so as our state minister is out of the country in Madrid and our foreign secretary is in The Hague,” he said.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “We know the visit has been cancelled... I understand the foreign minister has given an explanation. Our relations are strong, like our two leaders have said repeatedly, and I don’t think this cancellation will have any effect.”
India’s former High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty is of the opinion that there are internal pressures building up in Bangladesh which has built a narrative that there are no illegal Bangladeshi migrants in India.
“However, incidents like Bangladeshi migrants fleeing from Bengaluru and returning to their country has raised the bar on this concern. The fear in Bangladesh is that many more will return under pressure in India, after passage of the CAB. Bangladesh is a densely populated country and does not want these migrants to return. Cancellation of the Bangladeshi foreign minister’s visit is a manifestation of these growing concerns in Bangladesh. My view is that both sides should sit down and discuss this issue in a mature manner in of view of our excellent bilateral ties,” he said.
Earlier, the Bangladesh foreign minister told local media that the allegations of religious persecution were untrue. “Whoever gave them the information, it is not correct. Many important decisions of our country are taken by persons belonging to different religions... we never judge anybody by their religion.”
Praising India for being a tolerant country, Momen had said the CAB could lead to the “weakening” of its secular legacy.
Expectations high: Momen
Momen said India and Bangladesh were enjoying “golden chapter” of bilateral ties, “so, naturally our people expect India won’t do anything that can create anxiety among them”.