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Dr Momen rubbishes Indian minister’s ridiculous comment on Bangladesh

  • Published at 11:08 pm February 10th, 2020
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen
File photo of Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Half of Bangladesh’s populace will leave country if offered Indian citizenship, says junior Indian Home Minister

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen rubbished the notion of the Indian State Minister for Home Affairs, who said that half of the Bangladesh’s population will leave the country if the citizenship of India is offered to Bangladeshis.

G Kishan Reddy, a right wing Hindu nationalist leader and a deputy to Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, made the ridiculous comment about Bangladesh on Sunday, report Indian media.

“I don’t want to make any comment. I really don’t know why he (the Indian minister) said what he said,” Foreign Minister Dr Momen told Dhaka Tribune on Monday when his comment was sought as regards to the remarks of Reddy.

“In most parts of our country, Bangladesh is well ahead of India in terms of all social indicators. So, why will Bangladeshis go to India?” he said.

“On the contrary, Indians badly want to come to Bangladesh,” he added.

When asked whether this type of comments from the Indian minister is helpful to the Dhaka-Delhi relationship, the Foreign Minister avoided a direct reply and advised this correspondent to stay in touch with Reddy.

However, he said, “All I can say is Bangladesh is well ahead of India.”

Despite repeated attempts, two officials concerned of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka could not be reached for comment.            

“Half of the citizens of Bangladesh will leave the country if India offers citizenship to them,” Reddy was quoted as saying.

He said, “Half of Bangladesh will be empty (vacant) if India offers citizenship to them (Bangladeshis). Half of Bangladeshis will come over to India if citizenship is promised (to them). Who will take responsibility? K Chandrasekhar Rao (Telangana Chief Minister)? or Rahul Gandhi (Congress leader)?." 

Reddy was speaking at a religious gathering in Hyderabad, the capital of southern India's Telangana state.

He also challenged Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, who appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rethink on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) law, asking him to prove in what way the CAA was against the people living in India.

"They seek citizenship for infiltrators. Indian government is ready to review the CAA if it has one word against anyone of the 1.3 billion citizens, but not for Pakistani or Bangladeshi Muslims," he said.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Citizens’ Register (NRC) were a key part of the election manifesto of Modi's ruling Hindu nationalist party.

Indian government believes the legislation is needed to protect refugees across south Asia. The CAA aims to fast-track citizenship for persecuted Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians who arrived in India before December 31, 2014, from Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Clashes between protesters and police leaving at least 25 dead have been a regular occurrence since December 12, when the government passed the legislation.

Tens of thousands protested in India’s financial hub of Mumbai, as well as Lucknow, the capital of populous Uttar Pradesh state which has seen the highest number of deaths since the unrest began. Both were predominantly female-led.