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Dhaka concerned over killings of Bangladeshis along the border

  • Published at 03:59 pm January 12th, 2020
BSF-border-Indo-Bangla
File photo: Members of Indian paramilitary force Border Security Force (BSF) guards the Indo-Bangla border Dhaka Tribune

It’s untrue that Bangladesh is not giving visas to Kashmiri students, Momen says

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has expressed concerns over the killings of Bangladeshis by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) along the border between the two countries.

He also said that Dhaka has already communicated with New Delhi to bring the killing to nil.

Speaking at a press conference at the Foreign Ministry organised for the prime minister’s three-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that began on Sunday, he also brushed aside media reports that Bangladesh is not granting visas to students from Indian-administered Kashmir.

“We are concerned like you. We have already sent a message to New Delhi so that no killing takes place along the border,” Dr Momen said.

After a decline in 2018, the killings of Bangladeshi civilians by the Indian BSF increased manifold in 2019. In the first twelve days of 2020, there have already been multiple killings by the BSF.

“India has agreed to stop the killing. But, despite that, these (the killings) are happening,” said the minister, adding that India will be asked to comply with what they pledged earlier.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen speaks to the media about the prime minister’s visit to Abu Dhabi on January 12, 2020 | PIDAbout media reports that Bangladesh is not granting visas to students of Indian-administered Kashmir, Dr Momen said, “It’s not true. Nothing like this happened. We are granting visas to everybody.”

Quoting Kashmiri students, Indian media outlets reported that Bangladeshi missions in India "are not giving visas to Kashmiri medical students for a long time after being instructed by the Indian government."

The foreign minister also made it clear that contrary to media reports, the visit of state minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam to India to attend a conference was postponed as he is a part of the prime minister’s entourage visiting the UAE.

The relationship between Bangladesh and India is ‘very warm’, he stressed.

'PM’s UAE visit focuses on SDGs, envoy’s conference'

The foreign minister said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will highlight Dhaka’s position in implementing SDGs during her UAE visit, where she is also set to give directives to Bangladesh envoys in West Asia regarding current Middle East situation, reports BSS.

“During the visit, the prime minister will get opportunities to apprise the world leaders of the initiatives taken by Bangladesh in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he told newsmen.

The prime minister left Dhaka last afternoon for Abu Dhabi on a three-day official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to attend “Abu Dhabi Sustainable Week” and “Zayed Sustainable Awards Ceremony”.

The foreign minister said the prime minister will also give a detailed overview to the participating world leaders about Bangladesh government’s initiatives in the field of energy, health care, climate change, water, and biotechnology to achieve “Vision 2041” to turn Bangladesh into a developed country.

Two instruments likely to be signed 

During the visit, Momen said two instruments are likely to be signed between Bangladesh and the UAE.

The agreements are: ‘Addendum to the MoU signed between Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) and Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Bangladesh’ and ‘Protocol of Amendment to the Agreement on allotment of land plot in Baridhara Diplomatic Enclave’, Dhaka for Construction of Embassy Premises.

The foreign minister said the prime minister will also attend an envoy’s conference during the visit where Bangladesh Ambassadors to Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arab, and the UAE will participate.

At the conference, Momen said, the prime minister will give directives to the Bangladesh envoys about Dhaka’s role amid the current tense situation in the Middle East.

The foreign minister said Bangladesh’s position is always in favour of peace and stability and follows its core diplomatic motto – friendship to all, malice to none. “War is not an answer,” he said, adding that Bangladesh would like to see stability, peace and national integrity all over the world.

Momen said the prime minister is also likely to give directives to Bangladeshi envoys on how they can attract more investment for Bangladesh from the Middle Eastern nations.

The prime minister is also set to discuss about the various plans of the Bangladesh missions in West Asia regarding celebrating the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Momen said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to meet with UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan and wife of UAE Founder and Founding President Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi on January 14.

Momen hoped that the Prime Minister’s visit to the UAE will also help to create more job opportunities for Bangladeshi workforce in the oil rich country.

A VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying the premier and her entourage members departed Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) in Dhaka for Abu Dhabi in the afternoon.

The flight is scheduled to reach Abu Dhabi International Airport at 8.55pm (local time) where Bangladesh Ambassador to the UAE Muhammad Imran will receive the premier.

After the reception at the airport, a ceremonial motorcade will escort the premier to Shangri-La Hotel in Abu Dhabi, where she will be staying during her visit to the UAE.

On January 13, Sheikh Hasina is expected to attend the “Abu Dhabi Sustainable Week” at 11am and “Zayed Sustainable Awards Ceremony” at 12pm at ICC Hall, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

Later at 6:30 in the evening, the premier will join the Envoy’s conference at her place of residence.

On January 14, apart from holding bilateral meetings with UAE leaders, the premier will also attend an interview session on “The Critical Role of Women in Delivering Climate Action” at Hall-11 of the ADNEC.

Concluding the three-day official visit to the UAE, the premier will return home on January 14.