Bangladesh should take preparations in light of recent developments in neighbouring India over its National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, eminent jurist Dr Shahdeen Malik said yesterday.
Consequences of what is happening in India could be felt in Bangladesh in future, he told a programme at the capital’s Jatiya Press Club.
“I am not saying we have to face a great crisis… However, concerns cannot be brushed aside,” he added.
The government has to take preparations to this end, including on legal aspects, he further said.
Shahdeen Malik said Bangladesh is already facing a crisis regarding the Rohingyas, and that a “political narrative” has been developed over the last couple of years on the issue which is “the border was opened for them on humanitarian grounds”.
However, it’s an international legal obligation of any country to open its border to persons who are fleeing persecution, he said.
The jurist said such a narrative has been developed largely because of lack of knowledge on relevant international law, and stressed on developing further expertise on “refugee laws” at the government level.
Expressing her concern over India’s NRC and CAA issues, Prof Tasneem Siddiqui of Dhaka University’s Political Science department said the government should form a taskforce to deal with the concerns.
The taskforce could comprise politicians from ruling and opposition parties and experts. They should sit for strategic planning immediately, she said.
“We should be aware of the present situation, keeping in mind that there have been incidents of ‘push-in’ and ‘push-back’ in the past,” she added.
Although the Indian Prime Minister has verbally assured Bangladesh about the current situation in India, people could flee the country in fear and try to take refuge in Bangladesh, she added.