Trespassing of people into Bangladesh from India might be an issue of discomfort for Bangladesh, said Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader yesterday amid concerns over India’s National Register of Citizenship (NRC).
“It may be a reason for a little bit discomfort for the time being … we will solve the problem through discussion as we did in the past,” Quader, also road transport and bridges minister, told a press briefing at his secretariat office.
He said there was no tension between India and Bangladesh over the issue as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar time and again told Bangladesh not to worry about the NRC.
“We have faith in their assurances,” said Quader, adding, “We are observing the matter.”
“We will be worried when it will be a question of Bangladesh’s interest. However, we are solving all problems through dialogue. So, there is nothing to be worried about,” he said.
Asked about the trespassing of people from India, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said Dhaka was keeping an eye on the issue.
“We are watching … It is under the government’s observation,” he told The Daily Star by phone yesterday.
The issue came to the fore after Border Guard Bangladesh detained 329 people and handed them over to police for trespassing into Bangladesh from India in the last three weeks.
The people, who entered the country through the borders in Jhenidah and Benapole of Jashore, were sent to district jails by courts, BGB and police said.
The detainees claimed to be Bangladeshis, but could not provide any evidence to support their claims. They said they fled from India, fearing harassment and detention by the police there.
The NRC in Assam of India has excluded more than 19.96 million people in the state. To prove their Indian citizenship, they can go to the court, but what happens if anyone fails to prove citizenship is not clear.
India and Bangladesh in formal meetings said the NRC is India’s internal issue and would not affect Bangladesh, but Indian Home Minister and ruling BJP President Amith Shah on various occasions said the NRC would be implemented all across India and the illegal migrants would be identified and deported.