Protestors shout slogans as they face security officers during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Guwahati
On Wednesday, as protests broke out in Guwahati, the convoy of Bangladesh’s Assistant High Commissioner in Guwahati — a mid-level diplomat — was reportedly attacked, and two signposts of the Bangladesh Assistant High Commission were vandalised. Protesting against these incidents, Bangladesh’s Acting Foreign Secretary Kamrul Ahsan, in a rare move, summoned Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das at the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry on Thursday evening and requested extra security for the mission.
Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque is at The Hague for the ICJ hearing on the Rohingya issue.
According to officials, the security vehicle escorting Shah Mohammad Tanvir Monsur, Bangladesh’s Assistant High Commissioner in Guwahati, was attacked by protesters on Wednesday. Some protesters also tore down two signposts of the Bangladesh Assistant High Commission, close to the chancery premises.
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“Monsur landed in Guwahati, after consultations in Delhi, on Wednesday and was stranded at the airport along with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. He was escorted out of the airport by security personnel; on his way to the mission, some protesters targeted one of the police escort vehicles. Monsur was not harmed, nor was his vehicle attacked,” said a source.
“The authorities asked him to shift to a hotel if he wanted, and assured that security would be provided there. But he did not shift to a hotel, and has been staying at his residence,” said the source.
Sources said the Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh assured the authorities in Dhaka that New Delhi was being immediately alerted to enhance the security of the chancery and residential premises of the Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner in Guwahati.
“The appropriate Indian authorities have already taken enhanced security measures to protect the Assistant High Commission’s premises, its personnel and members of their families,” the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry said.
It said the “government of Bangladesh believes that the attack on the convoy of the Assistant High Commissioner and vandalisation of the signposts was a one-off incident, and will not affect the excellent bilateral relations that Bangladesh and India enjoy”.
On Thursday, two top ministers in the Sheikh Hasina-led government — Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan — cancelled their visits to India. Momen said on Wednesday that the new citizenship law could weaken India’s character as a secular nation and rejected allegations that minorities were facing religious persecution in his country.