Kolkata: A day after 445 Bangladeshi nationals were intercepted on their way back from India, Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said most of them are not illegal immigrants and have nothing to do with the National Register of Citizens or the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Border Guards Bangladesh Major General Shafeenul Islam had claimed to have intercepted the Bangladeshi nationals on Thursday.
“I enquired about what Islam had said. What he meant was they overstayed in India despite their VISA expiry. They had entered India legally with a valid VISA and were intercepted by the BGB on they were returning back to Bangladesh. I would like to clarify that they are not illegal migrants and has nothing to do with NRC and CAA,” Khan told News18.
On the BGB’s claim of detaining over 1,000 people for trespassing into Bangladesh from India in 2019, the Home Minister said, “Yes, it happened but I don’t have the exact figure now.”
The BGB had claimed that they detained 1,102 (including 606 men, 258 women, 235 children and three human traffickers) people for trespassing into Bangladesh from neighbouring India.
“I am aware of NRC and CAA. It is purely an internal matter of India and we have nothing to do with this. I would like to stress on the fact that except few cases no one from Bangladesh had moved to India after 1971. I believe that such issues will not affect our relationship with India,” Khan added.
Earlier, Khan had said, “Why will people from Bangladesh illegally migrate to India? All I can say is that before the Liberation War some Hindus migrated to India but no Muslims went to India illegally after 1971. Bangladesh is not a poor country that people will migrate illegally to India. Our economic growth was 8.15 percent in fiscal 2018-19. Our current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is 8.13 percent and our per capita income stood at 2000 US dollars. You tell me, why someone from Bangladesh would illegally go to India when the living standard in Bangladesh is better”.
Recently, Bangladesh's telecom regulator has ordered operators to shut down services along the border with India citing security reasons, authorities had said in a statement.
Bangladesh was learnt to have been upset the following rollout of the NRC in Assam around four months ago even though India conveyed to it that the issue was an internal matter of the country.