NEW DELHI – Calling the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) “unnecessary”, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that she could not understand why the (CAA) has been brought in by the Indian government.
Hasina said this in an interview to the Gulf News at Abu Dhabi, where she is on a visit to hold high-level bilateral meetings.
“We don’t understand why (the Indian government) did it. It was not necessary,” Hasina told Gulf News.
“Bangladesh has always maintained that the CAA and NRC are internal matters of India. The Government of India, on their part, has also repeatedly maintained that the NRC is an internal exercise of India and Prime Minister Modi has in person assured me of the same during my visit to New Delhi in October 2019,” she added.
The CAA passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019, grants citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian illegal immigrants who came from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 2014. The government has been facing massive protest and criticism for bringing in the citizenship law which discriminates against Muslims.
The law came into effect last month.
Soon after the CAA was passed, Dhaka canceled its high-level visits and meetings in New Delhi. Hasina’s description of the law now as “unnecessary” is in line with the concerns in Bangladesh establishment that the CAA might trigger reverse migration of Bangladesh illegal immigrants living in India.
However, Hasina in her interview said there was no reverse migration from India to Bangladesh yet.
Dhaka has also denied there has been any religious persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh. “But within India, people are facing many problems,” Hasina said vaguely to the Gulf News.