A K Abdul Momen, the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh on Sunday said, that the country has requested India to provide them with a list of Bangladeshi nationals illegally residing in the country if there were any and that they would be allowed to return to Bangladesh.
Momen cancelled his visit to India on Thursday citing his ‘busy schedule’ and days of national significance (Martyred Intellectuals Day and Victory Day) coinciding with the visit. He also stated the absence of the minister of state for foreign affairs and the minister’s secretary as a reason for the cancellation. He said that India-Bangladesh relations are cordial and ‘very sweet’ and that the cancellation would not affect the relationship between the neighbours. The move comes shortly after he deemed Home Minister Amit Shah’s comments on religious minorities being persecuted in Bangladesh as ‘untrue’.
When asked about the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) that India was building in the state of Assam, he said that it was an internal matter and it will not affect Bangladesh. The Foreign Minister implied that scores of Indians were illegally migrating to Bangladesh through middlemen due to the approval of the NRC and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. He also said that the economic situation in Bangladesh was better and that there was an arrangement for free food for the poor of the country.
Momen said that Dhaka has requested New Delhi for a list of Bangladeshi’s illegally residing in India if any, so that they could be repatriated. “Bangladesh citizens maintain their rights to come back home. We would send the other people if any,” he added. He hoped that India would follow standard operating procedures on sending Bangladeshis back to their homeland.