India’s Anti-Muslim Immigrant Law: Bangladesh Wants Written Assurance

Sajjad Shaukat

Since the leader of the Awami League (AL) and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina Wajid came to power, she has been fulfilling Indian interests at the cost of Pakistan. In pursuance of Indian secret directions by conducting anti-Pakistan campaign, after passing of 42 years to the events of 1971, which resulted into the separation of East Pakistan—in connivance with the judiciary, she hurriedly executed her political opponent Abdul Qadir Mullah-leader of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), including some other leaders of the JI.

By setting aside the water dispute and border issue with India, during her visit to New Delhi on April 8, 2017, PM Hasina Wajid signed 22 agreements with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the fields of defence cooperation, civil nuclear energy among other ones. Both the countries also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) through which India would extend a line of credit of $500 million to support Bangladesh’s defence-related procurements.

Bangladeshi newspapers had showed un-easiness among the masses in Bangladesh regarding the defense deal between India and Bangladesh. Opposition parties also criticized the defence deal by saying that Hasina Wajid wants Bangladesh to become a colony of India.

It is notable that, Sheikh Hasina had won the general elections 2014 in wake of bloodshed due to her dictatorial steps. In this respect, head of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Begum Khaleda Zia who was leading the alliance of the opposition parties had boycotted the general elections. Police besieged the Begum Khaleda Zia’s in her office. In order to keep herself in power, Prime Minister Hasina amended the constitution for holding of elections under a non-party set up and the opposition accused her of manipulating the electoral process to establish one party state. The country’s largest religious party JI was also banned from taking part in the elections.

Regarding general elections 2018, the opposition parties, foreign governments, media and human rights said that the ruling party Awami League was involved in vote-rigging in the elections which were marred by deadly clashes and a crackdown on the media. To what extent Premier Hasina has been strangulating the opposition and her political rivals could be judged from the development that on February 8, 2018, when in collaboration with the government, a court in Dhaka sentenced the two-time—former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to five years rigorous imprisonment.

Taking cognizance of Hasina Wajid’s pro-Indian tilt, a writer has rightly remarked, “Hasina Wajid again started Honey Moon Period of relationship with India.” But, this relationship proved fruitless since Indian fanatic government adopted the Anti-Muslims law—the Indian Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA), passed by the Indian Parliament. The CAA (The National Register of Citizenship) is against the Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Despite violent protests across India, the Modi-led government has not withdrawn the CAA.

In this respect, quoting sources, the Indian news website The on December 22 and December 30, 2019: “CAA is one of the world’s greatest discriminatory laws based on religion…The citizenship law is against the Indian Constitution and what it means to be an Indian. Apart from destabilizing the internal situation, CAA has given birth to multiple regional problems and crisis. The implementation of CAA means millions of stateless refugees (mainly Muslims), and Bangladesh being in close proximity and access will have to bear the maximum load…The fundamentalist BJP party, owing to its strength in Parliament has chosen a path to make India a pure breed Hindu country. The amended Citizenship Act is an injustice not only against the Muslim community, but also Dalits, Tribal (Adivasi), Vanvasi, Tamil, Gorkha and atheist…Bangladesh has sought a written assurance from the Narendra Modi government that it won’t send immigrants across the border after the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act. The Bangladesh government had made a similar demand when PM Bangladesh was on a private visit to India after the NRC exercise was carried out in Assam. At the time, India had given a verbal assurance to Bangladesh that those rendered “foreigners” under the NRC in Assam will not be sent to Bangladesh. However, it had refused to give a written assurance, stating that the exercise was carried out as per directions of the Supreme Court. However, after the passage of CAA in Parliament, fresh concerns have cropped up within the political leadership in Bangladesh that India may now “push” Muslim immigrants deemed illegal under the Act across the border. Now the Indian government does not have compulsions of the court, so a written assurance will not be difficult. India does not seem to have given any kind of assurance to Dhaka yet that such a sovereign guarantee will be given. A visit to India by Bangladesh Foreign Affairs Minister A.K. Abdul Momen and Home Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Khan was also cancelled as tensions peaked in India over the CAA.”

Fearing that Muslim refugees, living in India might return to Bangladesh, the Bangladesh government on December 31, 2019 suspended mobile services in areas along the border. Media reported that the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) had issued an order for suspension of services on December 30, 2019. BTRC in its order to telecommunications service providers-Grameenphone, Teletalk, Robi and Banglalink had asked them to suspend the network in border areas “until further notice for the sake of the country’s security in the current circumstances”. The decision has affected around 10 million users in 32 districts of Bangladesh along the border. The decision was taken by the government after a high-level meeting.”

It is mentionable that Bangladesh had faced similar situation when Rohingyas from Myanmar’s Rakhine State started facing forcible displacement in 2015. They were considered stateless entities as the Myanmar government does not recognise them as an ethnic group—thousands had to escape to refugee camps in Bangladesh. Cox Bazar largest refugee camp, as more than 900,000 Rohingyas immigration of Bangalis from India will aggravate situation.

The international community must be made aware of the mess India (BJP) has created. More over the staunch attitude of Indian government despite serious indicators and warnings clearly indicate a neo-Nazi mind set driven by the RSS ideology.

The Indian extremist rulers have not paid any kind of attention to voices of concerns from international community. Western countries, particularly US, UK, EU and OIC have communicated their point of view to New Delhi. But, BJP is taking full leverage of its huge market and trade relations with them and has ignored all kind of concerns. Therefore, using the CAA-NRC to advance the anti-Muslim political agenda of the BJP and the RSS, besides Pakistan and Pakistan, New Delhi has also targeted Bangladesh.

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