Hindus In Bangladesh Upset By Indian Citizenship Amendment Bill

India has been in the glare of international media after the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill or CAB.  With CAB, the Modi Government had laid a path to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted migrants i.e. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before 31 December 2014.

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Not only two Bangladeshi ministers cancelled their scheduled visit to India, minority communities in Bangladesh i.e. Hindus and Buddhists have also rejected the Indian legislation and reference made in the Indian parliament about their persecution as per claims by the AA.

Speaking in the parliament, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah stated that the massacre of Hindus has not stopped in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has called for bringing the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdul Momen called the allegation as incorrect. He called the new Indian law as conflicting with the country’s historic secular values. He earlier cancelled his planned India visit last week.

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Home Minister Assaduzzaman Khan Kamal said, while adopting or altering legislation was India’s internal matter, accusations about the tormenting of minorities in our country are “totally baseless and false”.

He termed the speeches made in the Indian parliament regarding the persecution of minorities in Bangladesh as “nonsense”. He claimed that there was no report of any communal violence in Bangladesh over the past 11 years.

Minorities speak

Talking to Anadolu Agency, noted film actor and convener of Sampriti Bangladesh, Pijush Bandyopadhyay, said Hindus in the country were living in utmost communal harmony.

“Just look at Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha and Durga puja and Christmas, you see spontaneous participation of all people regardless of ethnic and communal identity,” he added.

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He said Bangladesh has a history of living with amity and communal harmony. “Any isolated incident from any part of the country cannot be defined as overall harassment,” he said.

Appreciating religious harmony under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, leader of the Buddhist community Dilip Barua said his community does not face any persecution, as alleged by various Indian lawmakers while defending the controversial legislation.

“This allegation of India amounted to challenging the spirit of Bangladesh’s liberation war,” he said. He blamed India’s ruling BJP of plotting to turn their country into a Hindu nationalist state. He said due to Indian actions, communal harmony in Bangladesh may also come under pressure. “But through the spirit of real democracy, we will overcome this challenge,” Barua added.

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Reaction of political leaders

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s joint secretary general Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal attacked India for designing ethnic cleansing.

“The world knows very well about the deadly communal riots in India in the state of Gujarat in 2002. The current ruling Hindu nationalist BJP is an offshoot of ultra-Hindu nationalist organization, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh which has been responsible for anti-Muslim riots in India,” he said.

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“In our country, there is no record of communal tension under state patronization. People are harmoniously living here for many generations,” he added. He said in the northeastern state of Assam, an operation to identify illegal immigrants have kept 1.9 million people out of the citizenship list.

“Irony is that relatives of even India’s former President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed have been kept out of the citizenship list,” he said.

Terming the religious harmony in Bangladesh far better than in India, Shafiqur Rahman, head of the country’s largest Islamic political party Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, said his country does not discriminate between majority or minority.

“We believe that all are the citizens of Bangladesh and deserve equal human rights,” he said. He termed the Indian amendment to the citizenship law as “totally discriminatory”.

Originally Reported By Anadolu Agency