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Bangladesh won�t be impacted by NRC: India

By The Assam Tribune

DHAKA, March 2 - India on Monday assured Dhaka that the updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam will have �no implications� for Bangladesh, asserting that it is an �entirely internal� process carried out at the direction and under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan cancelled their visits to India in December over prevailing situation following the passage of a new citizenship bill by the Indian Parliament.

Dhaka was also apparently upset following the roll out of the NRC in Assam even though India repeatedly conveyed to it that the issue was an internal matter of the country.

Speaking at a seminar titled �Bangladesh & India: A Promising Future� in Dhaka, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the process of updating the NRC in Assam took place entirely at the direction and under the supervision of the Supreme Court of India.

�Let me clearly state here what our leadership has repeatedly confirmed at the highest level to the Government of Bangladesh: this is a process that is entirely internal to India.

�Therefore, there will be no implications for the Government and people of Bangladesh. You have our assurance on that count,� Shringla told the audience which included Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina�s international affairs adviser Gowher Rizvi.

The Foreign Secretary, who previously served as India�s high commissioner in Dhaka, is the first senior most Indian official to visit Bangladesh after the amended citizenship bill was passed by Parliament.

Dhaka is worried over reports that India may send back thousands of Bangladeshi immigrants under the new citizenship law according to which members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 following religious persecution there will get Indian citizenship.

Prime Minister Hasina had taken up the issue of NRC with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their bilateral meeting in New York in September.

Addressing the seminar, Rizvi said Dhaka does not like to see any situation in India that could affect Bangladesh�s secular social fabric.

�Our commitment to secularism is absolutely central and we do not want to see any situation where our secularism will be threatened anyway,� he said.

Rizvi expressed Dhaka�s willingness for continued close cooperation with India to ensure that �our secularity in society grows from strength to strength�.

He said minorities in Bangladesh were �absolutely equal citizens� with the government attaching the highest priority in protecting and addressing their rights and issues, and there was no way Bangladesh would ignore a situation when minorities were affected in any possible way.

Rizvi described India�s NRC as a burning issue but expected it to remain as an internal or domestic affair of the country as stated repeatedly by Prime Minister Modi having no impact on Bangladesh. � PTI

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