Why Bangladesh needs to ask India about the fate of 4 million people not on NRC draft list
Experts in Dhaka are of the view that these people can try to enter the country.
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Four million people have been excluded from the list of Indian citizens in Assam after the National Register for Citizens (NRC) was released on July 30. There are concerns over the fate of these four million people.
According to media reports, those whose names have been dropped from Assam's NRC list are mostly Bengali-speaking Muslims.
Many political leaders have referred to them as illegal Bangladeshis even in the past saying they will be sent back to Bangladesh.
It is thus important to understand how Bangladesh views the problem.
In this context, what is the reason for the matter, whether there is any cause of concern for Bangladesh?
Bangladesh is not in favour of people entering any country illegally. (Source: Reuters)
Bangladesh, on its part, has maintained that NRC is India's internal matter — not a bilateral issue.
On July 31, I happened to speak to Bangladesh information minister Hasanul Haq Inu MP regarding the issue.
Inu claims that there are no Bangladeshi migrants in Assam, the state's illegal immigrants are India's internal problem and the problem has to be resolved by the Indian government.
He also said that those creating problems in Assam are India's own citizens.
He also said that Bangladesh is not in favour of people entering any country illegally. Bangladesh is trying to send illegal Rohingyas back to Myanmar.
Inu claimed that India shouldn't declare the people excluded from the NRC list as Bangladeshi nationals.
Professor Roksana Kibria of Dhaka University's International Relations Department, said, "Even though Bangladesh has called NRC India's internal issue the matter could become Dhaka's own issue for the time being."
She said that if the four million people excluded from the NRC are forced back into Bangladesh, it could very well become our issue.
So, the big question has already been raised in Bangladesh - are these four million people, excluded from the citizen's list, going to cross into Bangladesh?
The NRC list considers those who came to Assam after March 24, 1971, as illegal immigrants.
The problem for both India and Bangladesh is where will these people go?
Experts in Bangladesh are of the view that these people can try to enter the country and that is the reason why it is so important for Dhaka to discuss the issue with India.
Bangladesh is not ready to face a Rohingya-like situation so it must discuss the issue with India.
Rather than wait for New Delhi to raise the issue, Dhaka should demand that India clarify its position on the matter.