New Delhi (Sputnik): Bangladesh has termed the controversy over the draft citizen's list issued by the northeast Indian state of Assam with the purported aim of weeding out illegal Bangladeshi settlers as "India's local internal matter with ethnic undertones."
"This is an internal issue for Assam and India and Bangladesh has nothing to do with it," Bangladesh's Information Minister Hasanul Haque told an Indian news channel WION.
The Minister said that in the 48 years of Bangladesh's existence, India has not even once raised the matter of illegal immigrants.
The Home Minister of Bangladesh Asaduzzaman Khan also claimed that it is not fair to say that all those whose names are not in the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) are illegal Bangladeshis.
"It is not logical to believe that they are Bangladeshis and need to be pushed back to our country. I don't think that there is any logic behind this without any firm ground or solid evidence about their identities," Asaduzzaman Khan said.
Over four million names are missing from the first draft of Assam's National Registry of Citizens (NRC) that needed all residents to submit relevant papers proving their lineages before March 1971.
After the release of the first draft of NRC, Rajnath Singh, India's Minister of Home Affairs had said that there is "no need to panic" as "no coercive action will be taken" and anyone can file claims and objections. He further advised the State Government of Assam that no action should be initiated by the administration or the police based on the draft NRC.
Even someone whose name is not in the final list can approach the foreigners tribunal. No coercive action will be taken against anyone, hence there is no need for anyone to panic: Home Minister Rajnath Singh #NRCAssam pic.twitter.com/FID1naBChb— ANI (@ANI) July 30, 2018
The National Register of Citizens prepared in 1951, contains names of Indian citizens of Assam. The NRC was updated in 2014-16 which includes the persons and the families of those who appear in the NRC 1951 or in any of the electoral rolls up to the midnight of 24 March 1971.
During and after the 1971 India-Pakistan war which led to the creation of Bangladesh, several thousands of Muslims, as well as Hindus from the area (erstwhile East Pakistan; now Bangladesh), crossed over to India to take permanent shelter in Assam. Assam has witnessed persistent demands from pressure groups to revise the citizens' register as they believe that illegal settlers have disrupted the social fabric of the state.