By describing Bangladeshis as ‘termites’ and accusing them of ‘infiltrating’ India, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah has made an ‘unwanted’ remark, a senior minister of the Government of Bangaldesh has said.
Speaking to The Hindu, Minister of Information Hasanul Haq Inu said Shah was not qualified to speak on India-Bangladesh relationship and that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had assured Dhaka that people excluded from Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise would not be sent to Bangladesh.
‘Not official statement’
“Amit Shah has made an unwanted remark by describing Bangladeshis as termites. We in Dhaka do not give any importance to his statement as it does not carry the gravity of an official statement of India. We have maintained that the NRC process in Assam and the welfare of the Bengali-speaking citizens of India are internal issues of India,” Inu said, explaining that India’s official position has been conveyed by Rajnath Singh already.
The senior Bangladesh minister’s response came after Shah, during a rally in Sawai Madhopur’s Gangapur on Saturday, alleged that Bangladeshi citizens had infiltrated India and said, “the infiltrators have eaten our country like termites.” He repeated the remarks in Delhi on Sunday and promised that if re-elected the BJP would carry out a countrywide exercise to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and send them back.
Responding to Shah’s remarks, the Minister, a veteran of the 1971 War of Liberation, said the BJP chief is perhaps uninformed about the dialogue that India and Bangladesh have held at the official level on the NRC in Assam.
“Minister of Home Affairs of India Rajnath Singh as well as Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla, based in Dhaka, have assured us that the NRC process of Assam is an internal issue of India and that not a single Bengali-speaking person will be sent to Bangladesh,” Inu said.