Even as the publication of the much-anticipated final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) on Monday sparked a political slugfest in India, Bangladesh hasn’t officially reacted to the development. Two of Bangladesh’ national dailies, The Independent and The Daily Star, too did not publish any editorials or opinions on the sensitive issue.
The two newspapers, however, published two news reports that highlighted the discrimination faced by Bangla-speaking Muslims, while broadly concurring on the fact that the Assam NRC draft list is India’s internal matter.
While The Independent, through its story titled ‘Assam drops 40 lakh from citizens’ list’, quoted senior diplomats as saying that Bangla-speaking Muslims are unfortunately branded as ‘illegal Bangaldeshis’, it also reported that ‘Bangladesh has nothing to do with the issue’. The Daily Star, on the other hand, reported that the development could have ‘dangerous implications like that of the Rohingya crisis’, quoting a foreign affairs expert.
At least 40 lakh people found their names excluded from the Assam Draft NRC list published on July 30, Monday. Of the 3.29 crore people who had filled their applications for the NRC, 2.89 crore found their names in the draft list. Even as a sense of uneasiness swept through Assam, the government clarified that for no person a “reference” would be sent to the Foreigners Tribunals nor would anyone be sent to detention camps. Also Read: Assam NRC becomes latest flashpoint between govt and Opposition: What has happened so far
What The Independent said in its story titled ‘Assam drops 40 lakh from citizens’ list’
“Senior Diplomats and officials said it was India’s internal matter and Bangladesh has nothing to do with it. They also said that although Bangla-speaking Muslims are unfortunately branded as ‘illegal Bangaldeshis’, the Indian government has never raised this issue with the Bangladeshi government.”
The report further added: “Another Bangladeshi diplomat said that there are avenues to be included in the list later on, the problem is that those excluded will be vulnerable in society due to the absence of their names on the list. It is all but certain that the overwhelming majority of those excluded are Bangla-speaking Muslims. These people have always been subject to discrimination. From now on, they will be discriminated against even more.” Also Read: Mamata Banerjee: ‘With NRC they’re trying to divide people, there’ll be bloodbath and civil war in country’
What The Daily Star reported in its story titled ’40 lakh left off Assam citizen list’
“Bangladesh has been silent about the developments in Assam but a foreign affairs expert in Dhaka warned that the issue could have “dangerous” implications, like that of the Rohingya crisis. Former ambassador Humayun Kabir said Bangladesh should not be silent and it should take steps while there was still time. He said Bangladesh had taken a similar stance when the crisis in Rakhine State was brewing and it had said it was an “internal matter” of Myanmar; but ultimately the burden of over 1.1 million Rohingyas fell on its shoulder.”
The report further added: “International affairs expert Prof Imtiaz Ahmed of Dhaka University, however, said Bangladesh should convey the message to India that the problem in Assam was its own and India itself must resolve it. He endorsed the stance of the foreign ministry that Bangladesh should not react or take up the issue with India. A government high official said the issue has not been raised at any official level by India at any stage, so “why would Bangladesh raise it in advance?””