Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has cancelled his visit to India citing “increasing demand at home”. Momen was scheduled to visit India from December 12-14. The Bangladeshi minister was to arrive in India on Thursday evening on a three-day visit for the Indian Ocean meet and Delhi Dialogue.
There were reports that the cancellation of his official trip was in response to the comments made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the passage of Citizenship Amendment Bill in parliament against religious persecution of minorities in Bangladesh.
Reacting to Amit Shah’s statement over religious persecution of minorities in their country, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen had said, “There are a very few countries where communal harmony is as good as in Bangladesh. If he (Home Minister Amit Shah) stayed in Bangladesh for a few months, he would see exemplary communal harmony in our country”
However, the officials of the Ministry of External Affairs has refuted such claims made by sections of media and clarified that cancellation of Bangladesh Foreign Minister’s official trip to India is not connected to the ongoing events in India, especially Citizenship Amendment Bill.
Speaking to the media, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kunar said that the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister has given his explanation on cancelling his visit. He said the issue of the cancellation of the FM’s visit and the passage of the CAB should not be linked.
“Our relationship is strong. As leaders of both the countries have said, this is the golden age of our relations,” said Raveesh Kumar.
Raveesh Kumar, MEA on Bangladesh Foreign Minister cancelling his visit to India: He has given his explanation on cancelling his visit. Our relationship is strong. As leaders of both the countries have said, “this is the golden age of our relations.” pic.twitter.com/gWje8kL1FK
— ANI (@ANI) December 12, 2019
“I had to cancel my trip to New Delhi as I have to participate in the ‘Buddijibi Debosh’ and ‘Bijoy Debosh’ and more so as our State Minister is out of the country in Madrid and our Foreign Secretary is in The Hague,” the Bangladeshi minister had said while cancelling his visit.
Reacting to earlier statements made by Bangladesh Foreign Minister on Amit Shah, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that there seems to be some confusion regarding the issue.
“We have explained that religious persecution is not happening under the present government. Migrants who have sought refuge in India from Bangladesh have faced persecution and abuse on religious grounds during the military rule and also during the previous government in Bangladesh.
“We have also acknowledged & we are aware that the present govt in Bangladesh has taken several steps to address the concerns of minorities living there as per their Constitutional provisions,” he added.
After a long and heated debate, both the houses of Parliament has passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill. On Monday, the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha has passed the CAB with 125 votes in favour and 105 against. The Bill will now be law once the President signs on it.
The historic Citizenship Amendment Bill aims to grant Indian citizenship to thousands of non-Muslim refugees who have been staying in india before 2015.