Bangladesh says new law will have serious repercussions in country.
New Delhi: The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and its impact on Bangladesh are likely to come up for discussion during consular-level discussions between India and its neighbour early next year. Dhaka fears mass migration from India due to the CAB and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Sources in Bangladesh administration said the move by India to bring the CAB would have serious repercussions in their country. While some say it might lead to harassment of minorities in order to grab their property, others said this might lead to the mass movement of Muslims towards Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh government is already wary of the repercussions in the country with regard to the NRC despite the Indian government constantly assuring Sheikh Hasina that it is an “internal matter” and will have no impact on Bangladesh.
Sources said that Bangladesh has already given refuge to Rohingyas from Myanmar and Dhaka is not ready for another exodus of Muslims.
“India had recently claimed to have caught 59 alleged illegal Bangladeshi migrants in Bengaluru and had sent them to Kolkata. But we have not heard about them after that. Where are they? They have not been brought to our missions for verification and they have not been sent through the diplomatic process,” a source said.
Bangladeshi officials fear that these 59 persons might have been sent to Bangladesh via land port without following the official diplomatic procedure.
Sources explained that at land borders there is an arrangement between India’s Border Security Force and Border Guards Bangladesh to “push back” illegal entrants from both sides. Bangladesh fears that this “pushing back” in huge numbers after the NRC and CAB can create a crisis in that country.
Sources in the Bangladesh government, meanwhile, told this newspaper that they are also upset with the provisions in Indian visa rules for Bangladeshi citizens due to which Muslims need to pay a nearly 200 per cent higher penalty for overstay in India compared to Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Jain, Christian and Buddhist Bangladeshis.
According to India’s Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) rules notified a year ago, the penalty for minority communities — Hindu, Sikh, Parsis, Jain, Buddhists, and Christians — from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan for overstay of up to 90 days it is `100, for overstay from 91 days to two years it is `200 and for more than two years is `500.
Compared to this, the penalty for other citizens from all countries, including that of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, for overstay up to 90 days and is $300 (`21,000), for overstay from 91 days to two years is $400 (`28,000) and for overstay of more than two years is $500 (`35,000).
Terming this “discriminatory”, a senior Bangladeshi official said that there was a case where a Hindu and Muslim Bangladeshi cricketer overstayed but the Hindu was fined only `100 while the Muslim had to pay `21,000. Bangladesh is upset for being bracketed with Pakistan and Afghanistan despite India fully knowing the situation under which Bangladesh was created.
Sources in the Bangladesh administration have also alleged that, at times, Indian immigration staff at land ports intentionally do not put the immigration seal on the Bangladeshi citizens travel documents and then impose a huge fine on return. A recent such alleged incident will also be taken up during the consular meeting in Delhi.