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NRC India’s internal affair: Border Guards Bangladesh

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New Delhi, Dec 29, 2019-

Visiting Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) chief Major General Md Shafeenul Islam here on Sunday said that the procedure of controversial National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam is a “political” as well as “internal affair” of India.

Islam responded to a question while addressing a joint press briefing with Border Security Force (BSF) after signing a Joint Record of Discussion with the Indian paramilitary force as part of 49th DG level bilateral border coordination conference — a five day event which began on December 26, a day after an 11-member BGB delegation reached in the national capital.

“This (NRC) is a completely internal affair of Indian government. I have no comment on this because we are border guarding professional forces in the uniform, and these are all political issues,” Islam said when asked how the BGB will deal with the new situation if large number of Bangladeshi immigrants are identified during NRC exercise.

The BGB Director General, however, said his force will work to deal with the issue as a border guarding force does.

Islam mentioned that the cooperation between the BSF and his force is good and the two forces would continue their work to prevent illegal crossings into India.

India has prepared the NRC in Assam that lists out the names of Indian nationals while leaving out those who have not been able to prove their identity as Indians.

Some 1.9 million people have been left out of the register and there are concerns in Dhaka that Bangladesh could be asked to take these people.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on December 2 in the Lok Sabha set a deadline for the implementation of a countrywide NRC by stating that the exercise will be rolled out before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and that the exercise will wean out “all illegal infiltrators from India”, a stance that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has maintained since it came to power for the second time this year, despite the Opposition putting up stiff resistance to the move.

The Opposition has been flagging concerns of legitimate citizens being left out of the NRC list with around 1.9 million people being left out in Assam where the NRC exercise was concluded on August 31 this year.

In October, while briefing the media on the outcome of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s four-day visit to India that included a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque had also said that his country was reassured by the explanations given by India that the implementation of the NRC in Assam is an internal matter but added that Dhaka will keep a close eye on developments.

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