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B’desh Foreign, Home Ministers cancel visits

Momen was to visit India on Thursday, while Bangladesh home minister was to visit Shillong on Friday to attend an event marking the 1971 War of Liberation. The external affairs ministry said the postponement of Momen’s visit should not be linked to CAB or statements made in Parliament.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 13, 2019, 08.37 AM IST
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Bangladesh foreign minister A K Abdul Momen
New Delhi: Bangladesh’s foreign and home ministers have called off their visits to India after Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill. While ‘domestic issues’ was cited as the reason for calling off the visits, Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen’s statements left little to imagination.

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Momen was to visit India on Thursday, while Bangladesh home minister was to visit Shillong on Friday to attend an event marking the 1971 War of Liberation. The external affairs ministry said the postponement of Momen’s visit should not be linked to CAB or statements made in Parliament.

“The Bangladesh side has conveyed that the minister has changed his programme on account of domestic issues pertaining to the commemoration of the ‘Victory Day’ in Bangladesh on December 16. Any speculation that this development is connected with legislation adopted by Parliament yesterday regarding the Citizenship Amendment Bill is unwarranted,” external affairs spokesperson said.

However, reports from Bangladesh quoted Momen as saying: “India is historically a tolerant country which believes in secularism (but) their historic position will be weakened if they deviate from that.”

In addition, Bangladesh media reported the foreign minister as saying that “they (India) have many problems within their country. Let them fight among themselves. That does not bother us. As a friendly country, we hope India will not do something that affects our friendly relationship”.

“The current government in Bangladesh is also taking care of religious minorities. It is making arrangements also for religious minorities but there has been a period in the past when people came to India on account of religious persecution. This bill is only to give citizenship to those people who came at that time,” the MEA quoted Amit Shah as saying in Parliament.
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