Bangladesh Deputy Foreign Minister Shahriar Alam has reportedly cancelled his visit to India amid concerns and protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Alam was earlier scheduled to visit India to attend the Raisina Dialogue 2020 in Delhi — an annual multilateral conference hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs — between January 14 and 16.
Diplomatic sources quoted by news agency ANI said that he will not take part in Raisina Dialogue 2020 as he will be accompanying Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on her visit to Abu Dhabi.
This is the fourth time that Dhaka has called off high-level talks with India in a span of 30 days.
In December 2019, amid violent protests in Assam and Tripura over the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen had cancelled his visit to India.
Momen was reportedly scheduled to visit India from December 12-14.
Clarifying on the same, the Bangladeshi minister had said that he had to cancel his visit to New Delhi as he has to participate in the ‘Buddijibi Debosh’ and ‘Bijoy Debosh’ and because the State Minister is in Madrid and the country’s Foreign Secretary is in The Hague.
Soon after, the country’s Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, who was scheduled to visit Meghalaya for an event in December, also called off his trip.
A week later, talks over the sharing of river data were also cancelled.
The cancellations come as Union Home Minister Amit Shah had earlier commented that minorities were being targeted by the Bangladeshi government.
To this, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen replied that “there are a very few countries where communal harmony is as good as in Bangladesh” while adding that “if Amit Shah stayed in Bangladesh for a few months, he would see exemplary communal harmony in the country”.
The Indian government then sought to clarify Shah’s statement saying that it was meant for the previous governments in Bangladesh.
According to CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.