After the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was published on Saturday, International Political Analyst Prof Tarek Shamsur Rehman feared that it might cause another Rohingya-like crisis in Bangladesh.
The final list excluded the names of about 19.07 lakh applicants. Most of them are Bangla-speaking people, according to Indian media reports.
“As Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said ‘The NRC was eager to resist Bangladeshis.’ It is easy to assume that all Muslim citizens who will be left out by the foreign tribunals, may enter Bangladesh gradually,” says Prof Tarek.
This political analyst, who teaches International Relations at Jahangirnagar University, is of the opinion that it will cause more damage to Bangladesh than the current Rohingya crisis is doing.
“The issue of Assam cannot be seen only as an internal issue of India. Kashmir can be India’s internal issue, but the Assam issue is a threat to Bangladesh,” Prof Tarek made the comment over the phone to The Business Standard from the USA, where he is currently doing a study.
He also fears that in the future Bengali-speaking citizens will also be verified in West Bengal after Assam.
He said, "The BJP government can take similar steps in West Bengal to check India's economic downturn. Narendra Modi wants intellectuals and the opposition parties of the country to forget about the economic problems and remain calm in these matters. As a result, citizenship can also be verified in West Bengal after Assam. It poses a big threat to Bangladesh."
However, the foreign minister of Bangladesh, Dr AK Abdul Momen has dismissed the idea of getting worried about the matter.
He said at a programme on August 31 that the issue was raised during a meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on August 27 when he visited Dhaka.
"He (Jaishankar) clearly stated that it was an internal matter of India and that it would not be a problem for Bangladesh,” Momen added.
The central government of India, however, has said that those whose names have not been included in the final citizen list cannot be declared as foreigners until all legal options are exhausted.
Each person outside the NRC can apply to a foreign tribunal and the deadline to apply has been extended from 60 to 120 days.
India’s home ministry says that at least one thousand tribunals will be formed to hear the arguments on behalf of those whose names have been dropped from the list.
A hundred tribunals have already been set up while 200 more will be formed in the first week of September.
If anyone loses the case at a tribunal, that person can apply to the Supreme Court of India.