Gowher Rizvi, Special Advisor to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on Friday claimed India has never raised the issue of illegal Bangladeshi migrants staying on its soil with his government and asked New Delhi to prove that the ‘illegal immigrants’ of Northeast India are indeed Bangladeshis.
“At present they are the residents (whose names are not there in the National National Register for Citizens list) of India and India should prove that they are residents of Bangladesh, and not India,” Rizvi, also a historian, said at the India Today Conclave East here.
Rizvi said most people in Bangladesh see the issue of illegal Bangladeshi migrants in India as an “internal Indian discussion”.
“I do want to say I respect it, it is an Indian discussion. And the Indians will discuss and debate what is in their best interest.
“We have the closest and the fondest of relationship with the current Indian government. In fact, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji is very, very popular in Bangladesh. In 10 years, that I have been adviser to PM (Hasina), this issue has never been raised with us.”
Rizvi said he did not find it surprising that New Delhi never broached the illegal migrant issue with Dhaka, but contested Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju’s statement that over 20 million illegal Bangladeshi migrants were now staying in India.