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NRC is India’s ‘internal affair’, says visiting chief of Border Guards Bangladesh

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New Delhi, December 29: Calling the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) as “India’s internal affair,” the visiting chief of Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) today said barring stray incidents, operational cooperation between the border guarding forces of the two countries was “very good.”

Director General (DG) Maj Gen Shafeenul Islam is here on a bilateral visit to India for DG-level border talks with the Border Security Force (BSF). Interacting with the media, Islam said the BGB would continue to prevent illegal border-crossing as per its mandate.

“This is completely an internal affair of the Indian Government,” he said, when asked to comment on the NRC issue. Asked about the provisions of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that seeks to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslims from three neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh, he said he would not like to make any comment.

“I would say the cooperation and relationship between the two forces (BSF and BGB) are very good. Beyond that I cannot say anything…,” he said. The BGB chief said they had caught over 300 Bangladeshi nationals at the border this year coming from India without proper documents, but denied reports that a number of Bangladeshi citizens were being “pushed back” from the Indian side. BSF DG VK Johri said these were “genuine Bangladeshi nationals but may be without documents”.

He said attacks by criminals on BSF personnel at the India-Bangla border had gone down to about 82 (till date this year) from “350 plus” in 2015-16. To a question on the recent killing of a BSF jawan by a BGB trooper along the International Border in West Bengal, Islam said it was an “unexpected and unwarranted” incident. An inquiry is still on…We have taken necessary steps to normalise the situation.” Johri said a detailed standard operating procedure was being prepared in the wake of the incident.

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