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CAA hurts Bangladesh-India diplomatic ties

“A leader leads by example, not by force.” – The Art of War by Sun Tzu, 5th century BC

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has long been accused of sacrificing her country”s interests and well-being while selling out to India. This is not only the viewpoint of her political critics but a widespread, general consensus among Bangladeshis.

It is a well-known fact that anti-India sentiments run deep within a sizable portion of Bangladesh”s population. Recently, the murder of Abrar Fahad, an engineering student at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, by the ruling party”s student wing triggered countrywide protests by students, academics and the general public.

Unmistakably, Sheikh Hasina”s obvious allegiance to India at the expense of Bangladesh, be it with regards to trade or water sharing or any of myriad other factors, has fueled questions about her alliance with New Delhi.

It is extremely important to mention here that as an authoritarian leader, Sheikh Hasina, seated in power thanks to her alliance with India and not with the mandate of the people, has never cared about public opinion. However, India”s Citizenship Amendment Act has altered the ball game.

The CAA launched last year amended a 1955 law by providing a path to citizenship for illegal migrants of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian minorities who fled persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 2014.

India”s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has made sweeping derogatory statements and suggestions that Hindus in Bangladesh have been systematically tortured, so much so that they have sought refuge as illegal migrants in India. Such accusations are important for the BJP in order to justify its tolerance of indiscriminate torture and killing of Muslims in India.

Sheikh Hasina and her Awami League party have caught on to the BJP”s tricks and stated that the Bangladeshi government will look into the matter, and although their undisputed allegiance has been to India, the CAA has hit many sensitive nerves.

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