CAB protests put question mark on Abe’s plans for Guwahati

Written by Shubhajit Roy
| New Delhi |

Updated: December 12, 2019 4:46:47 am

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SAYING THAT CAB could weaken India’s character as a secular nation, Bangladesh Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen on Wednesday rejected allegations that the minorities are facing religious persecution in his country. Momen is set to visit India on Thursday for the 6th Indian Ocean Dialogue.

Meanwhile, following protests in Guwahati, the government is learnt to be preparing a ‘Plan B’ for Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi from December 15-17. While the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has not announced the summit venue, Assam’s capital was reported to be the likely venue.

However, protesters on Wednesday vandalised posters of the India-Japan meeting and set fire to a makeshift stage that had been constructed for the event in Guwahati. Sources said that if the Guwahati plan gets cancelled, the Modi-Abe meeting was likely to be held in Delhi’s Hyderabad House.

Another venue which was being considered was Odisha, but that is unlikely to happen since it is too short a notice. Sources said the visit would have to be postponed if the meeting was to be held in Odisha.

Also Read | CAB protests: Situation very tense, people worried and confused, admit Assam BJP MPs

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Dhaka, Momen said: “India is historically a tolerant country which believes in secularism (but) their… position will be weakened if they deviate from that.” He said Bangladesh and India enjoy close friendly relations, “termed as the golden chapter” of bilateral ties, and “so, naturally our people (Bangladeshis) expect that India won’t do anything that could create anxiety among them”.

Momen said the allegations of repression of minorities in Bangladesh were “untrue”. “Whoever gave them the information, it is not correct,” he said. “Many important decisions of our country are taken by persons belonging to different religions… we never judge anybody by their religion,” he said.

Momen said Bangladesh maintains religious harmony and ensures that followers of all faiths enjoy the same rights. He said that US Ambassador in Dhaka, Earl R Miller, had also expressed concern about CAB. “They (US) are being critical about that… they believe India weakened its position by doing it,” he said.

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