New Delhi: In a major development, the Bangladeshi government has suspended mobile networks within one kilometre of the country’s border with India, local media reports said on Tuesday.
In its order to four telecom providers-Grameenphone, Teletalk, Robi and Banglalink-on Sunday, the government said that network coverage in border areas should be suspended until further notice ‘for the sake of the country’s security under current circumstances.’
Speaking to media, Jahurul Haque, chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the body which issued the said directives to the four telecom providers, said, “The decision was taken in a high-level meet of the government, following which the instructions were issued.”
The ‘current circumstances’ mentioned in the directive are widely believed to be the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which was passed by India earlier this month, triggering protests, many of which turned violent, in many parts of the country. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdul Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan had to cancel their respective visits to India due to the aforementioned violent protests.
According to reports, the Bangladeshi government is concerned that many Indian Muslims might seek to enter Bangladesh in the wake of the passing of the law.
The CAA proposes to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim religious minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who came to India before December 31, 2014. It is the exclusion of the Muslims from this list that has triggered protests in India, with critics arguing that the combination of CAA and the equally contentious National Register of Citizens (NRC), will strip Muslims of their Indian citizenship and render them ‘stateless.’