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After Bangladesh foreign minister, home minister too cancels India visit

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Dhaka/New Delhi, Dec 12: Hours after Bangladesh's foreign minister A K Abdul Momen, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan too called off his scheduled two-day visit to India amid protest against Citizenship Bill.

Home minister Amit Shah along with his Bangladesh counterpart Khan

The home minister was scheduled to attend an event by the freedom fighters welfare trust for the support by people in the region for Bangladesh liberation in the war of 1971.

The External Affairs Ministry said Momen has conveyed to India about the postponement of his visit from December 12-14 due to scheduling issues and asserted that Shah never said religious persecution took place in Bangladesh during the tenure of the current government.

Bangladesh foreign minister, Abdul Momen cancels India visit

Reportedly, Momen decided not to go ahead with the visit due to prevailing situation arising out of the passage of controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament.

"The Bangladesh side has conveyed that the minister has changed his programme on account of domestic issues pertaining to the commemoration of the 'Victory Day' in Bangladesh on December 16," MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a media briefing.

"Any speculation that this development is connected with legislation adopted by Parliament on Wednesday regarding the Citizenship Amendment Bill is unwarranted," he said, adding ties between the two countries were going through a "golden phase".

In a statement in Dhaka, Momen said he had to cancel his trip to India due to pressing engagement in Bangladesh and that he was looking forward to visit India in January.

"I had to cancel my trip to New Delhi as I have to participate in the 'Buddijibi Debosh' and 'Bijoy Debosh' and more so as our State Minister is out of the country in Madrid and our Foreign Secretary is in The Hague," he said.

The citizenship bill seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim persecuted religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on Monday while Rajya Sabha cleared it on Wednesday.

The Northeastern states are on the boil against the proposed legislation. According to the bill, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, following religious persecution will be given Indian citizenship.

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