New Delhi: Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) is India's internal matter, Bangladesh Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud said Tuesday at a media interaction at the Press Club of India.

"CAA is India's internal matter. Pleas have been submitted to the Supreme Court. This is a legal matter. I have no comments," the minister said.

This comes as India's apex court is set to hear a batch of petitions on December 6 challenging the CAA, 2019. CAA was passed by Indian Parliament on December 11, 2019, and it was met with protests all across the country. The CAA came into effect on January 10, 2020.

During the interaction, the minister stressed on the role of media in strengthening the bilateral ties. "Last September, I came here to inaugurate Bangabandhu Media Centre at this press club. It was a grand initiative taken by the Press Club of India and it was a great pleasure for us. This is a historic press club," the minister said.

He also thanked India for its role in Bangladesh's independence war in 1971. "I shared my sufferings and my feelings last year when I came. I must say in 1971, 10 million people have been given refuge in India.. in different neighbouring provinces."

The minister said that India not only opened their borders but also opened its minds because "in 1971, many people took refugees not only in the refugee camps but many Indians gave Bangladesh refugees at their homes."

"They never treated them as a burden. Indian Army fought with us. Our relationship is bonded with blood and is never separable. Under Hasina and Modi the relationship has gone to a new height."

Over climate change, Information minister Hasan Mahmud called Bangladesh one of the "innocent victims of climate change." He said "India too is a victim. Dhaka has contributed nothing to climate change."

Earlier, he said the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is taking tough action against the miscreants who target the Hindu minority in the country.

The minister made these remarks while speaking exclusively to ANI on the sidelines of the 4th Bangladesh Film Festival which began on Saturday at Press Club Kolkata.

In recent years, there have been instances where Hindus and their places of worship were targeted. While commenting on the steps taken by the Bangladesh government to protect minority rights, the Minister said, "Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies are supporting these fanatics groups. Their main politics is anti-India and anti-Hindu. Our government has taken tough action against the miscreants."

While speaking to ANI, Dr Hasan Mahmud added, "There are about two crore Hindus in Bangladesh. This year there were over 33,000 Durga Puja pandals. Hindus are in a good position and supported by the government. Prime Minister Hasina has ordered our party workers to keep a watch on puja pandals so that no wrongdoing happens like last year."

Moreover, on cattle smuggling from the India-Bangladesh border, Bangladesh's I&B minister Dr. Mahmud said, "Both governments are working on it and it has come down in the last few years."

"Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and under the leadership of Indian PM Narendra Modi, the ties between Bangladesh and India have been strengthened over the last couple of years," he added.

Not only on the economic front, the minister said the partnership between India and Bangladesh has been strengthened across sectors.

"Our government has given the emphasis on connectivity and the connectivity which was closed after the 1965 war, many of those have been already opened and some others are in the process of opening. More exchange of culture will further strengthen our ties. In particular, in Bangladesh and in West Bengal in Tripura, we speak the same language and we sing the same songs and we eat the same food, wear the same clothes. We have all the similarities," he added.

Notably, on July 15, the homes of the Hindu minorities were set on fire in the Sahapara area of Lohagara, Narail. The mobs went on a rampage after Friday prayers, saying that an 18-year-old man from the neighbourhood hurt their religious feelings on Facebook.

As far as cattle smuggling is concerned, earlier in 2020, the number was 46,809. However, numbers are falling consistently over the last three years as they plummeted 71 per cent from 77,410 in 2019 to 21,917 in 2021.

From the year 2022 till July 31 only 12,864 seizures of cattle were reported at the Bangladesh border.

Emphasizing for broadening the ties by also opening up broadcasting channels, he said, "There are obstacles to showing our TV channels, especially in West Bengal but there is no obstacle to broadcasting Indian channels in Bangladesh. All the Indian channels are broadcasted in Bangladesh which is not the case in West Bengal."