Sheikh Hasina criticises 'boycott India' protesters, saying burn Indian saris first

After the re-election of Sheikh Hasina as Prime Minister of Bangladesh, an anti-India sentiment emerged, with opposition leaders attempting to fuel the sentiment. The campaign intensified as Hasina, known for her close ties with India, secured her fourth consecutive term. Responding to the opposition's "Boycott India" campaign, Hasina employed a unique tactic involving saris and spices.

Hasina, who has been hailed India as a "great friend" on multiple occasions, took a direct jab at the leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the principal opposition party, who were advocating for the boycott of Indian products. She questioned the sincerity of their campaign by highlighting their wives' use of Indian saris and suggested that they should burn these saris to prove their commitment to the boycott.

Furthermore, Hasina accused BNP leaders and their wives of buying Indian saris in bulk from India and selling them in Bangladesh during their time in power. She also challenged them to cook and eat food without using Indian spices, emphasizing their dependence on Indian imports.

The "Boycott India" campaign gained traction online, with hashtags like #BoycottIndianProducts trending on social media platforms. The campaign was primarily led by the Bangladeshi diaspora and individuals in exile, resulting in a decline in sales of Indian products in Bangladesh.

Despite the BNP's initial denial of involvement in the campaign, some of its leaders eventually expressed support, prompting criticism from the ruling Awami League. In response, Hasina used the "sari analogy" to counter the campaign, accusing the BNP of hypocrisy and asserting that the party had "lost its way."

The situation escalated when a BNP leader symbolically discarded a Kashmiri shawl to express solidarity with the boycott. However, the BNP's stance received criticism, with some accusing the party of inconsistency.

Amidst the political tensions, the Modi government's decision to export onions to Bangladesh ahead of Ramzan and Eid was seen as a gesture of goodwill, despite the strained relations between the two countries due to the boycott campaign.

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