POST TIME: 2 February, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Influx from India
Rohingyas re-enter Bangladesh thru’ 5 border points
Deepak Acharjee, Dhaka

Rohingyas re-enter Bangladesh thru’ 
5 border points

Over 1,300 Rohingyas have illegally entered Bangladesh from India through the five border points of Cumilla, Benapole, Jashore, Khulna and Satkhira, according to sources in the home ministry and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). On January 13, UNHCR wrote to the home ministry that as many as 1,379 Rohingyas had entered Bangladesh from May 2018 till January 13 this year and they were now staying in UNHCR’s transit centre (TC) at Kutupalong in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar. The letter mentioned that the figure was based on interviews with the newly arrived Rohingyas from India.

“Many of the new arrivals had previously fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh during the 2012 influx of Rohingyas fleeing violence in Myanmar. After 2012, they left Bangladesh and crossed the border to India. They approached the UNHCR’s India office for registration and subsequently received refugee cards. The Rohingyas settled mainly in Hyderabad, Jammu and Delhi. A small number of refugees also settled in other places in India,” the letter said.

According to the letter, many of these Rohingyas re-entered Bangladesh. They were kept in police custody and later sent to the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.

“The reason for these Rohingyas returning to Bangladesh was to reunite with their relatives, who had fled Myanmar

during the August 2017 influx and settled in the designated camps in Cox’s Bazar,” it added.

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal admitted that some Rohingyas were illegally entering Bangladesh from India.

“It would not be possible for the Rohingyas to enter Bangladesh without help from India’s Border Security Force (BSF) personnel. Sometime, our Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel push the Rohingyas back when they are informed in this regard,” the minister said.

“We never allow Rohingyas to enter Bangladesh from India,” he added.

According to Reuters, India estimates that 40,000 Rohingyas are living in scattered settlements in various parts of the country.

But its Hindu nationalist government regards them as illegal aliens and a security threat, and has ordered that they be identified and repatriated, Reuters said. On January 28, police had arrested six Rohingyas, including three children, from Monihar area in Jashore.

They were identified as Farid Alam (30), his wife Sahara Banu (20), their son Raihan (3), daughters Rubina (3) and Monsha (7) and Rehana Akhter (22), wife of Anisur Rahman. The detainees said they were living in Hyderabad in India and entered Bangladesh illegally because they wanted to go to the Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar. Last November, the authorities concerned had tried to repatriate some Rohingyas from Cox’s Bazar after completing all the processes, but postponed the repatriation for unknown reasons.

Talking to The Independent, Cox’s Bazar deputy commissioner Kamal Hossain said the repatriation of Rohingyas was delayed due to disagreement by the UNHCR over the issue of ensuring security of the Rohingyas by the Myanmarese authorities.  “The listed Rohingyas also disagreed to return to their country citing security concerns,” he added. On April 13, 2017, a MoU was signed between the UNHCR high commissioner and the foreign secretary on the safe, voluntary, and dignified return of Rohingyas to Myanmar in line with international standards.

On November 23, 2017, Myanmar and Bangladesh had signed an agreement titled “Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State” during the Bangladeshi foreign minister’s visit to Myanmar.

More than 655,000 Rohingyas have arrived in Bangladesh after August 25, 2017 following a military crackdown in Rakhine state of Myanmar. The UN, US and others have termed the crackdown as “ethnic cleansing”.