“What is Bangladesh’s problem now, if not solved, will be problem for you and then others (countries)”, said Toufique Hasan, Bangladesh deputy high commissioner on the Rohingya issue. He was speaking in a seminar on the Rohingya issue in Kolkata. “Suppose there is fire at the economy class of a plane. All in the economy class cannot, by themselves, control the fire. Do you think the business class passengers will not come for help? If they do not come for help, the entire plane will be on fire and they will all die,” said Hasan, speaking at a seminar at Calcutta Press Club. The seminar was organized by Bharat-Bangladesh Moitree Samity.
“Now it (Rohingyas) is a problem for Bangladesh. If it is not solved, it will become a problem for you and then for all others. We hope all the countries in the region will join hands to find a solution for the issue,” said Hasan. Hasan detailed the present situation and stapes taken by Bangladesh to allow the refugees to enter and stay on its soil on humanitarian grounds.
“You are aware that over 6 Lakh Rohingya refugees have entered our country recently. During 1978, 91-92, 2012 and 2016 over 4 Lakh refugees entered from Myanmar. There are over 10 Lakh Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh now. We are taking care of them, providing food and shelter on humanitarian grounds,” said Hasan.
“Our Prime minister Sheikh Hasina said in the UN that if we can feed Bangladesh citizens we will also feed 10 Lakh Rohingya refugees. She understands the pain of a refugee. After the assasination of Bangabandhu Mujibar Rehman, her father, she and her sister lead a life of a refugee,” said Hasan.
Hasan informed that till now bio-metric registration of over 3 Lakh Rohingya refugees has been done. He said despite the constraints of food and space and that such large number of refugees will have a negative impact on economy, security and environment, the Bangladesh government has allowed them to stay.
“We have been trying diplomatic ways to send them back to Myanmar and re-settle them their as permanent citizens. A joint working group is being shaped for the process. Recently Sushma Swaraj visited Bangladesh and supported our stand,” added Hasan. Speaking in the seminar Shahriar Kabir Bangladeshi Author, filmmaker, human rights activist stated that India had once absorbed over 1 crore refugees from Bangladesh.
“But now the same country is trying to send back only 40,000 Rohingya refugees. We are aware that terror groups are active among Rohingyas. We need a joint operation by India, Bangladesh and Myanmar government against such terror groups. Bangladesh government has made it clear that they have zero tolerance for terrorism,” said Kabir.
“We are hearing news that some fundamentalist groups are now saying that if 40,000 Muslims are sent back from India, they will drive out the Hindus in Bangladesh. In some other countries fundamentalists are speaking of killing Buddhists. All the countries should come together to solve the issue. There has been genocide in Myanmar against Rohingya refugees,” added Kabir. Prabodh Chandra Sinha, representing the Samity, stated that thyere was a urgent need for discussion on the Rohingya issue which affects all of South Asia.