The fate of 31 Rohingya Muslims stranded on the international border between Tripura and Bangladesh continues to hang in balance as both Indian and Bangladesh authorities have refused to accept them. Sources in the BSF headquarters in Delhi said there was no question of India accepting them as Bangladesh authorities have not yet provided any evidence of the Rohingya having crossed over from India.
As reported by The Indian Express on Monday, at around 8.30 pm on January 18, the BSF got a call from a Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) commanding officer, saying that they have detained 31 Rohingya Muslims at the International Border. While BGB alleged the Rohingya Muslims had tried to cross over from India, the BSF said there was no sign of a breach on the Indian side, which, officials said, meant these people could not have come from Tripura.
“It is definitely not a case of BSF pushing Rohingya across the border as no one would push 31 people together. However, how and from where they reached where they are at the moment is a matter of investigation. Unless it is proven that they crossed over from India, there is no reason why we should accept them,” an official of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said.
Sources, however, said it was likely that the Rohingya were trying to flee India and enter Bangladesh in small groups and were rounded up by BGB after they crossed the border. Though there has been no breach in the fence on the Tripura border, sources said the border has several riverine stretches which could be used for crossing the border.
A senior BSF officer said that the matter was in the domain of the MHA and Ministry of External Affairs. “Till then we will continue to provide them shelter and food right on the zero line,” the officer said. The BSF has also offered the BGB a joint survey of the fencing on the Indian side to identify a possible breach.
30 Rohingya held in Assam
Guwahati: At least 30 Rohingya were apprehended by Assam police in the border district of Karimganj on Monday, officials said. A senior police officer said that the Rohingya were held when they were reportedly travelling from Agartala in Tripura towards Guwahati. Further details are awaited. (ENS)