Between borders and barbed wire fences, 31 Rohingya have been stranded on the zero line in Tripura for the last two days with Indian and Bangladeshi border security personnel refusing to accept them as refugees.
While the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) alleged the Rohingya Muslims tried to cross over from India, the Border Security Force (BSF) said Sunday that there was no sign of a breach on the Indian side, which officials said, meant the Rohingya could not have come from Tripura. The BSF, which believes the Rohingya may have comes from Bangladesh, has also offered the BGB a joint survey of the fencing on the Indian side to identify a possible breach.
Speaking to The Indian Express, BSF DIG C L Belwa said a BGB commanding officer made a telephone call to a BSF official on January 18 at 8.30 pm that they have detained 31 Rohingya Muslims at the International Border.
“The BGB official insisted the BSF the Rohingya into the Indo-Bangladesh Border fencing and alleged that the BSF has been pushing the Rohingya into Bangladesh. However, we have strictly denied the allegation,” he said.
“We expected the BGB will contact us for a flag meeting. But they did not communicate, rather we communicated and yesterday an officer-level meeting was conducted at the zero line where second-in-command of our battalion and second-in-command of their battalion met on the zero line.”
According to Belwa, Bangladesh authorities have declined a joint survey and asserted that the BSF accept the Rohingya into Indian Territory. He also said that the Rohingya may have come from the Bangladesh side.
The BSF has provided food, water and other basic needs to the 31 Rohingya since Saturday. “We have instructed our company commander to conduct preliminary questioning so we can determine their age, name, gender composition and profile. They are sitting in the open for the last two days,” said Belwa.