Publication date:13 September, 2017
Rohingyas spread across country
Media: The Independent
Original URL: Rohingyas spread across country
E-paper URL: Rohingyas spread across country
Rohingyas entering Bangladesh after fleeing from the ongoing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state are spreading to different parts of the country from the bordering districts Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban. Several hundred Rohingyas are seen daily leaving the bordering districts by bus, trucks and other modes of transport, thanks to slack monitoring by the government.
Many Rohingyas have already spread to different parts of the country. Those who can afford to pay are leaving the bordering district and renting accommodation in Chittagong and elsewhere.
On Monday morning, this correspondent saw over 25 Rohingyas going to Chittagong from Hnila, in Teknaf, while on Tuesday morning at least a 100 of them were seen leaving Cox’s Bazar from the Riakhon area. They said they were going to Chittagong, where they had their relatives. Some middlemen were seen arranging transportation for them. Several local residents said on condition anonymity that Rohingyas were leaving the bordering districts, as it was difficult to get enrolled in the voter list. They felt it would be easier for them to get enrolled as voters in Chittagong and other parts of the country.
The local people say the scattered Rohingyas should be accommodated in a refugee camp proposed at Balukhali, in Ukhiya as early as possible.
Khaled Mahmud, additional district magistrate of Cox’s Bazar, admitted that the Rohingyas were fanning out across the country. “We have come to know that they are going off to different parts. We are putting up check posts to control their movement,” he told The Independent.
In the meantime, the Cox’s Bazar district administration has set up four check posts on the Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar Link Road, Mithachhari of Teknaf, Ukhiya bazaar, and the Marine Drive Road to control the spread of the Rohingyas.
On Monday, RAB detained 94 Rohingyas from a Dhaka-bound bus on the Cox’s Bazar Link Road when they tried to leave Cox’s Bazar for Chittagong.
“The Rohingyas were trying to go to Chittagong. We detained them after conducting a search operation in some Chittagong- and Dhaka-bound buses. They were returned to the Kutupalong Rohingya camp,” said Major Ruhul Amin, chief RAB, Cox’s Bazar. It is alleged that some middlemen and influential people, in connivance of the law enforcing agencies, are helping the Rohingyas fan out across the country.
“There is no doubt that some Rohingyas are going to other parts of Bangladesh from the camp areas. People without any documentation may pose problems in future and may even hinder the repatriation process,” said Adhraful Azad, assistant professor, Department of International Relations at the University of Chittagong and a researcher on Rohingya Muslims.
He said it was important to complete the bio-metric registration as soon as possible. “It is also required to ensure critical aid to refugees in the camp areas. Otherwise, they may try to reach bigger cities to find employment and support themselves,” he added.