Friday, May 22, 2009

Entering Bangladesh illegally becomes risky for Rohingya

Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazaar (KPN): Entering Bangladesh illegally along the border, has become a risky proposition for the Rohingya community, as concerned authorities arrest and push them back into Burma, according to sources from Teknaf.

The Rohingya community, a Muslim minority and an ethnic group belonging to Burma, stay in Northern Arakan. They are under pressure from the ruling military junta socially, politically and economically, which forces them to cross the border from their motherland, the source added.

The Rohingya people cross the border into Bangladesh, for medical treatment, to visit relatives in refugee camps and for other social proposes. Some also come to seek a better life, a social worker from Teknaf said.

Recently, the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), the country’s border security force has been put on high alert along the Bangladesh-Burma border.

The Rohingya, who have been living in the border area and facing various problems, after the alert along the border was issued, cannot move anywhere for fear of the BDR arresting them. They also cannot go to work, a Rohingya from Teknaf said.

Most of the Rohingya community crossed the border recently, as the Burmese junta was planning to fence the border, with forced labour.

After a clash between the locals and the army, Nasaka, on April 22 and 29 in Balukhali and Shweza, which caused further harassment for the Rohingya community, most of the Rohingya felt compelled to flee to Bangladesh, a student from Maungdaw said.

Yesterday, over 93 Rohingya people were caught and pushed back to Burma, from the Balukhali transit point under Cox’s Bazaar district, by the BDR of 17 Rifles Battalion.

The BDR detained and pushed back 49 Burmese nationals to Burma, on May 20 in Teknaf.

The 17th Rifles Battalion arrested seven Rohingya and pushed them back to Burma from Baisafari, under the Nikkongchari Upazila on May 17.

The 42 Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) pushed back 12 Rohingya, including women and children on April 3, at about 3 pm from Teknaf, according to sources.

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