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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

UN funds key to fate of displaced Rohingya Muslims

Bibhas Bhattachrya, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, September 10, 2013
First Published: 09:51 IST(10/9/2013) | Last Updated: 14:12 IST(14/9/2013)

With neither the government of Myanmar nor Bangladesh ready to take responsibility for the Rohingya Muslims who are currently languishing in correctionals across the state, the Indian government is now eyeing funds to be released by the United Nations for proper rehabilitation of the displaced.

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Caught while fleeing Myanmar and trying to sneak into India through the porous Bangladesh border, the Rohingya Muslims had been put behind bars and continue to await word on their fate.

“As many as 160 (displaced) Rohingya Muslims are currently in jail custody. Twenty of them have already served their sentence and another 130 were arrested while trying to sneak into India this year. With their identities disputed and nationalities unknown, neither the government of Myanmar or Bangladesh is ready to take any responsibility for them. However, the central government would soon avail funds from the UN, which would help in the rehabilitation of these Rohingya Muslims,” said an officer of the state home department.

The infiltration of the Rohingyas into India has been on since 1999. Held as Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, there have been reports of the Rohingyas being subjected to gross excesses and ethnic cleansing at the hands of majority Buddhists.

There have even been reports of many Rohingya homes and establishments being torched, leaving scores displaced.

Desperate to escape the alleged excesses and persecution, the Rohingyas started fleeing into India through the Bangladesh border.

Pockets of North 24-Parganas lying on the Indo-Bangla border have been marked as the entry points of the displaced Rohingyas.

“They are nabbed by the BSF jawans stationed in the fringe areas and handed over to us. They are then produced in court, which takes a call on their identity and sends them to prisons across the state. Swarupnagar, Gaighata and Basirhat areas of the North 24-Parganas, which line the IndiaBangladesh border, have been identified as the key entry points for the Rohingyas,” a top police officer in the North 24-Parganas told HT.

Praveen Togadia, international working president of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), recently wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, voicing concern over the continued infiltration of Rohingya Muslims.

The BSF had since stepped up vigilance on the fringe areas of the North 24-Parganas and caught many trying to sneak in from across the border.

“We were on guard and nabbed many Rohingya immigrants since last November,” a senior officer of the BSF told HT.


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