General

Rohingya relocation: 1,778 more heading towards Bhasan Char

As part of the government’s initiative to relocate Rohingyas to Bhasan Char, 1,778 more Rohingyas started their journey to the island in the third batch in one ship on Friday.

The ship of Bangladesh Navy carrying the Rohingyas left the Patenga Naval jetty around 10:30am, said Additional Commissioner of refugee relief and repatriation Mohammad Shamsu Douza.

Another 1,300 Rohingyas will leave for Bhasan Char on Saturday, he said.

The second group of Rohingya was brought to temporary transit camp at Ukhiya Degree College ground in Cox’s Bazar on Thursday and later they were shifted to BAF Shaheen College ground of Chattogram City after registration.

In the third batch, more than 3,000 Rohingyas are scheduled to be taken to the island over the next two days. In the first two phases, 3,446 Rohingyas were relocated there.

Rohingya crisis

Bangladesh, one of the most densely-populated countries in the world, is currently hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingyas. The majority of them came here since August 2017 fleeing persecution in their homeland of Rakhine, Myanmar.

Bangladesh has been urging the global community to take effective steps to put pressure on Myanmar to create a congenial atmosphere for Rohingya repatriation but there has been little progress so far.

The presence of the huge number of Rohingyas in the coastal district has put them on a collision course with the locals. Many Rohingyas have got involved in various criminal activities.

Foreign Minister AK Momen has said the Rohingya population will pose a serious security threat to the entire region if they are not sent back to their homeland as soon as possible.

Currently, the Rohingyas stay in makeshift cramped camps in Cox’s Bazar vulnerable to various natural calamities.

The government spent millions of dollars to develop Bhasan Char and plans to relocate 100,000 Rohingyas there in phases in the face of growing concerns over the extreme congestion in Cox’s Bazar camps and to avert any risk of death due to landslides and other unwarranted incidents.

The Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Members of the mainly Muslim majority ethnic minority are denied citizenship by Myanmar and many are forced to live in squalid camps in apartheid-like condition. State-sponsored discrimination against the Rohingyas stretches decades back.

Located 34 kilometers from the mainland, the island surfaced 20 years ago and was never inhabited.

Contractors say its infrastructure is like a modern township, with multifamily concrete homes, schools, playgrounds and roads. It also has solar-power facilities, a water supply system and cyclone shelters.

The island has all modern amenities and recently a police station was set up there.

Source: United News of Bangladesh