The Bangladesh government has asked India to take steps to prevent Rohingya refugees from crossing over into its territory, the United News of Bangladesh reported on Sunday.

On May 17, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said that the country’s security forces recently detained 18 Rohingya refugees who had come from India. “We have to engage more security forces to stop them,” he said.

Momen said that a good number of Rohingya refugees had been entering Bangladesh from India. He claimed that they had been taking the help of agents to cross fenced areas along the border, according to the United News of Bangladesh.

The minister said that those who crossed the border had heard from their relatives that they would get good facilities and food in the Bangladeshi district of Cox’s Bazar.

On Sunday, Mashfee Binte Shams, Secretary (East) at Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the country has sent a note verbale to India on the matter. A note verbale is a form of diplomatic communication from one government to another.

About 1.1 million Rohingya refugees are currently reported to be living in Cox’s Bazar and the Bhasan Char island in Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, about 16,000 Rohingya refugees are said to be in different parts of India, the Hindustan Times reported, citing the United Nations. However, it is estimated that the figure could be higher as many of them live in India with any documentation, according to the newspaper.

The Indian government had announced in August 2017 that it was planning to deport all Rohingya refugees living in the country. Former Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju had called them “illegal immigrants”, including the ones registered with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

The United Nations had criticised the decision, which was made when the Rohingya crisis was worsening in Myanmar.

In 2017, the Myanmar Army had cracked down on the Rohingya community, claiming that it was in retaliation to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army insurgent group. The refugees have alleged that the crackdown included mass killings and rape.

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