Bangladesh has requested India to help with the early repatriation of the Rohingya to Rakhine province of Myanmar, Dhaka Tribune has reported.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen made the request during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Thursday, the Bangladesh High Commission said. Momen met his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Friday and chaired the fifth joint consultative committee meeting of the two countries. The Rohingya crisis is expected to be discussed in the meeting.
Modi reportedly assured the foreign minister of India’s cooperation in the matter. However, the Indian communiqué on the meeting did not mention any discussion about the Rohingya crisis.
On Thursday, Momen also met Modi’s predecessor Manmohan Singh, who noted that early repatriation of Rohingyas was a priority and assured that the Congress would support the Indian government’s initiatives in the matter, Bdnews24 reported.
More than seven lakh Rohingya Muslims fled to neighbouring Bangladesh after the Myanmar Army started a crackdown in Rakhine state in August 2017 in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, an insurgent group, on police posts and a military base. Most of them live in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar in the country’s southeast coast.
In November 2017, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to begin repatriation within two months. However, the process kept getting postponed. In October, the two countries announced that the repatriation would being the following month.
A number of the Rohingya had sought refuge in India after the Army crackdown in Rakhine. However, since May, some 2,000 of them have reportedly left for Bangladesh. Rohingya refugees face open hostility in India, from both the society and the state. India followed through with its threat on October 4, deporting seven Rohingya refugees to Myanmar despite opposition from human rights organisations. Five more were deported on January 4. None of them were granted citizenship rights in Myanmar even though the Centre had assured the Supreme Court they would.