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31 Rohingya in limbo on Bangladesh-India border

Updated January 22, 2019

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As many as 1,300 Rohingya Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh from India in recent weeks. — File photo
As many as 1,300 Rohingya Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh from India in recent weeks. — File photo

DHAKA: Thirty-one Rohingya Muslims including 17 children remained stranded on the India-Bangladesh border since three days, Dhaka officials said on Monday, as both sides refuse to accept them.

As many as 1,300 Rohingya Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh from India in recent weeks as fears of deportation to Myanmar spark an exodus.

The latest group crossed barbed-wire fences along the Indian part of the border, but Bangladesh border guards stopped them from entering their territory.

“They are now living in two tents provided by Indian border forces on the border’s zero line,” said Mannan Jahangir, a local government official at the Bangladeshi border town of Kasba. Lieutenant Colonel Golam Kabir, a Bangladesh border guard commander, said the group first arrived at the border from the India-held Jammu and Kashmir on Jan 18.

Senior officials from both sides held a meeting on Sunday, with Dhaka insisting that New Delhi take the refugees as they had Indian health cards and documents issued by the UN refugee agency.

New Delhi has faced sharp criticism for turning members of the persecuted minority over to Buddhist-majority Myanmar in recent weeks, including from the United Nations and rights groups. Some 40,000 Rohingya are living in India. Police said those who arrived in Bangladesh had been living in India for years.

Nayana Bose, a spokeswoman for the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), which includes UN agencies, said last week the pace of new arrivals from India had escalated since Jan 3.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2019