The Daily Star/ANN
Bangladesh has decided to shelter Rohingyas, who entered the country in the last week of August, by allocating them 2,000 acres of forest land to build a temporary a camp.
The country's Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told journalists after a meeting Sunday afternoon.
The meeting came in the wake of fresh refugee inflow triggered by the counter-offensive launched by the Myanmarese military following insurgent attacks on 30 police posts and an army base in Rakhine State on Aug. 25.
Relief and Disaster Management Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya informed Parliament on Sunday that the government would shelter all Rohingya refugees, including the new arrivals, at Thengar Char in Hatia until their return to Myanmar.
Nearly 3,00,000 people have arrived in the last two weeks, pushing the number of Rohingyas living in this country to over 6,00,000.
The home ministry decided to restrict the movement of refugees and ensure they are not listed as voters and do not get Bangladeshi passports.
Besides, the meeting stressed the need for cooperation from local government bodies for the documentation of Rohingyas.
It also recommended monitoring public representatives so that they do not help Rohingyas get listed as voters to create vote bank.
The meeting, attended by top bureaucrats and chiefs of law enforcement agencies, decided that Rohingyas will be given identification cards in the presence of international representatives.
According to meeting sources, the biometric registration will start tomorrow and 10 teams from the Department of Immigration and Passport will supervise it.
Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said, “We allocated 2,000 acres of forest land in Ukhia under Cox's Bazar for Rohingyas and we will allocate more land in the area, if necessary.”
Rohingyas who are not biometrically registered will not be allowed to board any transport within Bangladesh's territory. They will not get any kind of support without it, he said.
The home minister also said the new Rohingya camp in Ukhia will be fenced with barded wires and members of law enforcers will be deployed for their security.
“We are sheltering Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds and we are taking initiatives so that they stay here in peace. We will do everything in this regard,” he said.
In parliament, ruling Awami League MP Kamal Ahmed Majumder wanted to know the government measures to mitigate sufferings of the Rohingya people.
In reply, he shared his experience of Friday's visit to Ukhia, saying he saw an elderly Rohingya who reached Bangladesh border after walking 65 km, carrying his mother on his back.
“Nobody will understand their sufferings unless they visit the area,” he added.
Maya also told the House about the decision to shelter all the Rohingyas at Thengar Char until they are taken back by Myanmar.