‘Rohingya stand not to impact ties’
Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, media advisor to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has clarified that India’s posture on the Rohingya refugees would not impact the friendly relations between the two neighbouring countries.“Our relations are based on mutual trust and cooperation at all levels, and so an external problem cannot disturb it,” Mr. Chowdhury said during an interaction with journalists here on Saturday. He conceded that there was an initial confusion about India’s position on issues of ‘persecution of Rohingyas’ in Myanmar and massive influx of refugees in Bangladesh. “Now we see India is calling for permanent resolution to conflicts in Myanmar and adopting a humanitarian approach by sending relief to refugees stranded in Bangladesh,” he said.Mr. Chowdhury said that 5.5 lakh Rohingyas had so far entered southeastern districts of Bangladesh since the latest cycle of violence erupted in Rakhine province of Myanmar. Over six lakh Rohingya refugees were already stranded in Bangladesh and that took the total number to 12 lakh, he said.The veteran journalist stated that the present crisis was different from what had happened in the past. “Earlier there was turmoil and tension, resulting in Rohingya exodus, but now they are being driven out in a planned manner – killing, burning villages and crops, terrorising people with rapes and torture,” he said.During interaction with newsmen he supported apprehension that external forces and terrorist cells could try to exploit sentiment of ‘stateless Rohingya’ to engage them in subversive activities.“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has time and again made it clear that Bangladesh was providing relief and shelter to the evacuees on humanitarian ground and any rebellious activities in the relief camps would be tolerated”, Mr. Chowdhury stated.