Rohingyas left under open sky along India-Bangla border

Rohingyas left under open sky along India-Bangla border

BSF personnel at India-Bangladesh border near Agartala on Sunday. (Photo by Pranab Shil)

Thirty-one Rohingya refugees have been left under the open sky at 'Zero Line' along the India-Bangladesh border near Agartala in Tripura since Friday.

The BSF and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) have refused to accept them.

According to the BSF, the refugees were brought from the interior areas of Kasba Upajila of Bangladesh and are falsely shown as being detained near the border and have claimed that refugees were pushed out from India.

"During the search and spot verification, no tell-tale signs of any such type of illegal crossing of Rohingyas from Indian territory to Bangladesh side was found," said a statement issued by frontier headquarters of BSF near Agartala, while making a counter allegation that the BGB had pushed the refugees into India.

"Rohingyas are still there, right on the Zero Line. BGB is doing nothing. On humanitarian grounds, we provided them (the Rohingyas) food and water on Saturday night. They are sitting in the open for the last two days," another statement said on Sunday.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar following an ethnic clash there, the latest being the exodus of 7.20-lakh people in August 2017, who are still taking shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Many such refugees have infiltrated into India's Northeast through the India-Bangladesh border.

The statement said that the BGB commanding officer, Lt Col Gomal Kabir called the BSF commandant Ratnesh Kumar at 8.30 pm on Friday and claimed that they had detained 31 Rohingiyas near border post number 2029/3-S at the international border.

Kabir insisted the BSF commandant to take the Rohingyas to the Indian side.

According to BSF officials, 62 Rohingyas were detained last year while they were illegally crossing the India-Bangladesh border in Tripura and the number was 12 in 2017.

Assam has deported 12 Rohingyas since October last year, while 15 more are still lodged in jails.

Of the 4,156 km border that India shares with Bangladesh, Tripura has 856 km of it followed by Assam (262 km), Meghalaya (443 km) and Mizoram (180km) and the rest falls in West Bengal.

The BSF and the BGB held a commander level meeting at 11 am on Sunday, in which the BGB insisted that the Rohingyas had entered from the Indian side and refused to take them.

The BSF told its headquarters at New Delhi to inform the Union ministry of home affairs about the incident.

"We are trying to convince the BGB that they are not our nationals. Since they are saying they are Rohingyas, they are third-country nationals. We don’t have any authority to accept them," the statement said.