India builds houses for Rohingyas in Myanmar

No breakthrough in Dhaka's talks with Nay Pyi Daw for repatriation of refugees.

Houses that India built for Rohingyas in Myanmar

Even as uncertainty looms large over return of the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar, India has built houses for them in the land they had to flee during waves of "ethnic cleansing".

India has handed over 250 prefabricated houses to local authorities at Rakhine state of Myanmar. The houses New Delhi donated are to be allotted for the displaced Rohingyas as and when they would return to Myanmar from the refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Saurabh Kumar, New Delhi's envoy to Nay Pyi Daw, on July 9 formally handed over the prefab dwelling units to U Aung Kyaw Zan, joint-chairman of Returnee Resettlement Work Committee and a minister in Rakhine State Government. Win Myat Aye, a minister in the Union Government of Myanmar, was also present in the ceremony at Maung Daw in Rakhine State.

New Delhi donated the prefab houses as part of its $ 25 million assistance to Myanmar Government to support development projects in Rakhine State, according to a press release issued by the Embassy of India in Yangon.

China too had in October 2018 donated 1000 prefab houses to Myanmar for the Rohingyas – in anticipation of the return of the displaced people to their homesteads.

But even as New Delhi and Beijing set up the houses, the return of 1.3 million Rohingyas from Bangladesh to Myanmar remains uncertain as Dhaka and Nay Pyi Daw could not make a breakthrough in protracted negotiation over modalities of implementation of the November 2017 pact for repatriation of the refugees.

Bangladesh recently accused Myanmar of dilly-dallying on repatriation of the Rohingyas.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh has been calling upon international community to put pressure on Myanmar Government to create conducive atmosphere for return of the refugees as well as to fast track the process of repatriation. She recently discussed the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing.

Bangladesh in the past also asked India to nudge Myanmar to speed up the repatriation of the Rohingyas.

Dhaka has been asking Nay Pyi Daw to come up with a comprehensive plan for “dignified, safe, and sustainable repatriation” of the refugees.

The minority Rohingyas have since long been victims of persecution in the Rakhine State, where Buddhists constitute the majority. They have been denied citizenship and most of them have been stateless, despite living for generations in Myanmar.

Myanmar's armed forces launched the latest military crackdown against the Rohingyas on August 25, 2017 after a militant outfit killed 12 security personnel in Rakhine. With hundreds of them killed and villages burnt down, over 723,000 more Rohingyas, including women and children, fled Myanmar and take refuge in Bangladesh.

A large number of Rohingyas from Myanmar had already been living in the camps in Bangladesh and the new wave of ethnic cleansing took the number of refugees in Cox's Bazar camps to 1.3 million.

New Delhi, however, stood by Aung San Suu Kyi's Government and refrained from joining others in criticizing her. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in fact visited Nay Pyi Daw just a week after the violence against the Rohingyas started in Rakhine. He and Suu Kyi had agreed on need for undertaking both infrastructure and socio-economic projects for overall development in the Rakhine State.

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