Surveillance of Rohingya not weak: home minister | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 16, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:17 AM, February 16, 2020

Surveillance of Rohingya not weak: home minister

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan yesterday expressed hope that Myanmar will take back their nationals as discussion is still underway regarding Rohingya repatriation.

He came up with the statement in reply to a journalist's query after attending the 25th anniversary of Bangladesh Coast Guard (BCG) at its headquarters in the capital's Agargaon.

In replay to another query on surveillance of Rohingyas, the minister said, "The surveillance is not weak at all. You know there are 1,100,000 Rohingyas [living in Cox's Bazar], which is three times the population of Teknaf."

"They have been placed under the supervision of our law enforcement agencies including police, Rapid Action Battalion, Border Guard Bangladesh and Ansar," he said.

In addition, watchtowers and CCTV cameras are also being installed to further strengthen surveillance of the Rohingya camps, said Asaduzzaman.

The minister further said barbed-wire fence is being set up around the camps as per instructions of the prime minister.

Army has already started erecting fences, he said, adding, "Our key objective is that they [Rohingyas] do not leave the camp…"

Earlier, the home minister attended the silver jubilee celebration of BCG as chief guest and handed over medals to officials and staff members of the force.

This year, 40 members of BCG were awarded Bangladesh Coast Guard Medal, President Coast Guard Medal, Bangladesh Coast Guard (Seba) Medal and President Coast Guard (Seba) Medal for their outstanding contributions.

Addressing the event, the minister said, "Bangladesh Coast Guard is a powerful force. It's working on preventing various offenses including smuggling and illegal fishing." The coast guard is also working on protecting the environment, he added.

Last year, BCG seized smuggled goods worth around Tk 2,052 crore and also recovered narcotics worth around Tk 161 crore, according to the force's bulletin.

Mostafa Kamal Uddin, senior secretary to the public security division of the Ministry of Home Affairs, attended the event as special guest.

The secretary said the ministry has taken various steps to modernise the force. "It's organisational structure has already been expanded. Various infrastructures, including modern training bases, have been built," he added.

In the welcome speech, BCG Director General Rear Admiral M Ashraful Haq said robbery incidents in Chittagong port have come down to zero due to the force's relentless efforts.

International agency ReCAAP (Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery) has acknowledged the efforts in its report, he added. 

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