Delay in Rohingya repatriation: Myanmar to blame: PM | Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 10, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:26 AM, June 10, 2019

Myanmar, aid groups to blame

Says PM on delay in Rohingya repatriation

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said different international agencies that came to Bangladesh to extend voluntary services didn’t want the displaced Rohingyas to go back to their homeland.

“Actually, these agencies never want them [Rohingyas] to go back,” she told a press conference at the Gono Bhaban about the outcome of her recent visit to Japan, Saudi Arabia and Finland.

“The problem that I now see is that different international agencies that are providing voluntary services or working here [in Cox’s Bazar] never want any refugees to go back. The problem lies here,” she said.

Many officials of the agencies working in Bangladesh fear that they will lose their jobs if the Rohingyas, who have taken shelter in Cox’s Bazar, are repatriated.

Myanmar also doesn’t want to take them back, which is another major barrier to their repatriation, she said. “The problem lies with Myanmar [as well].”

Bangladesh continues its efforts to resolve the crisis, she added.

After the repatriation agreement with Myanmar was signed, Rohingyas suddenly started protesting against going back to their homes, said Sheikh Hasina, asking who may have instigated such protests.

Another problem is that the displaced people fear that they will be subjected to repression if they return to Myanmar, she said.

About the relocation of Rohingyas from Cox’s Bazar to Bhashan Char Island in Noakhali, she said the donor agencies have a serious objection to this as well.

“Those who provide assistance to them [Rohingyas] have a serious objection though the government constructed very beautiful houses and structures at Bhashan Char for their relocation.”

The PM said Bangladesh had talks with China, India and Japan separately and all of them agreed that the displaced people are Myanmar nationals and they should go back.

BRINGING TARIQUE BACK

The PM said the sentences that courts have handed down to acting BNP chairman Tarique Rahman in different cases will surely be executed.

“We’ve been in talks with the British government [to bring Tarique back to the country] ... I can say the punishment will be executed today or tomorrow.”

Replying to a question by a journalist about the government efforts to bring Tarique back home, the PM said, “I hate to utter his name.”

Tarique has been leading a luxury life in London as he amassed huge ill-gotten money, she said. “He tries to create some problems whenever I go there.”

Hasina came down hard on people who shed crocodile tears for Tarique, forgetting the misdeeds he had committed when the BNP was in power.

“How do you forget the August-21 grenade attack? I was not supposed to remain alive the way the attack was launched. Ivy Rahman and many others died in the attack when they [BNP] were in power.”

She also said repeated attempts and attacks were made by the BNP on her life. “They also killed our thousands of leaders and activists. You’re out there crying for the killers who embezzled the money of orphans and involved with smuggling 10-truck arms.”

She then asked how the government would try criminals if people showed sympathy to a convict like Tarique.

Tarique, declared a fugitive by Bangladesh courts, has been sentenced up to life in jail in several cases, including that of money laundering, corruption and August-21 grenade attack on an Awami League rally.

On September 11, 2008, Tarique Rahman went to London for treatment, and he has been living there with his family since then.

He was arrested on March 7, 2007 during the army-backed caretaker government and released on parole on September 3, 2008.

PM TO TRAVEL BY BIMAN

In an apparent reference to a pilot’s travel to Doha without his passport to fly her back, the PM on Sunday said an incident takes place whenever she boards a flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines.

“There was a ticket problem at Biman. There would be no ticket although there would be vacant seats. But now no seat remains vacant after I ordered action. Those who used to do ticket trade have resentment. This is why whenever I fly [Biman] either an incident takes place or it hits headlines,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said she asked for prompt action against those who were on duty at the immigration for allowing the Biman pilot to go to Doha without his passport.

Mentioning that anyone might forget to carry their passport, she asked why it was not checked at the immigration.

Many people have been requesting her not to travel by Biman, but she has expressed her firm determination to travel by the national flag carrier even if she faces death, she said.

She asked the authorities concerned to ensure tight security at airports so that no one can pass the immigration without any check.

A Biman flight carrying the PM had to make an emergency landing at Ashgabat International Airport in Turkmenistan on her way to Budapest on November 27, 2016 due to low oil pressure in its engine.

ON TEESTA WATER

Bangladesh won’t have to seek water from others if water could be reserved properly, she said when asked about Teesta water sharing.

“Bangladesh is a delta. All rivers originated from the Himalayas flow through Bangladesh. If we take steps to preserve water, we won’t have to seek water from others.”

“We’ve taken the Delta Plan, and we’re dredging rivers,” she said adding, “What will they do with the extra water? So, don’t be worried. They didn’t give water but is giving us electricity which is also good.

“We’ve resolved difficult problems like the one over maritime boundary. We’ve resolved the enclave problem in a friendly manner [too].”

SECURITY DURING EID

“I was really very worried during Eid Jamaats as [terror] incidents are happening. We paid special attention so that no untoward incident occurs…

“But I don’t want to frighten people saying these.

“Whenever any information [over militant threats] is received, we take necessary action immediately following investigations by intelligence agencies.”

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