With 60 per cent women, children, elderly, Rohingyas can’t be termed as terrorists: B’desh
New Delhi, Oct 17: At a time when Rohingyas have come under the scanner of security agencies for their possible links with terror outfits, a senior official from Bangladesh stated that the refugees "can't be termed as terrorists".
"60 per cent refugees (Rohingyas) are ladies, children and elderly. With such a huge population, they can't be termed as terrorists," Bangladesh's High Commissioner to India, Syed Muazzem Ali, told reporters at Foreign Correspondents' Club in the national capital on Monday.
He stressed that it's necessary to resolve the Rohingya issue at the earliest as Bangladesh has given shelter to the refugees on the humanitarian grounds.
"They're living in disturbing conditions and their number is much larger in our case. So we'll have to take humanitarian side," Ali said, adding that, "We want international community to help them to get back to their homes."
They're living in disturbing conditions&their number is much larger in our case. So we'll have to take humanitarian side: Bangladesh Envoy pic.twitter.com/XbfwVTBpzY— ANI (@ANI) October 16, 2017
Ali pitched for a greater Indian role in containing the influx of Rohingya Muslims escaping violence in Myanmar, saying the issue may not be directly affecting India now, but it may have an impact in future.
He warned the "fire in the neighbourhood" has the potential to engulf the entire region and it would be prudent for India to act in "mutual interest".
"It is a fire in our neighbourhood and before it engulfs in the entire region it needs to be put out. They (the refugees) are vulnerable to all sorts of radicalisation and it is in our mutual advantage to work together," Ali stated.
Responding to a question, he said New Delhi and Dhaka may not appear to be on the same page on the issue as Myanmar's Rakhine State, the epicentre of the refugee exodus, does not have a common border with India.
"You are safe for now but how long will that be? It is in our common interest to act together. It may burn my house today, but it may surely have an impact in your house tomorrow," he said, while applauding India's role in sending relief for the refugees housed in a number of camps in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar area.
He refused to comment on India's proposal to deport around 40,000 Rohingya refugees who are settled in camps across the country, saying it was a "matter of your country".
The senior official called the Rakhine State a breeding ground of radicalisation owing to alleged atrocities on the Rohingya community and their festering anger.
He suggested that reports of bodies of Hindu Rohingya people found in mass graves were an attempt by the Myanmar administration to "intentionally" drive a wedge between communities.
"It is the inability of the Myanmarese authorities to recognise them (the Rohingya) as their own which is creating issues. The problem originated in Myanmar and needs to be resolved there," he said.
After violence broke out in Rakhine State on August 25, more than 520,000 Rohingyas have reportedly left Myanmar and have taken shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh.
Currently, an estimated 800,000 Rohingya refugees (in total) are staying in Bangladesh.