By Md. Kamruzzaman
Some 31 Rohingya refugees, who had been stranded on the no-man’s land between the Bangladesh and India border over the last four days, have been “taken back” by India on Tuesday, a Bangladeshi border force official said.
“The stranded Rohingya have been taken back by them [Indian Border Security Force] but they did not inform us,” Lt. Col. Muhammad Golam Kabir, head of the Border Guard Bangladesh’s (BGB) 25th Battalion, told Anadolu Agency.
The Indian Border Security Force (BSF) had tried to “push” them over border line while the BGB foiled the attempt, leaving dozens of refugees stranded on no-man’s land under the open sky, according to Bangladeshi media reports.
The Bangladeshi side asserted the Rohingya came from India, an accusation denied by the BSF.
"They are stranded between the international border and the barbed wire fencing [...] They tried to enter Indian territory from Bangladesh side and we stopped them," BSF Deputy Inspector General CL Belwa told the Press Trust of India on Sunday.
However, Kabir said that those 31 Rohingya refugees had been living in India with identity cards issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in India.
The official said that BGB members were “unfortunately accused of pushing those Rohingya to India.”
“We strongly protested the blame and called on them to look at the documents and people on the ground, and the identity cards, health cards and refugee certificates issued to them by UNHCR in India,” Kabir said.
At least 1,300 Rohingya Muslims have reportedly crossed into Bangladesh from India since the start of the year in fear of forced deportation to Myanmar.
The right-wing Indian government had informed its Parliament in 2017 that over 14,000 Rohingya Muslims, registered with the UNHCR, stay in India. However, aid agencies estimate there are about 40,000 Rohingya people in the country.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."
Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.
The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.
In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.