Please select your preferences to subscribe.

Bangladesh home minister flags Rohingya militancy threat

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-11-26 22:45:29 BdST


Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has reiterated Bangladesh’s fears that the Rohingya refugees may “easily” be at the centre of militancy if they are not repatriated to Myanmar fast.

Speaking at a discussion in Dhaka on Friday with Indian High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami among the guests, Asaduzzaman said, “The Indian high commissioner is here. We know how much they help us. But I would like to say that militancy may remerge due to the presence of the 1.1 million people [Rohingya].”

“We may see a new dimension to militancy if the problem is not solved soon.”

More than 700,000 members of Rohingya Muslims fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar and took shelter in Bangladesh during an army operation described by the UN as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing in 2017. Bangladesh had already been sheltering more than 400,000 Rohingya refugees.

As repeated attempts to send back the refugees to their homeland, Bangladesh has flagged them as a regional security threat. With frustration mounting among the Rohingya living in squalid camps in Cox’s Bazar, violence among the refugees is growing.  

The recent death of a civil society leader and deadly attacks on a madrasa allegedly by Rohingya militants at the camps highlighted the security threats surrounding the refugees. 

“Although we are on the alert and kept them within a boundary, they are inflicting violence on themselves in the camps,” Asaduzzaman said.

The minister said the government has strengthened the security forces keeping in mind terrorism, militancy and drugs. He thanked India for sharing intelligence and technology.  

The Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee organised the event marking the anniversary of the 2008 Mumbai attack carried out by Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. The carnage saw 166 people, including foreigners, dead and hundreds injured. Pakistani military spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, is accused of aiding the assault.        

Asaduzzaman said Pakistan is using ISI “to embarrass” Bangladesh as well. “We are always on the alert so that they cannot carry out such an incident again.”

Doraiswami recalled that he lost a friend, who was a police officer, in the Mumbai attack. “We did not understand first what was happening. But we did realise that it wasn’t just a terror attack in which 10 people came and suddenly launched an assault. It was an operation by trained commandos.”      

“It’s unforgettable and unforgivable.”