Rohingya refugees' terror links can't be ruled out: Media advisor to Hasina

Agartala
16 Oct 2017

The possibility of terrorist links of a section of Rohingya refugees, sheltered in Chittagong, could not be ruled out, a top official of Bangladesh said today and asserted that his country would not allow any group to use its soil for terrorist activities.
Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, the media advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said that Bangladesh had already announced its policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism.
Chowdhury, who inaugurated a cultural event here, said that Bangladesh expected India to take a stand on the "ethnic cleansing" of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. "We have given shelter to 10 lakh Rohingyas from Myanmar on humanitarian grounds despite much constraint. They were forced to leave their country following an ethnic conflict.
So, a sense of retaliation might prevail among a section of the refugees. We cannot rule out the possibility of their involvement with any terrorist outfit. But, we will not allow any terrorist group to use our soil. Our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced zero tolerance towards any kind of terrorist activity," he said.
Asked if Pakistani spy agency ISI had penetrated the Rohingya refugees, Chowdhury said that the country has its "own agenda". "They (Pakistan) cannot forget their defeat in 1971 (Bangladesh Liberation War). So they might try to penetrate among the Rohingyas, but we are not aware of it. Even if ISI penetrates, it would be unable to survive because the Bangladeshi government is against this kind of activity," he said.
Chowdhury said though the United Nations (UN) has condemned the torture of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and called it "ethnic cleansing", India, China and Russia have maintained silence on the issue. "We do not want that the relations between India and Myanmar become bitter on the (Rohingya) issue, but we expect India to take a stand for the solution of the problem," he said.
Bangladesh's economy is feeling the impact of the Rohingyas' stay and it wants the refugees to return to their homeland in Rakhine state in Mynamar and be properly repatriated. "Can we force them to return if the situation is not normal? The Rohingyas were brutally tortured, their properties destroyed and their women molested and raped," he said.
On the Indo-Bangladesh relations, the official said those were very cordial. It has consolidated further with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm of affairs in India and Hasina in Bangladesh.
Chowdhury said the minority Hindus in Bangladesh were "very safe" now. "Over 30,000 Durga pujas were organised in Bangladesh this year, which is 777 more than last year."
Fourteen lakh Bangladeshis had visited India last year for different purposes including treatment and tourism, he added. (PTI)