India’s coast guard found 81 Rohingya survivors, exclusive of 8 dead refugees, crammed onto a damaged fishing boat and tried to arrange for Bangladesh to take them in its camps.
Answering this, the Bangladesh government refused to do so, reasoning that they are “under no obligation to shelter 81 Rohingya Muslim refugees adrift for almost two weeks on the Andaman Sea and being assisted by India,” according to Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen.
But Bangladesh has turned the tables on India and said that Bangladesh expects India, the closest country, or Myanmar, the Rohingyas’ country of origin, to accept them. This blatant inhumane act has not only astonished but disappointed many.
Who Are Rohingya?
In Myanmar, the Rohingya (a Muslim ethnic minority group) have constantly suffered from systematic discrimination, violence, and targeted oppression. Following violent attacks for long periods, the entire community got forced into Bangladesh, thereby increasing Bangladesh’s refugee influx by tenfold.
Villages burnt to the ground, families split, humanity lost, women and girls raped, children killed, the extent of atrocities and barbaric slaughters knew no bounds wherever the Rohingya were concerned.
Severely traumatized and destitute, they were provided shelters in Bangladesh within congested yet sustaining camps. However, improvement in the condition and future of the Rohingya seems bleak.
Dependent on aid and charity, the root causes of these refugees’ problems in Myanmar have still not been addressed.
What About The Refugees In Bangladesh?
Bangladesh has provided shelter to the lot of Rohingya and helped them in times of need, despite having limited resources and land to host them. More than 900,000 refugees migrated to Bangladesh, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
Battling daily-life issues on a large scale, Bangladesh has tried its best to provide for the refugees and many countries have supported them in the same. But the forlorn state remains and in the never-ending fight for rights, some refugees seem to have given up.
“As grim as the situation is for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh…their prospects back in Myanmar are even worse,” says Joshua Kurlantzick, Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia. Thus, the only way out is in Bangladesh.
Should India Shelter The Rohingya?
New Delhi did not sign the 1951 Refugee Convention, which contains the refugee rights and state responsibilities to protect them. Nor does it have a law sheltering refugees, though it currently hosts more than 200,000, including some Rohingya.
So the possibility of India aiding and providing for the Rohingya as a moral and ethical nation is laudable. As for Bangladesh, being indifferent towards the Rohingya out of the blue is hard to be plausible and some other hidden intention seems to be the cause.
Not to overlook the fact that Bangladesh has the largest camp for refugees, unlike India.
“Has Bangladesh been given the global contract and responsibility to take and rehabilitate all the Rohingya or boat people of the world?” Momen said. “No, not at all.”
But if no scope remains, India should be more than willing to accept and aid them and improve its refugee policy. Rohingyas should be organized along with all other refugees.
To show that bias towards a certain religious community does not exist as well as to show that humanity is superior to the community, India needs to extend a hand towards these ‘stranded, floating coffins’.
Without aid, shelter, and land, these refugees need immediate attention and help. Malaysia, and a few other countries too, have been supporting them and need to continue doing so to end this humanitarian crisis.
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