India should play bigger role in Rohingyas’ rehabilitation: Bangladesh Envoy

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New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) Bangladesh’s Envoy to India on Thursday requested India to play a “bigger role” in the rehabilitation of Rohingya refugees in Myanmar.

Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali said that Mynamar should be put under pressure to recognise Rohingyas as its citizens so that they can live there with dignity.

“We want international pressure to be mounted on Myanmar so that these people (Rohingyas) can go back and settle in their own country with dignity. India should play a bigger role in their rehabilitation process… but the pressure should be on the Myanmar government,” he told reporters here.

Since the latest eruption of communal violence in Myanmar last year, more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken refuge in Bangladesh which shares border with the northern Rakhine state inhabited majorly by Muslims.

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The tension between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists of the northern Rakhine state goes back to the time of Second World War and the area is said to be in a state of insurgency ever since the country got its independence from British in 1948.

“We have no bilateral problem with Myanmar… The crux of the matter is Myanmar’s inability to recognise these people as citizens of the country. Rohingyas have been living in Rakhine and Arakan regions for centuries,” Ali said.

“Currently they are living without any citizenship status since 1982,” he added.

The envoy also expressed hope for resolution of the sharing of water of Teesta River, which, originating in Sikkim, flows to West Bengal and from there to Bangladesh.

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“(West Bengal Chief Minister) Mamta Banerjee has said she doesn’t have enough water to share. But I am sure that once the negotiations between the West Bengal government and the Central government are over, we will be able to solve our issues through a joint river commission,” he said.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was on a two-day visit to India between May 25 and 26, during which she had discussed various issues with Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

–IANS

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