Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen said on Friday that just like India had sheltered 10 million citizens of his country during the 1971 liberation war, Dhaka on similar humanitarian grounds provided shelter to 1.1 million Rohingyas from Myanmar.
Addressing the inaugural function of ‘Sylhet Festival’ in Assam’s Silchar, Momen said that as India had given shelter to 10 million persecuted people of the then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, his country has also provided temporary shelter to 1.1 million persecuted Rohingyas from Myanmar.
“Myanmar government has assured us to take back all the Rohingyas with honour and dignity. While we trust them, not a single refugee has been taken back in the past six years,” Momen said, as he urged the global consciousness to come forward and convince the Myanmar authorities to take back their nationals.
Since 2016, the Rohingyas, including women and children, have fled from Myanmar to evade violence and taken shelter in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.
Stressing on Bangladesh’s robust relations with the northeastern states of India, Momen said that during the 1971 liberation war, over one million people from the then East Pakistan took shelter in 45 relief camps in Assam and its adjoining areas.
“Due to the initiatives of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the relations between the two countries are passing through a golden period. The ties between Bangladesh and the northeast region are very close due to geographical proximity and similarities in many aspects, including economy, culture, language, food etc.,” he said.
“Sheikh Hasina has declared that the country would not be a hub of extremism and terrorism. As peace is established in the northeastern region, many private companies are coming to Assam, Meghalaya and other states to invest. Peace and stability are essential for economic prosperity,” he said.
The Bangladesh Minister also said that his country has already opened its sea and river ports for India, especially the northeastern states.
After the recent floods disrupted road communication in the northeast region, Bangladesh allowed Indian vehicles to ferry fuel from Assam to Tripura through the neighbouring country, he said.
Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region, G. Kishan Reddy, Assam’s Transport and Fisheries Minister Parimal Suklabaidya and Lok Sabha Member Rajeep Roy also spoke in the inaugural function of the three-day ‘Sylhet Festival’.