Uncertain Journey of the Rohingyas



Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Associate Editor, Barra24.com
Uncertain Journey of the Rohingyas

Uncertain Journey of the Rohingyas

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After the influx of refugees leaving behind burning houses and dead bodies of loved ones, Bangladesh has not been able to send a single Rohingya back to their homeland in Myanmar in five years. Thursday (August 25) marks five years since the uncertain journey of the Rohingyas towards Bangladesh from the torture of the Myanmar army.

The flood started on August 25, 2017 from Myanmar's Rakhine State bordering Bangladesh;  After that, within a few months, 750,000 Rohingya refugees took refuge in Ukhia-Teknaf in Cox's Bazar.  Another 400,000 Rohingyas were already living in camps in that area.

The United Nations at the time identified the killing and torture of the Rohingya population as a 'classic example of ethnic cleansing'.  The US government has described the massacre of Rohingyas as 'genocide' in March this year.

Since Bangladesh opened its border, the Rohingyas have been living in bamboo and plastic shacks across vast areas of Cox's Bazar and Ukhia.  Kutupalong in Ukhia became the largest refugee camp in the world.

In the face of international pressure, Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi government agreed to take back the Rohingyas at the end of 2017.  It also signed a bilateral agreement with Bangladesh in September that year.

In 2019, a two-phase repatriation initiative was taken at a stage of discussions on various issues, including the confirmation of the identity of the escaped Rohingyas.  But the effort failed because the Rohingyas could not trust the Myanmar government's promises.
 
Meanwhile, more than 100,000 Rohingya children were born in Bangladesh during this period;  It has created additional pressure on Bangladesh.  Sheltered Rohingyas are involved in various crimes.  Used in target killing.  They are involved in serious crimes like murder, kidnapping, extortion, disappearance, weapons, drugs, gold and human trafficking inside and outside the camp.  As a result, the security risk is increasing in the entire district as well as the local shelter population.

The Bangladesh government, which has made Rohingya repatriation a priority, has repeatedly complained that the international community has failed to put enough pressure on Myanmar to repatriate.

   

"Myanmar has been trying to pick up quarrel with Bangladesh much earlier"



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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M Khurshid Hossain, Director General of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), commented that Myanmar wants to fight with Bangladesh from a long time ago. He said, starting from the introduction of Rohingyas, they (Myanmar) are doing political incitement. We were saved from it because of the strong attitude of the Prime Minister. They wanted to make trouble with us and take advantage.

He said this in response to a question from journalists after the reception and scholarship ceremony at the Kashiani MA Khalek Degree College ground in Gopalganj on Saturday (February 24) afternoon.

The RAB director general said drugs are now coming in more by air, sea and from Myanmar. It is being shipped as scheduled. We have set the net, the biggest gangster in Myanmar in the net. Drug control is a big challenge now. The Myanmar route will be closed at any cost.

He said, it is not possible for any single force to eradicate drugs. In order to eliminate drugs, everyone must build a social movement. Go all out in action. Godfathers and juvenile gangs will not be spared.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Azaharul Islam, Principal of MA Khalek Degree College KM Mahabub, former Headmaster of Bhatiapara High School Zahidur Rahman, District Education Officer Salim Talukder and Superintendent of Police (Operation) Kazi Mahbubul Alam attended the ceremony under the chairmanship of Lt. Col. Firoz Kabir, the captain of RAB-6 at MA Khalek Degree College ground.

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"In addition to ensuring the independence of judiciary, the EC has also been made independent"



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, besides ensuring the independence of the judiciary, we have made the election process and the commission independent. It has been announced to build Smart Bangladesh by 2041. In this, our judiciary will also be smart, expects the Prime Minister.

She said these things while participating in the closing ceremony of the international conference titled "Constitutional Courts of South Asia in the 21st Century: Learning from Bangladesh and India" at Bangabandhu International Conference Center on Saturday (February 24) morning.

She said the government has separated the judiciary from the executive. We have allocated a separate budget for this. She also said that the judiciary was earlier dependent on the government for financial matters.

Besides, she mentioned that the Awami League government has enacted a law to form an independent election commission in Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina said that the Election Commission was previously attached to the Prime Minister's office.

The Prime Minister said, we have made it (EC) fully independent and allocated separate funds for it. That means we believe in EC independence.

The Prime Minister said her government had included an article in the constitution, as per the High Court ruling, making usurpation of state power a punishable offence. By this inclusion, I may say, the fundamental right of the people, the democratic right, has been secured.

Stating that the socio-economic progress is due to the continuation of the democratic trend in the country, the head of government said that if you calculate from 2009 till now, the socio-economic progress of the country today is due to the continuation of the democratic trend. This is possible because there is a stable environment.

She said, today it is a proven fact that justice and socio-economic development in people's lives can only happen when there is an opportunity to fulfill the basic needs of people. Then the country can move towards development. Today the basic rights of the people are protected.

Sheikh Hasina said, "My younger sister and I were abroad in '75. Then India gave us shelter. Those who survived the shooting, those who lost their relatives, whose lives were very dangerous, but they also took shelter in India. So 'sheltered us after '75 - we remember it with respect'!

She said what the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu wanted! He wanted to create an exploitation-free society. He wanted to free the Bengali nation from hunger and poverty and give a better life. In order to establish the rights of these people, he struggled throughout his life, endured prison-oppression-torture. It was under his leadership that we gained freedom.

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What is the truth behind the Saudi plane's Mumbai 'landing' controversy?



Ashraful Islam, Planning Editor, Barta24.com
Picture: Collected

Picture: Collected

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Last Tuesday (February 20, 2024), a Saudi Airliner was not allowed to make an emergency landing at Mumbai airport, the world's one of the busiest airports. With these published news, the social media of Bangladesh was very active and extremely 'attempted to incite hatred towards India' made me interested to know more about the news. Especially when a class of so-called activists in Bangladesh (who are seen at various times trying to create confusion in the public mind by spreading misinformation) participate in this debate and become active in trying to portray Pakistan as 'superhuman' for 'allowing' the landing.

Pakistan-based newspapers including 'The News' have claimed that the pilot of the Saudia plane first sought permission from the air traffic controller to make an emergency landing at the airport in Mumbai, India. But the plane was not immediately allowed to land in Mumbai after the passenger's nationality and other details were ascertained.

The news further mentioned that the 44-year-old Bangladeshi passenger, Abu Tahir, sought permission from the Air Traffic Controller in Karachi, Pakistan, without getting permission to land in Mumbai due to the deterioration of his physical condition. A Riyadh-bound Saudi Airliner flight from Dhaka was given an emergency landing in Karachi. After receiving the permission, the plane made an emergency landing at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport at 7:28 am on Wednesday and the passenger was treated by the medical team of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority and later the plane took off again from Karachi to Riyadh.

No source of information or statement of concerned persons was taken in the news which was spread by the mass media of Pakistan. A number of aspects have become clear in the way some Bangladeshi media and social media desperately propagated an unsourced news item with great importance. Firstly: Inciting anti-India feeling among the people of Bangladesh. On the other hand, promoting Pakistan as a 'humanitarian' country and trying to create a rift in the existing cordial relations between Bangladesh and India.

Contacting the Indian diplomatic sources to find out the truth of the matter, it is known that the Saudi Airliner flight was allowed to land by the Mumbai Civil Aviation Authority. The plane also started dumping fuel to reduce weight. But later it turned around and announced that the flight would not land in Mumbai due to the company's own policy. Diplomatic sources also said that Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport Authority was ready to provide all possible necessary assistance, including a medical team, to Abu Tahir, a Bangladeshi ailing passenger on board the flight.

Let's look back at some recent events. We noticed what a terrible frenzy took the game of cricket a few months ago! The 'madness of Bangladeshi youth over India's defeat' has been widely publicized using social media. And it has been done in what some have tried to call a 'religious and sacred civic duty'. Due to this, a class became involved in anti-Bangladesh propaganda in India as well. And understandably, the hate mongers have succeeded! However, after a few days of frenzy, they calmed down at some point. But do they really stop? They don't stop. They wait for the creation of opposition issues. And in a very coordinated manner, they spread all this misinformation at lightning speed.

It goes without saying that there is a history of India's total cooperation in the development of independent Bangladesh and the sacrifice of countless soldiers and the endless suffering of its people. We have problems with the country on some issues including common rivers, border killings. Although not desirable, it is present throughout the world with neighboring countries and has many specific perspectives involved. But the way in which both Bangladesh and India have benefited and are benefiting in many ways due to being friendly neighbors, is rarely seen in the world. The example of countries like Myanmar, Pakistan and Afghanistan can be drawn to see how hostile relations with neighbors can bring bad results in the long term.

Our diplomatic relations with Pakistan are also based on this motto of our foreign policy formulated by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: 'Friendship with all - enmity with none'. We also have an embassy there. But the values that Pakistan holds as a state are vastly different from those of Bangladesh. It goes without saying how desperate it is to expect any sign of Pakistan emerging with a 'humane' character in relation to Bangladesh in the near past or even in the future. The campaign to return any airport in India to the identity of Bangladeshi passengers landing there did not survive in the end. Because the number of citizens of Bangladesh goes to India every day, in many countries for a whole month; even throughout the year that number of citizens does not go. In these two countries, which are friendly in civil communication, we are also seeing talks of lifting the 'visa' in respect of the people's expectations in the future at various government and private levels. What else could be the ridiculous claim of not allowing a flight carrying a passenger after knowing his nationality to be 'Bangladeshi'?

However, if there is any specific incident or scene, surely the Indian authorities will investigate it. And if there is a logical reason, the air traffic authorities of Bangladesh may also not allow a flight to land. But without knowing the full extent of the specific events, it is quite conceivable that this kind of inciting controversy is an attempt to create a rift in friendly diplomatic relations.

 

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'Sugar is no more sugar, it has become poison'



Rakib Hassan, Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Pic: Barta24.com

Pic: Barta24.com

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A few days later, the Muslim’s self-restraint month of Ramadan. At the end of the whole day of fasting, a glass of sherbet is supposed to refresh the spirit of the fasting people, but the price of sugar, the main ingredient for making sherbet, is now beyond the reach of consumers. In this, common people coming to the market to buy sugar saying "sugar is no longer sugar, it has become poison".

Yesterday, on the news of sudden increase in the price of sugar by Tk. 20 per kg, unscrupulous traders immediately tried to create an artificial crisis of sugar, and the Ministry of Commerce withdrew the decision at night.

A part of the wholesale traders said that they have to count the loss as the decision to raise the price of sugar suddenly and withdraw the price at night. Basically, on the news of price increase, the traders have ordered (DO) sugar at a higher price. Now that it has been decided to reduce the price again, the ordered sugar will have to be sold at a lower price.

At present, open sugar is sold at Tk. 140-142 per kg in the market, which was Tk. 125 last Ramadan and packaged sugar at Tk. 150-155.

On Friday (February 23), some retail markets in Mirpur saw white sugar being sold at Tk. 136-142 depending on the type.

Owner of Sultan Traders Abdur Rahman said that he is selling white sugar at Tk. 136-138 per kg. But it is losing him. As the reason, he said that he had bought a bag of sugar for Tk. 6,600 earlier, but suddenly yesterday afternoon, he had to buy it at a price of Tk. 80 to Tk. 150 more per bag. Then the price of that sugar fell again at night. He also complains about the labor cost per bag and sometimes less sugar in the bag.

Salim, the owner of Salim General Store, said that he bought sugar a few days ago for Tk. 6,600. In this his per kg sugar has fallen to Tk. 132. However, he bought two sacks of sugar for Tk. 6,850 without getting sugar due to the price increase; in this, sugar has fallen to Tk. 137 per kg. Shop rent, electricity bill, salary of employees etc will be added to this, making his expenses above Tk. 140 rupees. Now if you can't sell at a higher price then there is no way but to pay a loss. He complained that the prices of all kinds of products during Ramadan have already increased. Chickpeas were sold at Tk. 100 earlier but now they are being sold at Tk.104. But this gram was Tk. 80 last year, and sugar was Tk. 120.

A visit to the wholesale sugar markets in Mirpur revealed that there was some control over the supply of sugar from the mills due to the sudden increase in the price of sugar. But the mills are taking orders again at night. Businessmen are in a panic. So many traders are waiting and releasing sugar little by little.

Tajul Islam, manager of Momin Banizya Bitan, said that sugar was sold at a high price until 6 pm yesterday. On the news of price hike, sugar started selling at higher prices. But today I am selling for Tk. 6800 to Tk. 6850.

Also, Tanmoy Traders, Farooq Traders, Momin Traders did not order today at an additional rate of Tk. 6780.

Meanwhile, the price of sugar in Moulvibazar increased by at least Tk. 50-100 per bag yesterday. Besides, many traders are not getting sugar even after ordering. They said that when a vehicle is sent to bring sugar, the transport sits at the mill gate for two or three days. Tk. 2000 per day as demurrage has to be paid. This then feeds into the price of sugar. If the goods were available immediately then the sugar would have been available even less.

Hasibur Rahman, an official of a private organization, has come to the market to prepare for the upcoming Shabe -barat and Ramadan market. He said that a kind of game has already started with the price of sugar before Ramadan. In our country, if there is any problem, a part of the businessmen suddenly increase the price without thinking about the people, just for the sake of extra profit. Sugar which was Tk. 115-120 last year is now Tk. 140-155 . Sugar no longer feels like sugar, it feels like poison. The rise in commodity prices has now become a thorn in the neck. So the government should pay close attention to the market so that common people don't suffer during Ramadan.

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