News desk: BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday said Myanmar must take back the Rohingyas who have fled the country facing persecution, and urged international agencies, including the United Nations, the European Union, OIC and influential countries to make immediate diplomatic efforts to send back the Rohingyas safely to Myanmar.
“What is badly needed now is action, not words,” she said. Along with the Bangladesh government, international agencies should come forward and take immediate steps for the repatriation of the Rohingyas to Myanmar on humanitarian grounds, she said. “I think it’s their moral responsibility,” she added.
Khaleda was distributing relief materials at the Rohingya refugee camps in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar. The former premier argued that Bangladesh is a poor country and it won’t be able to bear the responsibility of thousands of Rohingyas for a long time. She urged the Myanmar government to take back its citizens without any delay and ensure their safety and security.
“Bangladesh is a densely populated country. It has provided shelter to the Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds. Winter is coming. The rainy season will follow. International agencies should take immediate measures to resolve the crisis,” she said.
The BNP chief was in Cox’s Bazar to visit the Rohingyas who have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, following the atrocities of the Myanmar government forces and Buddhist, which was termed ‘textbook ethnic cleansing’ by the UN. Over Six lakh Rohingya people have so far taken shelter in Ukhiya upazila of Cox’s Bazar since August.
The BNP chairperson made the visit 12 days after returning from London, where she had gone for treatment.
Khaleda, who began her journey from Dhaka on Saturday, visited four refugee camps and distributed rice and food among women and children on behalf of the BNP.
Speaking at the Moynarghona camp, she made a scathing attack on the government for its failure to provide relief to the refugees and take necessary measures to resolve the crisis.
“The government has failed to provide relief, which other organisations, including the BNP and NGOs, are doing,” she said.
Khaleda also accused the government of trying to prevent other organizations from carrying out relief work.
She claimed that the BNP has stood by the Rohingya Muslims from the beginning and tried to assist them. “We’ll continue to provide help for as long as we can,” she added.
Khaleda thanked the Army, locals, and national and international organisations that have come forward to help the Rohingyas.
She urged the international agencies to provide relief to the Rohingyas on a large scale.
The former premier said her party has handed over 110 tonnes of rice in 10-kg bags and 1,000 packets of food—500 each for women and children.
Thousands of Rohingyas and locals gathered in front of the camps at Moynarghona, Hakimpara, and Balukhali 1 and 2, where Khaleda distributed relief.
At Balukhali, the BNP chairperson took a baby in her arms. A Rohingya woman at Moynarghona, however, refused to take the relief, saying she would like to go back to Myanmar. “My husband was killed by the Myanmar army. I have come here for justice,” said she, overwhelmed with emotion.
Khaleda also spoke at the medical camp run by the Doctors’ Association of Bangladesh and inaugurated a lab for carrying out medical tests.
The BNP chief left for the Rohingya camps from Cox’s Bazar at 11.40 am and returned to the tourist town in the afternoon.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Mirza Abbas, Abdul Moyeen Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan, and Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, and local leaders were also present on the occasion. Khaleda reached Chittagong on Sunday night and will return to Dhaka today by road.