Over a million of Rohingya migrants living in Bangladesh are a “big burden” and the country is reaching out to the international community to ensure that they return to their homeland, said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ahead of her bilateral visit to India, adding that she feels New Delhi could play a “big role” in resolving this issue.
“Well you know… for us it’s a big burden. India is a vast country; you can accommodate but you don’t have much. But in our country… we have 1.1 million Rohingya. So well… we are consulting with the international community and also our neighbouring countries, they should also take some steps so that they can go back home,” said PM Hasina in an interview with the news agency ANI.
She said that her government had taken care of the displaced community, a native of Myanmar, keeping the humanitarian aspect in mind.
“This Rohingya, yes… on humanitarian grounds we give them shelter and provide everything but during this COVID, we vaccinated all the Rohingya community. But how long will they stay here? So in the camp they are staying. Our environmental hazard is there. Then some people engage in drug trafficking or some arms conflict, women trafficking. Day by day it is increasing. So as quick as they return home it is good for our country and also for Myanmar. So we have been trying our best to pursue them, we’re discussing with them and also the international community, like ASEAN or UNO, then other countries,” Hasina said.
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The Bangladesh PM said that her country has provided shelter to the Rohingyas when they were facing many issues “but now they should go back to their country.”
“But India as a neighbour country, they can play a big role in it, I feel that,” said the 74-year old PM who will be on a four-day visit to India starting tomorrow.
On being asked about Dhaka’s cooperation with New Delhi on river water sharing especially with regard to Teesta river, Hasina said that while there were challenges, they were not anything which could not be resolved mutually.
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“It is very sad that we are in a… you know… downstream. So water is coming from India, so India should show more broadness. Because both the countries will be beneficiaries. So sometimes our people suffered a lot because of this need of water. Especially Teesta, we could not go for harvest and so many problems take place. So I think it should be solved but, yes we found that the Prime Minister is very… you know… eager to solve this problem, but the problem is in your country. So… we hope that it should, you know… it should be solved,” Hasina said.
She added that the two countries shared the water of the river Ganges. “Only Ganges water we share. The water, we signed the treaty. But we have another 54 rivers. Yes… So it’s a long standing problem, so it should be solved,” she said.