48 Bangladeshis Arrested and Didn’t get Chance to Become Rohingya

9 July 2012

Yesterday morning, 48 Bangladeshis, together with 2 human traffickers were arrested by Bangladesh Special Counter-Drugs Forces while they were trying to immigrate illegally to Malaysia.
The special forces said that those Bangladeshis were arrested in 4 hotels at Kadamtali area while human traffickers were arranging to send them to Malaysia via motor boats.
Major Rakibul Ami said, “As we received news, our No. 7 Rapid Action Battalion Division raided the four hotels and caught those Bangladeshis.”
Among the arrested Bangladeshis are fabric weavers, farmers, shopkeepers and unemployed people from Siraganj, Naogaon, Pabna, Magura, Jhinaidah cities in Bangladesh according to authorities.

There were around 100 Bangladeshis hiding in the hotels and most of them escaped during the raid.
According to BBC (Bangladesh) programme, around 100 Bangladeshis were arrested and their plan was to enter into Yangon, Myanmar first before moving onto Malaysia.
A human trafficker called Suru Zaman said these practices of human trafficking to Malaysia using motor boats and fishing boats have been ongoing since 1996.
Many Bangladesh immigrants escaped through boats; when they reached Thailand or Malaysia, they immediately get asylum by saying that they were Rohingyas and they had ran away from violation of human rights by Myanmar government. UNHCR refugees organization also gave out refugees acknowledgement cards if those Bangladeshis said in that way.

Those arrested are Bangladeshis who would continue to travel after bestowing themselves as Rohingya.
Recently Myanmar also has caught many Bangladeshis around Gwa island, Gwa township while they were trying illegally immigrate into Malaysia through motor boats.
Similarly, around 82 Bangladeshis were arrested at Yay township in Mon state Myanmar while they were trying to immigrate to Malaysia and sentenced to 1 year in prison.
When this news was broadcast by various media, VOA(Burmese) Programme depicted it as Myanmar government sentencing 90 Bangladeshis according to Immigration Act while Mizzima stated that 82 Bangladeshis were sentenced to Prison.

Likewise, Kaung Wa news center also reported that 82 Bangladeshis were arrested for illegal immigration.
However, an exile media called Irrawaddy reported the very same news as “Rohingya Boat people Sentenced on Immigration Charges” and stated that those sentenced to prison were Rohingya. During that very news, project director from Arakan Project, Chris Lewa stated that it is unacceptable to have their own people sentenced on their own land.

TS-Sam Christopher

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