By Dr. Habib Siddiqui
I am sorry to say that Bangladesh has a shameful record on her treatment of the Rohingyas of Myanmar. The refugees that have taken shelter inside Bangladesh from Myanmar are maltreated and malnourished in the squalid camps and worse yet, all the avenues to uplift their lives are seemingly blocked by the government agencies.
It is a crime and I am ashamed of being a Bangladeshi for her treatment of this most persecuted people in our planet.
Even the international NGOs with their noble intention of coming to the aid of the Rohingya people are frowned upon by the government and often face stiff penalties including prison times.
Recently, Puemo Tchantchuing, who prefers to be known as Moussa Ibn Yacoub since his conversion to Islam, was arrested on Tuesday 22 December and has been detained since then.
As well as being accused of “suspicious activities”, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, he may be charged with using a false identity, because the name he uses is not the one on his passport and identity card, according to lawyer Samim Bolaky.
He was working for the French-based NGO Baraka City, which says he was stopped at a checkpoint while going to schools and orphanages in the south of the country where the Rohingya camps
“He is being kept in catastrophic conditions in cells that contain more than 40 prisoners,” Bolaky said.
He also faces charges for not registering with the authorities, according to Baraka City, which says that since the Rohingya are considered illegal immigrants
it is not possible for the NGO to declare its presence legally.
The French embassy
in Bangladesh has provided the “usual protection” and he is waiting to appear in court, France’s foreign ministry said.
Bangladesh should stop such persecution and harassment of foreign NGOs that come to do the right thing to help the stranded refugees who are denied such means of livelihood inside Bangladesh. Shame on Bangladesh’s criminal policy! I am simply ashamed!