More than five years have passed since Bangladesh sheltered Rohingya populace when they fled Myanmar amid genocide committed by Burmese military and their cohorts. Meanwhile Bangladesh authorities have made numerous initiatives in getting this matter resolved and sending the huge size of over 1.20 million Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar. But it seems, the international community and organizations have been either bluffing or giving false promises to Dhaka, while Myanmar authorities are resorting to newer tactics each time with the bad intention of somehow avoiding taking these people back to their country. For a country like Bangladesh, over 1.20 million Rohingyas is a major burden – both economically and socially while according to experts, Rohingyas may ultimately turn into a major security threat to Bangladesh and neighboring nations in particular and the region in general.
While the international community visibly is reluctant in exerting real pressure on Myanmar in resolving this issue and taking back the Rohingyas, some elements are coming up with extremely disturbing proposals of integrating Rohingyas into Bangladesh society. In recent times, some of the elements even have started a campaign demanding Bangladesh should allow Rohingya children getting education in local curriculum, which they said “would help Rohingyas in getting integrated into the mainstream society”. Until now, to my knowledge, there is no protest from the Bangladesh side to such an outrageous proposition.
According to credible sources, by now, more than one hundred thousand Rohingyas managed to get Bangladeshi national ID and even passport and have travelled to several Western and Middle Eastern nations, where they sought asylum.
The source further said, during the past five years, at least one hundred thousand Rohingyas also have succeeded in melting into Bangladesh society.
It should be mentioned here that Rohingyas by nature are inclined towards criminal activities as a major segment of these people are dependent on drug and illegal weapon trafficking. A large number of Rohingyas are also either involved or having sympathy towards militancy outfits such as Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
While most of Bangladeshi Muslims are moderates and against militancy, terrorism or religious extremism, Rohingyas mostly are highly radicalized who feel fancy at having moral support towards jihadist groups and their activities. For years, Tablighi Jamaat has played a vital role in radicalizing Rohingyas and luring them towards militancy. Pakistani espionage agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and few more elements have also been attempting to use Rohingyas towards destructive plots.
Although Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has shown extreme humanity towards Rohingyas by giving them shelter when they were fleeing Myanmar amid genocide, most of these Myanmar populaces are against Awami League and consider Islamist and jihadist forces such as Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) as their allies. For this particular reason, Rohingyas may be involved in subversive and destructive activities before the 2023 general elections in Bangladesh. In my opinion, anti-Bangladesh, anti-Hindu, anti-India and anti-Awami League forces may even succeed in recruiting Rohingya men and women for staging suicide attacks within Bangladesh and beyond.
It should be mentioned here that, presence of Rohingyas in Chittagong and adjacent districts is already hampering Bangladesh’s tourism industry and income from this sector. According to statistics, following the arrival of Rohingyas in Bangladesh, frequency and number of crimes in those areas have significantly increased.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has on a number of times called upon the international community to come forward in solving the Rohingya issue. But unfortunately, until now there is no real sign of any initiatives from them. Additionally, the international community is gradually losing interest and attention to this matter, while Bangladesh is not receiving substantial donations and aid from the international community, which is essential for feeding this huge size of people, alongside meeting their basic needs.
Another important factor is opposition parties – especially Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jatiyo Party (JP) and those Islamist forces such as Hefazat-e-Islam (HeI), who instead of playing positive role in solving the Rohingya crisis are engaged into notorious conspiracy with the rogue agenda of further complicating the matter. To my knowledge, the BNP, for example, instead of seeking help from the international community in resolving the Rohingya crisis, has been making attempts to downplay the matter with their contacts in the West. Reason behind such nefarious tendencies of BNP is clear – they are considering Rohingyas as one of the most vital tools that may be used by them against the ruling Awami League especially before the 2023 general elections.
For the Awami League government, it is one of the top goals to see immediate resolution to the Rohingya issue. But it seems, our efforts in getting the matter resolved through diplomatic channels may not be of any optimism anymore. We need to consider secondary options, for the sake of national interest. Even if that option sounds a bit stern.