Bangladesh has borne most of the brunt of Myanmar’s crackdown on Rohingyas, which saw the community flee Myanmar and relocate in large numbers in Bangladesh and the country now hosts over 1.1 Million Rohingyas. On multiple occasions, Bangladesh has tried and failed to repatriate the Rohingyas back to Myanmar and the NGOs present in the Rohingya camps have a major role to play in it. The NGOs have been found to indulge in wrongful activities and urging the Rohingyas to not leave Bangladesh by aiding their gatherings and supplying them with sharp weeding tools. The Bangladesh government has got the hint of the role the NGOs have played in instigating the Rohingyas and have decided to withdraw 41 NGOs from the Rohingya camps for their wrongdoings.
Moreover, the Bangladesh government on Wednesday decided to ban two NGOs, viz, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Al-Markazul Islami for secretly assisting a Rohingya rally and instigating the refugees to not return to Myanmar.
The NGOs allegedly helped the Rohingyas organise a rally on August 25, on the second anniversary of the Myanmar military-led operation and many Rohingyas were found to carry sharp weapons in the rally. The NGOs were found to instigate the refugees to not return to their homeland and hence, the Bangladesh government moved to freeze their bank accounts. It is believed that if the refugees agree to return to their homeland in Myanmar, the NGOs will stop receiving millions of dollars in foreign aid and it’s in their best interest that the refugees continue to stay in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is now also facing widespread anti-refugee protests as the local police have blamed Rohingya refugees for the murder of Omar Faruk, a ruling party official. The Bangladesh government has also banned the use of sim cards and mobile phones in the refugee camp, in a bid to stop the smuggling of drugs across the border with Myanmar by Rohingya refugees. The refugees living in Rohingya camps have been found to abuse mobile phone access to conduct criminal activities such as trafficking of methamphetamine pills, worth hundreds of millions of dollars from Myanmar.
The events taking place in Bangladesh should serve as an eye-opener for India as over 40,000 Rohingyas are said to be illegally staying in India with the help of various NGOs with a network of touts based in Assam and West Bengal arranging forged documents for the Rohingyas who have entered the country illegally.
Last year, the Modi government had asked the states including Jammu & Kashmir to check the movement of illegal Rohingya settlers by confining them to pre-identified locations. The Centre had also asked the states to record their personal particulars, including biometric details and not to issue them Aadhaar numbers and other identity proofs.
This was sought so that details of the Rohingyas can be shared with Myanmar in case of repatriation. Moreover, the move would also check the movement of Rohingyas and their diffusion into the Indian society where they could possibly be involved in crime and vulnerable to radicalisation.
Nonetheless, some state governments seem to have complete disregard for Centre’s concerns and are in fact willing to settle Rohingyas and blend them in the society. A prime example is West Bengal. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier called for Rohingyas to be allowed to settle in the state for obvious political reasons, in a move that could have widespread political and demographic ramifications for the state.
Thankfully, despite tremendous pressure by the liberal brigade, the Central Government stuck to its stand and refused to rehabilitate Rohingyas on Indian soil. However, this hasn’t stopped Rohingyas from settling in West Bengal. Despite Centre’s instruction to identify and deport the illegal Rohingya immigrants, a Rohingya refugee camp is flourishing in South Bengal, just 40 kilometres of Kolkata. Hossain Gazi, the man behind the makeshift camp built on a private plot was emboldened by Mamata’s statement where she asserted that all Rohingya Muslims are our brothers.
The Centre had earlier notified the J&K government of the involvement of Rohingyas in illegal activities such as fabrication of documents, including voter IDs, money laundering and other anti-national activities.
As hundreds of refugees continue to attempt to enter India illegally, this poses a grave security threat to India as time and again, the Rohingyas have been found to be involved in terror activities with terror groups like Al-Qaeda and Taliban actively recruiting the refugees to wage war against India. In December 2016, Maulana Abdul Kuddus, the leader of a Rohingya militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami Arkana (HuJI-A) met with LeT co-founder and Jamat-Ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed to collaborate a full-fledged jihad movement in Indo-Myanmar border.
The Indian government needs to continue its crackdown on the NGOs who are failing to comply with the regulations and continue to aid and abate anti-India activities on Indian soil. The Modi government must scrutinise the NGOs and make sure that those helping the Rohingyas in illegal activiies are banned, as they pose a severe security threat to India.