Relocation of Rohingyas to Bangladesh island from camps brings cheer to many


New Delhi: The relocation of Rohingyas from camps of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh to one of the nearby islands has brought in positive news for a number of Rohingyas particularly teenagers.

One of them is ten-year old Saiful who lost his leg while crossing over to Bangladesh from Myanmar.

Saiful on reaching Bhashan Char (where Rohingyas are being relocated) this week breathed a sigh of relief. “Now I can walk freely and even play,” reported leading media The Daily Star quoting Saiful. .

The Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camps, where he and his family lived before, were made on hilly areas. “Here, the land is plain and open. I can walk about easily,” Saiful told The Daily Star.

1,804 Rohingyas arrived at Bhashan Char this week, of whom 848 were children.

“My cousins went with the first batch. They told us about Bhashan Char. And now we are going there,” Abul Kalam, father of two daughters, told The Daily Star, adding that many of his neighbours in the Cox’s Bazar camps told him to inform them of what it’s like at the char and they will join too.

Mariam Khatun, another Rohingya to arrive at the island said she would rather call it “Shantir Char (island of peace)”, reported The Daily Star.

Mariam is among the Rohingyas who fled to Bangladesh and took refuge in the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar. Bhashan Char’s housing project has been created by the Bangladesh Navy.

“The first batch of Rohingyas is basically working as an ambassador of Bhashan char. They are motivating people to come here,” said Bangladesh Navy Commodore AA Mamun Chowdhury, director of the Ashrayan-3 Project (the official name of the Bhashan Char project).

He said that initially it was between 500-700 people, but with time, the number reached 1,772. After some people joined at the last minute, 1,804 Rohingyas were relocated.

Shafi Alam, also a Rohingya, believes in the coming days more and more Rohingyas will relocate to Bhashan Char as their security is ensured there, according to The Daily Star report.

The department of forest, ministry of agriculture, ministry of education and some other ministries have already visited the island to provide services to the Rohingyas.

The Bangladesh government reiterated on Wednesday that the Rohingya refugees are being relocated to Bhashan Char at their will and that the process is being conducted maintaining utmost transparency. “The Government would like to make it unambiguously clear that the relocation process, which was commenced on 04 December 2020, in line with the GOB’s (Government of Bangladesh) efforts to decongest and de-risk the camps, strictly followed the principle of voluntariness and was conducted with utmost transparency,” said a media statement issued by the Foreign Ministry in the evening — a day after the transfer of the second batch of Rohingyas to the island.

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