Dhaka –Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said Bangladesh cannot afford to take more burden of large scale influx of Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in neighbouring Myanmar.
“But we cannot open our gate for their influx on a large scale as it’s the matter of two sovereign countries,” the she said while responding to question in parliament during the Prime Minister’s weekly question-answer session.
The government has been giving all possible supports, including food, shelter and medical facilities to the Myanmar citizens who have already crossed the border into Bangladesh, she said.
Bangladesh’s foreign ministry has already summoned Myanmar envoy in Dhaka and asked him to refrain from creating any situation which would aggravate the situation.
“We have taken all steps which we should take. We are careful about both humanity and discouraging any subversive activities in the neighbouring country,” Hasina said adding that Bangladesh was very much sympathetic toward the Rohingyas, but hard against the culprits, who want to use Bangladesh’s land against neighbours.
Bangladesh has already allowed many distressed Myanmar nationals amid the trouble in Myanmar but under no circumstances Bangladesh would allow any criminals responsible recent attacks on Myanmar army and border guards, she said.
Hasina made those comments while responding to question from Jatiya Party lawmaker Fakhrul Imam in parliament after its session resume with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.
She said there will be no place in Bangladesh for those criminals responsible for carrying out attacks on Myanmar border guard and army leaving nine of them killed.
“Bangladesh’s soil would not be allowed to use for any subversive activities against our neighbours,” she said.
“We have to find out whether any of those culprits has taken shelter inside our territory and whenever they could be handed over to the Myanmar authorities soon after arrest,” she said.
According to an estimate by International Organisation of Migration as many as 21,000 Rohingya Muslims entered Bangladesh after Myanmar army launched a so-called counterinsurgency operation in the Rakhine state in October.
At least 100 people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, were reportedly killed by the military in Myanmar’s western state. More than 30,000 have been displaced because of the counterinsurgency sweeps, according to an UN estimate.