Rohingyas facing no problem on the island, says secretary of the disaster management and relief
The Bangladesh government has strongly denied the allegations of sexual assault on Rohingya women living in Bhashan Char by the members of police or anybody else.
Officials concerned also dismissed the notion that 306 Rohingyas are living in a prison-like situation and insisted that given the circumstances, the residents of Bhashan Char are doing well.
Bhashan Char is an island under Noakhali district developed for relocating nearly 100,000 of over a million persecuted people from Myanmar’s Rakhine state sheltered in congested camps in Cox’s Bazar.
After rescuing from sea in April, 306 Rohingyas, who had returned to Bangladeshi waters after failing to disembark in Malaysia, were brought to the Island.
The Guardian, a leading daily of the United Kingdom, published a report on Tuesday, saying: “Rohingya refugees allege they are being held against their will in jail-like conditions and subjected to rape and sexual assault on a Bangladeshi island in the Bay of the Bengal.”
An Amnesty International report published last week also alleged sexual assault against Rohingya women on the island, it said.
When contacted, Md Mohsin, secretary of the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry that oversees the Rohingya crisis, told Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday: “These allegations are utterly false. There is not a shred of truth in these allegations.”
“Neither I nor any of my officials have heard anything like that,” he said.
“They [Rohingyas] are safe and secure on the island. They are being looked after well,” said Secretary Mohsin.
About the living conditions, he said: “The Rohingyas are not facing any problem in leading their lives.”
“It is absurd and baseless. It is out of question,” Alamgir Hossain, the superintendent of police in Noakhali, told this correspondent on Tuesday regarding the allegations.
“Let alone sexual assault or rape, the Rohingyas cannot be harmed in any manner as there are presence of personnel of several law enforcing agencies, including intelligence ones.
“There are 69 police personnel, some of them women, to ensure the safety of the Rohingyas. And, you have Bangladesh Navy present there,” he said.
“If anything like that was perpetrated by anyone from my force, somebody would have informed me. I have heard nothing like that,” said Alamgir, adding: “I reject such allegations completely.”
Meanwhile, an official concerned, who is familiar with Bhashan Char, said: “While the allegations of sexual allegations and rape are all but false, their living conditions are not ideal.
“The Rohingyas have to confine themselves to a limited space and they are not allowed to move freely within the island.”