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Rohingyas pray for safe return at Eid prayers

  • Published at 10:11 pm June 16th, 2018
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Two Rohingya boys embrace, a custom observed after Eid prayers, in the Ukhiya camp in Cox's Bazar on Saturday Dhaka Tribune

They prayed on this auspicious day for safe return to their homeland, peace in Rakhine, and for a chance to visit the graves of their loved ones back home

For the Muslims among the Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, Eid day was a day for prayers and consolation, as the community torn away from its home offered gratitude for the survivors and mourned for the lost ones.

The camp dwellers held their Eid prayers on Saturday morning at the 1,020 mosques and 540 Maqtabs in the Ukhiya camp, five mosques in the Teknaf camp, 245 mosques and 20 Maqtabs in the unregistered camp.

They prayed on this auspicious day for safe return to their homeland, peace in Rakhine, and for a chance to visit the graves of their loved ones back home.

Kutupalong camp General Secretary Nur Mohammad said despite the slaughter and persecution the refugees faced in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, they still loved their homeland.

“We want to go back safely to our homes. This is what we prayed for. Our lives are confined to this small space. There is nowhere for our children to go. They will not know the joy of Eid,” he said.

Thaingkhali camp leader Master Abdul Mannan said: “My parents are in a grave in Rakhine. What do I celebrate? We want to return to Rakhine as soon as possible.”

Ayub Ali Majhi from Balukhali camp said: “After Eid prayers today, none of us in the mosque could hold back our tears. We have all lost someone in Rakhine – parents, siblings and family members.

“Something needs to be done. It has been 9-10 months since we got here. No international agency has been able to take any step for our safe repatriation.”

In absence of rain, the camp dwellers said they passed the Eid day relatively hassle-free.  During the on-going monsoon, the camps have been frequently inundated, with several incidents of mudslides.

Ukhiya Upazila Executive Officer (UNO) Nikaruzzaman Chowdhury said: “There are almost 1.2 million refugees, most of who are living in camps in Ukhiya. We have arranged for various supplies so that they can observe Eid properly.”

Cox's Bazar Deputy Commissioner Md Kamal Hossain said the district administration has been providing all kinds of support to the refugees.

“WFP, UNHCR, RRC and other agencies are delivering Eid gifts to the camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf. We organized prayers at the mosques so that the refugees can observe Eid formalities like everybody else,” he said.