The Awami League led 14-party alliance welcomed the government’s decision to take in Rohingya refugees on humanitarian grounds but are worried that militants and extremists maybe entering the country with them, disguised as refugees.
The comments were made on Saturday, during a meeting on the issue at the Awami League chairperson’s office in Dhanmondi, Dhaka.
During a press briefing after the meeting, spokesperson for the alliance, Mohammed Nasim said: “Bangladesh is sheltering refugees on humanitarian grounds but we cannot afford to let them in if they bring with them extremist elements that will hurt the law and order of the country.”
A senior leader of Awami League, seeking anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that during the meeting they discussed the influence of Pakistan, Jamaat and other other well known international terrorist organisations on the Rohingya refugees as a huge cause for concern.
The 14-party alliance also urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey the urgency of the issue to the international community who can create enough diplomatic pressure on the Myanmar government to take the refugees back.
Another senior leader of Awami League told the Dhaka Tribune that Bangladesh had already sent a proposal to Myanmar for a designated safe zone for the Rohingya’s in Rakhine State where they can live peacefully.
The alliance also decided to support the government over the issue and urged all political parties to work with the government on this issue. Nasim also urged the BNP not to use this humanitarian crisis as a political tool.
Chairman of Bangladesh Tariqat Federation (BFT), a Sufi, secular political party imbued with the spirit of war of liberation, upholding religious values and Sufism, Syed Nazibul Bashar Maizbhandari said: “We should be aware that militant groups can use Rohingya refugees for their own interest. We already know that Pakistan, IS and Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh have trained them in militancy.”
It was decided at the meeting that a team from the 14-party alliance will visit Cox’s Bazar to distribute reliefs among the Rohingya refugees soon.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JaSoD) General Secretary Shirin Akhter also briefed journalists after the meeting.