Worst incident involving Bhashan Char, which has been under international scrutiny
Bodies of 12 Rohingyas have so far been recovered after a trawler carrying 41 residents of the Bhahan Char Island, including women and children, capsized in the Bay of Bengal on Saturday, government officials concerned told Dhaka Tribune on Thursday.
Fifteen Rohingyas are still unaccounted for, and it is feared that they have perished, they said.
Earlier, 14 Rohingyas were rescued from the sea after the trawler had sunk, added the officials.
It is widely believed that the displaced people from Myanmar were fleeing the island, where they were relocated from the camps in Cox’s Bazar.
Bhashan Char, which is geographically under Noakhali district, was developed by the Bangladesh Navy at a cost of about Tk3,100 crore with a plan to relocate around 100,000 members of the persecuted community from Myanmar's Rakhine state, sheltered in the congested camps in Cox's Bazar. So far, nearly 18,500 people have been relocated.
“As far as we know, 12 bodies have been recovered. Searches are still going on,” Shahidul Islam, the superintendent of Noakhali, told this correspondent.
When contacted, Shamima Akter Jahan, the government official responsible for looking after the Rohingyas at Bhashan Char, told this correspondent: “Earlier, bodies of 11 Rohingyas, including women and children, were recovered. Another body was recovered last night. In total, 12 bodies have been recovered, while 15 are still missing.”
The Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Coast Guard are still conducting searches, she said.
Worst incident involving Bhashan Char
Bhashan Char has been under global spotlight since the beginning of the island’s development.
The United Nations, donor countries and international rights body have been vocal against the relocation from the very beginning, although the UN agreed lately to engage operationally with respect to Bhashan Char.
The loss of so many lives which is the worst incident involving the island may further fuel the criticism of those who are opposed to the relocation.