Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said that Rohingya refugees are a “big burden” on Bangladesh and the country is reaching out to the international community to ensure they return to their homeland.
Confessing that the presence of lakhs of refugees in the country had created challenges, the Prime Minister said she believes India could play a major role in resolving the issue, in an interview with news agency ANI.
“Well, you know… for us, it’s a big burden. India is a vast country. You can accommodate, but you don’t have much. But in our country, we have 1.1 million Rohingya. So, we are consulting with the international community and also our neighbouring countries. They should also take some steps so that they can go back home,” she said.
‘HOW LONG WILL ROHINGYAS STAY IN BANGLADESH?’
Hasina added that her government had tried to take care of the displaced community on humanitarian grounds.
“On humanitarian grounds, we give them shelter and provide everything… During Covid, we vaccinated all the Rohingya community. But how long will they stay here? In the camp where they are staying, our environmental hazard is there. Then some people engage in drug trafficking, some arms conflict, or women’s trafficking. Day by day, it is increasing.”
“So as quickly as they return home, it is good for our country and also for Myanmar. We have been trying our best to pursue them. We’re discussing with them and also with the international community, like ASEAN or UN, and then other countries,” she told ANI.
“But India, as a neighbouring country, can play a big role in it. I feel that,” Hasina added.
‘INDIA SHOULD SHOW MORE GENEROSITY’
During the interview, she was also asked about her country’s cooperation with India on sharing the Teesta River territory, to which she replied that while there were challenges, they could be resolved mutually.
“It is very sad that we are in a… you know… downstream. So water is coming from India, so India should show more generosity. Because both countries will be beneficiaries. Sometimes our people suffer a lot because of this need for water. Especially Teesta, we could not go for harvest and so many problems took place,” she said.
“I think it should be solved but, yes, we found that the Prime Minister is very… you know… eager to solve this problem, but the problem is in your country. So… we hope that it should, you know… it should be solved,” Hasina said.
She added that the two countries shared the water of the river Ganges. “Only Ganges water we share. The water, we signed the treaty. But we have another 54 rivers. Yes… It’s a long standing problem, so it should be solved,” she said.
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