NEW DELHI/DHAKA – Indian authorities have sent back 19 Rohingya refugees, including 10 children, to Bangladesh after finding them near the border between both countries, a security official told EFE on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Border Guard of Bangladesh told EFE that it noticed the presence of the Rohingyas when they entered a village in Bangladeshi territory, where they were arrested.
“We caught 19 Muslim Rohingyas in the border area who had entered India and we pushed them back into Bangladesh,” said an Indian Border Security Forces official, who requested anonymity, without revealing more details about the deportees, who were sent to Bangladeshi territory on Tuesday.
“In our interrogation they said they went to India in 2012 and 2014. When we asked them about how they came here, they said they came through India,” said Subedar Mosharraf Hossain, Commander of the Padmashakra Border Guard outpost on the Bangladeshi side.
Hossain added that the Rohingyas were not handed over to them by the Indian border force.
The Indian government has repeatedly said that the presence of Rohingyas in its territory poses a serious threat to the country’s security, and Delhi has strengthened its border with Myanmar to prevent the entry of more refugees.
In late September, India’s Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh called for not confusing the Rohingyas living illegally in India, which number about 40,000, with refugees and assured that they would not violate any international laws if they were expelled, as it concerned a national security issue.
The matter of possible expulsion of the Rohingyas is pending in the Indian Supreme Court, which must decide the fate of this beleaguered community’s members, whom Myanmar does not recognize as its citizens.
According to the latest United Nations figures, more than 520,000 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since the end of August fleeing the violence in Myanmar.
On Aug. 25, a Rohingya insurgent group staged a series of attacks on police and army posts in Rakhine state, to which the Myanmar military responded with an offensive that is still ongoing and has been labeled as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”