Intruders in custody happy about BGB hospitalityAbdullah Juberee . Teknaf
Children from Myanmar were playing at the Border Guard Bangladesh outpost at Shahparir Dwip while their parents were praising the hospitality they received there as they talked with reporters.
Suddenly a dead silence descended on the area and the grown-ups started weeping when they were asked about their departure for homes in Sittwe, the capital of the Rakhaine state of Myanmar where sectarian violence broke out.
Thirteen people of two families have been kept at the BGB outpost since they were picked up on June 15 from villages at Shahparir Dwip where they took shelter after they had sneaked into Bangladesh fleeing sectarian violence in Sittwe.
Rashid Ahmed, 55, a fisherman of Raguna Para in Sittwe, was the eldest of the the 13 people. He said that the BGB men were kind enough to them and provided them with meals, medicine, clothes and also consoled them. But his eyes became full of tears when he was asked about sailing for Sittwe.
His son-in-law got killed in the Sittwe violence and one of his sons went missing after they fled home together. ‘They [BGB] are providing us with what we need but telling us that they are unable to allow us to stay in Bangladesh. They might send us as soon as the sea becomes calm,’ he said heaving a long sigh.
Rashid’s son Sultan also echoed him narrating the BGB hospitality but became anxious about what there is in store for them.
Rahima Khatun, 20, who had to witness the slaughtering of his husband Mohammad Islam, a fisherman, at Jaliapara of Sittwe, was also happy about the treatment of her four sons by BGB personnel. ‘All the soldiers time and again inquire about the boys and meet their demands,’ she said.
She became emotional when she was talking about their departure for home.
‘These people have done a lot for us. We are grateful. Please tell them not to send us back. I have none there to live with. They sliced my husband into pieces,’ she said with tears rolling down her cheeks.
The commanding officer of the 42 BG Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Zahid Hasan, said that they were providing all humanitarian assistance for the intruders who were now in their custody.
‘They are here because of their crisis and the entire world by now has known why they are here. But the ability of our government is
limited. So we are sending them back as at the government’s decision,’ he said.
‘These people have come here from Sittwe after a long sea journey. We are looking for a seagoing vessel and sailors. When we could arranged them, the sea was rough. We cannot set the women and children on a risky journey. So we are waiting for the sea to become calm,’ he said.
Zahid was unhappy about the propaganda of certain quarters at home and abroad that the women and children in their custody were not treated well. ‘We ask you to see how they are living here,’ he said.
Zahid also differed with media reports that intrusion of Myanmar citizens into Bangladesh continued. ‘I would say that it has stopped as the situation improved on the other side of the border. Today [Friday] only seven people came and it is a normal phenomenon in the border. We will send them back after the weather improves,’ he added.
Following the statement of a rights group about the newborn baby Sangram, the border guards also presented him and his parents and siblings before the media.
‘I should thank them for standing by me when I had to pass the toughest time,’ said Sangram’s mother Amina Akhtar.
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