Dhaka: Hindus from Myanmar have joined streams of Muslim Rohingyas to seek refuge in Bangladesh after the killing of 86 people from their community in the ethnic violence in the neighbouring Buddhist-majority country.
Officials said nearly 500 Hindus arrived in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, bordering Myanmar, along with tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims amid escalated violence at home.
UN officials estimate some 90,000 people have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar in past 10 days and thousands more were trapped on borders without basic food and medicines.
A Bangladeshi official told PTI on condition of anonymity:
“A total of 414 Hindus from (Myanmar’s) Rakhine state took refuge at a Hindu village in Cox’s Bazar.”
However, Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council President Rana Dasgupta, who visited the village, said the figure of Hindu refugees was 510.
He said the refugees took shelters in different Hindu houses after fleeing their home along with ordinary Rohingyas following the killing of 86 Hindus in ethnic violence.
“According to the Hindu refugees, unidentified masked people in black attires attacked their homes killing 86 people on 27 and 28 August at different places in Myanmar’s Mangdu district.”
“Ordinary Rohingya Muslims escorted them to borders from where these Hindus entered Bangladesh along with thousands others.”
A Hindu woman whose parents had already died earlier, was deprived of her husband who didn’t want to participate in the butchering of Muslims. She’s also pregnant with a six-month old baby.
“The attack on Myanmar Hindus should be investigated to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Dasgupta said.
Meanwhile, Cox’s Bazar’s deputy commissioner or administrative chief Ali Hossain told reporters bodies of 54 Rohingyas washed up on the Bangladesh shore in last five days.
The latest spate of violence erupted in Rakhine state on 25 August after alleged Rohingya insurgents attacked several police posts, triggering a counter-offensive by the military that resulted in the death of at least 400 people, mostly if not all being civilians.
Rakhine, the poorest region in Myanmar, is home to more than a million Rohingya. They have faced decades of persecution in the Buddhist-majority country, where they are not considered citizens.
Soldiers and armed residents have been accused of carrying out a killing spree against Rohingya Muslim men, women, and children.
Reports said Myanmar blocked all UN aid agencies from delivering vital supplies of food, water and medicine to thousands of desperate civilians at the centre of the bloody military campaign in Myanmar.
Myanmar blocks all UN aid to civilians at heart of Rohingya crisis https://t.co/MmMc1GV58I
— The Guardian (@guardian) September 4, 2017
But those who have sought refuge at the borders of Burma and Bangladesh are in the numbers of tens and thousands and they desperately need help. Click here to donate to help them.
— Muslim Council HK (@muslimcouncilhk) September 4, 2017