Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dhaka to accept 350 ethnic refugees from Agartala Saleem Samad with

Dulal Hossain from Khagrachhari

Bangladesh agreed to accept on Friday 350 ethnic minority members of 70 families who have fled Khagrachhari district on Monday last following an ethnic strife.

The 350 tribals, including women and children of over 70 families of Chakma and Tripura indigenous community took refuge in four villages of Tripura's Gandachara area, not far from the international border.

These people mostly Buddhists and Hindus, fled from their villages in Matiranga upazila after some "Bangalee settlers" reportedly attacked their homes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).

After series of parleys, the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Border Security Force (BSF) of India on Wednesday and Friday agreed on principle to accept these displaced people and ensure security of their villages, reports our Khagrachari correspondent.

Bangladesh has agreed to take back over 350 members of the ethnic families who have been sheltering in the Indian state of Tripura in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), an official said on Friday.

Dhalai district magistrate Milind K Ramteke of Tripura received a positive response from his counterpart Khagrachhari deputy commissioner regarding the return of the refugees.

During the first meeting on Wednesday, the BGB officials sought list of names, group photographs and details about the displaced people to take necessary actions. After verification of the names and other details of the refugees, the BGB agreed to take them back, official sources said in Tripura.
However, Bangladesh border officials at a meeting at Tuichakma market told their BSF counterpart that they were not attacked. "Only a market was burnt recently and after that the panic-stricken people fled from their villages and took shelter in Tripura," BGB officials were quoted as saying in Agartala press.

Indian press writes that earlier the Tripura government communicated the matter to the union home and external affairs ministries for necessary action.
An official of Tripura's home department told Indian news agency IANS that Tripura Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar Panda and Dhalai District Magistrate Milind Ramteke had separately spoken to Indian High Commissioner in Bangladesh Pankaj Saran to take up the matter with the Bangladesh government.

Tripura shares 856-km border with Bangladesh that is porous because it extends over densely forested mountains. Over 25 to 30 per cent of the India-Bangladesh border is still unfenced.

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