Rohingya refugees abusing host's generosity

Nilratan Halder   | Sunday, 6 February 2022

Bangladesh has sheltered the Rohingya people out of humanitarian consideration but many of them are abusing the generosity extended to them. Producing false documents, they have already received birth registration, national identity cards (NID) and even passports. Had such manipulative citizenships been just a few isolated incidents, it would not be as grave a cause for concern as it is now. Reportedly, a case filed by the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) against a list of 150,000 fake Rohingya NIDs in 2019 is yet to be settled. On Thursday last, a 19-year Rohingya named Md. Arman was caught red-handed when he submitted his finger print--- a prerequisite for passport --- at the Chattogram divisional pass port office. He furnished all other required documents but because his finger print was preserved in the Rohingya data bank, he had no way to escape detection.

Evidently, the Rohingya obtain birth certificates in collusion with a network of local digital fraudsters in exchange for money and then they try for NID and passports. In 2019, a Rohingya woman was caught at the time of withdrawing the smart NID card from the Chattogram district election commission office. Interrogation revealed the extraordinarily devious way of issuance and receipt of NID. An ACC investigation led to the above mentioned list of 150,000 fake NIDs. Recently arrested Shah Ali, brother to Ataullah abu Ammar Jununi, chief of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) also got a Bangladeshi NID.

Report has it that five laptops were stolen from the Chattogram EC office and on completion of the NID some laptops which retained NID registration information were sold out. A group of dishonest but digitally smart people procured at least one such laptop and it issued 55,000 fake NID cards to the Rohingya. In Cox's Bazar, the Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan), a non-profit organization working for civil rights, submitted a list of 1,500 fake NIDs to Rohingya people.

What is intriguing is that not a single fake NID card so detected, according to a report carried in a Bangla contemporary, has been declared null and void. There are reports that a significant number of Rohingya have left Bangladesh with employment abroad. They took advantage of their passports they received by submitting false information. It is a serious crime to forge the domicile status of another country.

Even more worrying is the fact that the members of ARSA with their recent dubious activities and criminal records can pose a serious risk to Bangladesh's image abroad. ARSA is thought to be behind some murder incidents in the Ukhiya Rohingya camp. If they can do such acts on the host's soil, nothing is impossible for them. In the garb of refugees, some Rohingya people are flexing their muscle well beyond all limits. Such acts will, moreover, be a disincentive to the ongoing repatriation negotiation started on completion of the military junta's takeover of power, courtesy of Chinese mediation.

The number of the Rohingya is swelling and now their total population is about 1.5 million. With every passing year, their number will increase and Bangladesh will have to bear the brunt. As a host country, it has received plaudits from international communities and organisations but not as much help as was required. The adverse impacts of such a large number of refugees in terms of social, economic and environmental degradation in the areas where they are sheltered has already proved telling. It will be beyond repair. Let the international community take the issue seriously and exert enough pressure on the junta government of Myanmar to take back the Rohingya within a short time.


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