00:26 GMT17 April 2021
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    Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says her country gave shelter to the fleeing Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds, but they should eventually return to Myanmar.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged India and other countries to mount pressure on Myanmar to take back over a million Rohingya Muslims who have sought shelter in her country to escape a military offensive. Hasina says Bangladesh gave shelter to the fleeing Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds, but they should return to Myanmar.

    READ MORE: Chasing Rohingya Refugees, Myanmar Deploys Troops to Border with Bangladesh

     "There are 11 lakh (1.1 million) Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. We have given them shelter due to humanitarian consideration; we want them to go back to their land. We cannot help offering shelter to oppressed people. We appeal to all to keep up pressure on the government of Myanmar to take them back," Sheikh Hasina said in the presence of her Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, in the Indian port city of Kolkata on Friday.

    The Indian government has so far refused to provide shelter to Rohingyas fleeing from Myanmar on the ground of national security. The Indian government is fighting a case in the Supreme Court filed by two Rohingyas against deportation plans involving around 40,000 people from Myanmar who entered into the country through the porous eastern border. 

    Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement last November for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees. Since then, two meetings of the Joint Working Group (JWG) have been held to accelerate the repatriation process. The second meeting of the group was held last week wherein a plan for the physical repatriation of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals living in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, was discussed with priority.

    READ MORE: Bangladesh Has No Space to Resettle Rohingya Refugees — Foreign Minister

    Bangladesh claims that Myanmar has been delaying the repatriation process while Myanmar has argued the process is complex but will begin soon. The agreement stipulates a two-year time frame to complete the repatriation process. In February, Bangladesh had exchanged a list of 8,032 Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar for repatriation. The repatriation process has not yet started, as Myanmar has so far verified the residency of only 878 Rohingyas on the list.


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