THE Rohingyas are already going through a humanitarian disaster, fleeing violence by Myanmar’s security forces in Rakhine State to mostly Bangladesh. And they have been doing so intermittently, sometimes with high intensity, beginning in the early 1980s when Myanmar authorities started stripping them of citizenship, trampling down their basic rights and severely restricting their movement at home, leaving them with not a range of option for their livelihood. The spate of violence against the Rohingyas, which began on August 25 in Rakhine State, have so far left more then 400 of them dead at the hands of Myanmar forces. Hundreds of them are walking down to the River Naf, crossing the river huddled in boats, starving all — men, women and children — for days on end. When they flee to Bangladesh, it was only natural they grab whatever they can, whatever precious they think they have at home, so that they could buy some food, try to manage a shed overhead if they could reach Bangladesh, which they think is safer than Myanmar where they were born and have lived for generations. In such a disastrous situation, their coming to be mugged inside the Bangladesh territory is further jeopardising humanity.
A mobile court at Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar on Thursday sentenced, as New Age reported on Saturday, six people to varying terms of imprisonment for trying to snatch money from the Rohingyas. They also may have received some relief supplies or assistance, in cash and in kind, on arrival in Cox’s Bazar and their losing that would mean bleak days ahead, with their family having been starved for days. The mobile court is reported to have acted on a tip-off, which suggests that such incidents have been taking place there for at least a few days, if not from the beginning they have started pouring in after August 25. The mobile court may have foiled this attempt of Bangladeshis at mugging them or snatching away their money in the incident at hand. But it can very well be inferred that similar incidents may not have all been foiled. With the chances for such incidents continuing to take place in the areas, where thousands of the Rohingyas are living even under the open sky, it has already been time for the government to start acting to ensure their safety. The government, thus, should effectively stop any such incidents from taking place and deter them by alerting the law enforcers to such petty crimes, which might prove big for the Rohingyas, in the areas in question.
In all that has so far happened, it suggests that the government must ensure that the Rohingyas who have fled violence at home to Bangladesh do not fall into uncertainty, especially because of crimes such as these that the areas they are in seem to have been infested with. Unless this could be effectively done, we would only be endangering, in a grievous way, the lives of the Rohingyas who have already been in danger.
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