Minister talks tough against helping Rohingyas to get passport, NID

3.5 lakh law enforcers to be deployed in 31,000 puja mandaps

Staff Correspondent | Published: 16:17, Sep 18,2019 | Updated: 00:25, Sep 19,2019


Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan. — UNB file photo

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Wednesday said anyone helping Rohingyas to get Bangladeshi passports or national identification cards would face stern action.

He also said besides police, people in many authorities including local government representatives were also involved in the process of issuing such documents.

After a security coordination meeting at the ministry ahead of Durga Puja to be celebrated on October 4-8, the minister flanked with senior officials, however, said as the biometric data of around eight lakh Rohingyas were integrated with the server of national identification wing of the country’s Election Commission, Rohingyas would be spotted if they try to get passport or national identification cards.

The Election Commission suspended Jainal Abedin, office assistant at Double Mooring election office in Chattogram city, on Tuesday for his alleged connection in issuing National Identity Cards to Rohingyas by manipulating information. Police also arrested three people including Jainal on Monday night. The other arrestees were Bijoy Das, 24, a driver and his sister Sima Das, 26.

Election Commission deputy secretary Ashraful Alam in an order suspended Jainal for his involvement with issuance of NIDs to Rohingyas.

Double Mooring election officer Pallabi Chakma filed a case with Kotwali police on Tuesday morning under Digital Security Act and Election Commission Act against five accused including Jainal.

By using a ‘stolen’ laptop from the EC, they made NIDs and uploaded information on national database.

Asked how the Rohingyas get passports which were verified by the Special Branch of police at final stage, the minister said many agencies and local government representatives including ward counsellor were responsible in the issuance process of any passport. Police at final stage just check presence of the individual.

‘But,’ the minister said, ‘we have taken all the measures to stop Rohingyas from getting [Bangladeshi] passports.’

The press conference was called to detail what security measures the government taken to celebrate Durga Puja in the first week of October at over 31,000 puja mandaps across the country.

The minister said they would deploy over 3.5 lakh members from the law enforcement agencies along with the volunteers from the respective organisers.

He said law enforcers were asked to prevent traffic congestion if any take place during the celebration.

Asked why idols were damaged ahead of the celebration and what action was taken to prevent it, the minister replied that they had discussed the reason behind the damaging of idols.

He said other than damaging some idols intentionally, in many cases those idols were damaged following conflicts among the management committee.

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