India should ensure safe repatriation of Rohingyas: Sheikh Hasina

Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister of Bangladesh, said on Friday that India should play an important role in ensuring the safe repatriation of the Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar.

She said this in the presence of prime minister Modi and chief minister of West Bengal Mamta Banerjee. The three were in Santiniketan (West Bengal) for the inauguration of Bangladesh Bhavan.

The Bangladeshi premier is on a two-day visit to India, on the invitation of Prime Minister Modi. The two premiers are expected to hold a bilateral meetings on many issues. Hasina will return to Bangladesh on Saturday night.

Hasina said her government had provided humanitarian support to the Rohingyas while calling for international help to ensure that Myanmar takes the refugees back to their country safely.

“Rohingyas have taken shelter in Bangladesh. We have given them a place on humanitarian grounds. We want them to return to their country as early as possible. I request you to help us to interact with Myanmar so that they take Rohingyas back,” she said.

Over 700,000 Rohingyas had fled a brutal military campaign in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August last year. They are staying in Bangladeshi refugee camps. Both Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed on a repatriation plan to ensure the safety and security of the Rohingyas within a specified time frame.

Recalling the Liberation War of 1971, she said that the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was instrumental in securing the complete independence of Bangladesh (then called East Pakistan) from then West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan).

The Bangladeshi Prime Minister also called prominent poet Rabindranath Tagore a “great” as he composed two national anthems for India (Jana Gana Mana) and Bangladesh (Aamar Shonar Bangla – or My Golden Bengal).

“Rabindranath Tagore belongs to both the countries because he has written the national anthems of both the nations. He wrote most of his poems in Bangladesh and that is why we can claim a greater right over him,” Prime Minister Hasina further said.



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