DHAKA – A total of 31 Rohingya Muslims trying to enter Bangladesh from India have been stranded in no-man’s land between the two countries’ borders for three days, Bangladeshi authorities said on Monday.
The group had been living in India as refugees and were carrying cards issued by United Nations refugee agency UNHCR in India, according to a Border Guards Bangladesh official.
“We have stopped them from crossing the border. They are living under open sky in the border since Jan. 18,” said BGB commander, Lieutenant Colonel Golam Kabir.
“They are refugees from Myanmar living in India, we have seen their documents,” he said, adding that the refugees include 17 children, between three months to 12 years old.
The BGB commander said they had held two rounds of talks with India’s Border Security Force over the matter which ended “without any decision.”
Bangladesh authorities said over 1,300 Rohingyas fearing deportation to Myanmar have entered the country through different border crossings since May last year.
The influx of Rohingyas into Bangladesh from India escalated after the UNHCR said on Jan. 4 that Indian authorities had deported a family of asylum seekers to Myanmar.
That family, which has been handed over to Myanmar authorities, had been detained in the northeastern Indian state of Assam since 2013 for entering illegally into the country.
In October last year, India sent back seven Rohingya refugees to Rakhine State in Myanmar, in what was the first set of deportations since an Indian Supreme Court order in 2012 temporarily halted plans to deport nearly 40,000 Rohingyas who had been living in the country illegally.
UNHCR estimates that there are 18,000 registered Rohingya refugees and asylum seekers in India.
Over 730,000 members of the Rohingya community have fled to Bangladesh to escape a violent military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in August 2017, according to UNHCR figures.