PM bins US congressman’s proposal for attaching Rakhine to Bangladesh

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Dhaka, July 08: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday outright binned a recent proposal by a US congressman that Myanmar’s Rakhine state should be brought under Bangladesh territory calling it a “flagitious” proposition and asked him rather to mobilize campaign for safe return of over a million Rohingyas to their homeland.“This is a flagitious and unjustified proposal. It is never acceptable . .. we are happy with our 54,000 square mile or 1,47, 000 square kilometer territory,” she told a press conference as asked for comments on Congressman Bradley Sherman’s proposal during US congress’s hearing on State Department’s budget for South Asia last week, BSS reports.

Sheikh Hasina added that Bangladesh offered makeshift refuge to the ethnic minority Muslim Rohongyas in its territory on humanitarian grounds which “does not mean, it wants to annex the Rakhine state”.

The premier reminded Sherman, chairman of US Congress Sub-committee on Asia Pacific, of the civil war of his country in the past and said Bangladesh would not do anything which would affect regional stability and peace.

“They may be a big country, but how a Congressman of the country forgot the past of their civil war and how they think that those days (civil war) will not come back again,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said, moreover, Rakhine appeared to be exposed to frequent unrest and “knowing and understanding that, why we will attach a troubled area to our territory,” she questioned.

“We will never do it,” she said.

The premier said Bangladesh honored Myanmar’s sovereignty while Rakhine was part of its territory and what Dhaka wanted was the safe return of the Rohingyas to their homeland in Rakhine state.

“Giving shelter to the Rohingyas does not mean that we will attach a part of the state. We’ve not such a mentality and we don’t want it. We want every state will remain with its sovereignty,” she said.

She said instead of floating such proposals, the US congressmen should do something so “Myanmar takes back their citizens from Bangladesh and that will be their humanitarian gesture”.

Sheikh Hasina said they should see the violation of human rights, rather refrain from creating trouble inside a country. “Fire was engulfed wherever they gave hand … peace didn’t come anywhere and militancy and unrest were created,” she said.

“We are trying to maintain peace in the region but there are efforts by them to lit fire … it’s never acceptable,” she added.

According to media reports Sherman made the proposal on June 13 as a brutal military crackdown forced tens of thousands of Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh deserting their home creating world’s biggest refugee crisis.

The UN called the atrocities as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing while rights groups described it as genocide.

The premier’s press conference came two days after her return from China after a five-day official visit largely to draw Beijing’s effective support to mount pressure on Myanmar to take back the Rohingyas.

She told the press that Chinese leaders assured Dhaka of pursuing their crucial ally Myanmar to end the crisis by taking back the Rohingyas.

“China assured us it will remain beside Bangladesh in the repatriation of the Rohingyas. Is it not good news for us? Hasina said.