Dhaka, Bangladesh
A joint-venture project

Kismet of Rohingyas

A joint-venture project

News Special If and how the ethnic violence-tossed Rohingyas will be repatriated to their native land in Myanmar remains cloaked in mystery. A hush-hush ambience in bilateral, trilateral and multilateral dealings regarding the crisis raises zillions of questions about their kismet. A million-dollar question that cropped up amid latest developments on a global scale is whether the over-one-million-strong population of down-and-outs was destined to be turned into a project for multinational investment. The fertile ground for the spawning of such scepticism is the event of China-brokered 'bilateral solution' turning a sort of damp squib and global agencies coming down to the ground levels with activities being interpreted as dubious. Three simultaneous happenings--overt and, reportedly, covert--are being juxtaposed to draw such inference about humanity in distress becoming a stuff of capital investment in. The first is a joint visit of the chiefs of two world forums of nations--the United Nations and the World Bank--to Bangladesh and the camps sheltering the Rohingya minority Muslims flushed out of the Rakhine state of Myanmar amid a crackdown. The second is the WB announcement of an aid package worth 480 million US dollars and Asian Development Bank (ADB) assistance of $100 million for the Rohingya upkeep. And the third, and most thought-provoking one, is a reported secret tripartite deal among the UN human-rights body, UNHCR, and development-financing agency, UNDP, and the Myanmar government. The pact, if any, remains a high secret as of now. But information trickling out into press says a core point of agreement could be resettlement of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh. The government of Bangladesh has, meanwhile, taken up a project for relocation of the Rohingya habitats to Bhashanchar island of the Bay of Bengal in Noakhali far inland from the seaside huts in Cox'sbazar close by the country's frontier with Myanmar. Several hundred-crore taka has been allocated for building the housing facility and their upkeep. Reports have it that their homeland is being transformed into economic zones and businesses hubs of world's big powers, namely China, Russia, India and the like. And Buddhist Myanmar people are being settled at razed Rohingya homesteads. Then what? Questions are being raised here by many analysts whether or not the banished Burmese Muslims are being permanently settled over here in the interest of multinational investments in Rakhine hubs that fall in a zone of geopolitical and geo-strategic importance. And to facilitate that ventures the luckless Rohingyas are being transformed into a sort of human project with local and foreign funding. Many see no possibility of early repatriation of the Rohingyas, although the mediator, China, of late also, assured of start of the process soon. Even they are critical of the role of the United Nations in this respect. "The UN secretary-general says he cannot do anything. If so, is the world body going to be defunct?" wondered major-general Abdur Rashid (rtd) at a Thursday TV talk. Former foreign secretary and BNP leader Shamsher Mubin Chowdhury at the same programme struck an even far more pessimistic note over the situation and the roles of the biggies and global bodies.

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