Reports from Bangladesh say Rohangyas are lost, unattended and unaware of the fate that awaits them. Numbed by the brutalities witnessed back home in Myanmar, the only thing they know is the pangs of hunger and thirst as they struggle to survive.

According to the UNICEF, of two lakh-odd children who have crossed over to Bangladesh in recent weeks, at least, 1,312 have been separated from their parents. Aid agencies estimated the number of lost children will shoot up as more refugees arrive in Cox’s Bazar. Most of these children are vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation, either commercially or sexually.

Migrants from Myanmar are creating problems in India and the union government says inputs from security agencies and other authentic material indicated linkages of some of the unauthorized Rohingya immigrants with Pakistan-based terror organizations. Many of Rohingyas figure in the suspected sinister designs of ISI/ IS and other extremist groups who want to achieve their ulterior motives in India, including that of flaring communal and sectarian violence in sensitive areas.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says all Rohingya refugees couldn’t be branded terrorists. “Let the government take steps again those who have terror links, but the misdeeds of the few can’t be generalized. We need to distinguish between terrorists and commoners”, she says adding India’s security could not be compromised, but “branding the entire community terrorist is inhuman”. Someone should ask the CM how to sort out among large number of migrants, who is a terrorist and who is not? Some innocents are bound to suffer.

A galaxy of Indian lawyers including Fali S Nariman and Kapil Sibal have filed a petition in the Supreme Court on behalf of two Rohingya Muslims opposing the centre’s decision to deport migrants.

The government stood by its decision to deport illegal Rohingya migrants and told the apex court that dealing with illegal migrants was part of the executive’s exclusive policy domain and its validity could not be tested judicially. It urged the court not to entertain petition against deportation of Rohingyas.

With a mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims sparking accusation of ethnic cleansing from the United Nations and others, Myanmar’s de facto Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi said her country does not fear international scrutiny and invited diplomats to see some areas themselves.

Though an estimated 4, 21,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh in less than a month as their villages burned and hundreds were killed, Suu Kyi said the “great majority” of Muslims within the conflict zone stayed and that “more than 50 per cent of their villages are intact”. The Nobel Peace laureate’s global image has been damaged by violence since Rohingya insurgents attacked Myanmar’s security forces. The Rohingyas fled their villages in the military crackdown that followed, and many of their villages have been burnt but members of the persecuted minority have said soldiers and Buddhist mobs attacked them.

Suu Kyi’s first address to the nation since the violence erupted came days after she cancelled plans to attend the UN General Assembly, a decision widely seen as a response to international criticism. She assured Bangladesh, India and other nations that Myanmar was prepared to take back the “refugees” after “verification process”. This is not as easy as it sounds. The process is based on a 1993 agreement reached with Bangladesh under which repatriation was given to “those carrying Myanmar’s identity cards”, “those able to present other documents issued by relevant Myanmar authorities” and “all those able to furnish evidence of their residence in Myanmar”.

It is doubtful that many among over four lakhs, who fled, carried their documents with them, or had any to begin with. Only in 2015, the Myanmar government cancelled Temporary Residence cards given to the Rohingyas from 1995. At the centre of the present crisis is Myanmar’s refusal to accept the Rohingya people as citizens of the country, and unless this is resolved, the problem is certain to continue. The Rohingyas are not in the list of 135 Myanmar’s ethnic groups and the 1982 Citizenship Act makes it next to impossible for them to acquire citizenship.

The Kofi Annan Advisory Commission on Rakhine state, appointed at Suu Kyi’s behest, submitted its report on August 25, which said Myanmar should establish a clear strategy and timeline for the citizenship verification process. It has recommended a review of existing Citizenship Act. Suu Kyi referred this in her speech to say the doable recommendations would be implemented in the “shortest” time. Doubtless, that will not include the Citizenship Act overhaul. (IPA Service)