Burma Times Correspondent: June 08, 2015
150 migrants rescued from the first boat have been taken back by the government of Bangladesh. Burmese navy made the rescue on May 21.
Back then, the authorities claimed that all 208 migrants on the boat were Bangladeshis. Burma says the migrant crisis is caused by the exodus of Bangladesh migrants often claiming to be ‘Rohingyas’ for humanitarian relief.
Later it emerged that around 150 migrants on the boat were whisked away by the authorities before the international media and UN were called to the scene to project the rescue of ‘Bangladeshi’ migrants.
It also emerged from a Reuters investigation that out of the 208 migrants left, at least 8 were Rohingyas. This made the government furious with these 8 Rohingyas for speaking to the media and they are to be prosecuted as traffickers, according to sources.
After a detailed check by Bangladesh authorities, it has emerged that out of the 200 left, 50 more are Rohingyas who have either escaped to Bangladesh earlier, or pretended to be Bangladeshis after being threatened by the authorities. Many are refugees living in Kutupalong, Nayapara and Leda camp in Bangladesh.
The families of the 50 victims say they fear that the government shall arrest and torture these people.
Earlier some of the 150 migrants whisked away by the authorities have been released but threatened with the murder of their families if they dare speak to the media on their identities.
Verification is also proceeding on the more than 700 migrants found on the second rescued ship. The government claims most of them are Bangladeshis. Many of the migrants were however communicating with authorities in the Rakhine language, which is not understood by Bangladeshis. Many Rohingyas are fluent in the language.
There are also a considerable number of women and children on board. Bangladeshis who try to enter Malaysia for economic reasons leave their families at home. But Rohingyas fleeing persecution in Burma often take their families on the boat.