Bangladeshi authorities have reportedly destroyed nearly 20 boats which ferried Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar. The officials have accused the smugglers of exploiting the exodus of the community and bringing methamphetamine into the state. Rohingyas are stateless Indo-Aryan people from Rakhine state in Myanmar and are categorised as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Around 40,000 Rohingyas have settled in India. Ever since the latest flare-up of violence against the community in Myanmar this year, over 4 lakh Rohingyas have fled the state, pouring into nearby countries like Bangladesh seeking refuge.
Bangladesh is also facing a refugee crisis, where the figure of Rohingya refugees has more than doubled than what was calculated weeks earlier when their sudden exodus from Rakhine began late August. Border guards in Bangladesh reportedly hit and arrested passengers and crew when they landed at Shah Porir Dwip, on the southern tip of Bangladesh late on Tuesday, refugees told Reuters. They also said that the boats in which they arrived were smashed to pieces by locals in the region. The local Border Guards Bangladesh commander, Lieutenant Colonel Ariful Islam, however denied the accusations and said that the officials did not beat anyone.
Islam also accused the organisers of the boat trips from Myanmar to Bangladesh of charging exorbitantly from the refugees for the short trip to the country. Although some passengers said that they had to pay 10,000 Bangladeshi taka each for the trip, others said that they travelled across the waters from free. While the passengers said that they did not see any drugs on the boat, the BGB commander said that border guards had found a large quantity of drugs in the water late on Tuesday.