Alert on Rohingyas trying to renew Bangladesh passports

Amanur Rahman Roney
Published : 07:30, Oct 22, 2019 | Updated : 07:30, Oct 22, 2019

On Sept 5, Akbar Shah police in Chattogram arrested three Rohingyas with Bangladeshi passports from the port city’s Kattoli area.The Passport office is not engaged in identifying Rohingyas who got passports illegally. But if Rohingyas who traveled abroad go to the Bangladesh embassy to have their passports renewed, their documents will be confiscated and legal action will follow, says Bangladesh immigration and passport department.
On Sept 5, three Rohingya men were arrested by police from the Akbar Shah area of Chattogram. They told the police that their passports were issued from the Noakhali regional passport office. Two special branch policemen in Noakhali gave them clearance. This raised questions about police verification.
A probe committee recommended measures to be taken against the concerned special branch officers. Detectives feel that other Rohingyas also have similarly dubious passports and many have travelled to Saudi Arabia and Malaysia using them.
Director of Bangladesh Immigration and Passport Office, Saidur Rahman, said: “We are not working to monitor passports held by Rohingyas but any new passport brought to our office will undergo thorough scrutiny; if we find anything suspicious, steps will be taken.”
Last year, the then expatriate welfare minister Nurul Islam commented: “Around 250,000 Rohingyas went overseas using Bangladeshi passports.”
Law enforcers say that last year, around 400 Rohingya men and women were arrested for securing passports illegally and cases were lodged against them in Chattogram, Noakhali, Gazipur and other districts. These are being investigated by CID, CTTC and detective branch.
Deputy Commissioner of Chattogram Counter Terrorism Unit, Shahidullah, said: “We are investigating such cases and those who are linked to such practices will be traced and punished.”