The Rohingya families, currently languishing in the shelters in Kapan, have been separated from their family members.
KATHMANDU: Never had Myanmar’s Mohammad Sayed, 21, thought he would be languishing in an abysmal condition in the hastily built camps in Kathmandu’s Kapan. He recalls the day when he, along with his family members and friends, fled his homeland following a military crackdown on ethnic minorities, Rohingyas.
“I can’t explain how we were forced to leave the country,” he told Khabarhub reminiscing those horrible moments back in 2017. “In fact, we were treated as second-class citizens there,” he recalls subtly adding, “We escaped brutal killing by the military there.”
Sayed and his family fled the country saving themselves from the ‘cruel clutches’ of the Myanmar military, entered Nepal via Bangladesh, India, and reached Kathmandu. “In fact, I had never heard about Nepal where I am today,” he quips.
Twenty-eight-year-old Rafik Alam’s plight is no lesser than Sahid. “Imagine how we toddled for five days to reach Biratnagar without food,” he recalls his bitter experience. Alam, too, was unaware that there existed a sovereign country called Nepal. Alam is worried about his three sisters’ whereabouts. “I don’t know where and how my three sisters, who have been separated while fleeing, are doing?” he raises concern.
Most of the Rohingya families, currently languishing in the shelters in Kapan area of Kathmandu, have been separated with their family members. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), around 650 are spread out over Nepal though the exact numbers are yet to come.
Nuru Aamin’s sufferings are no less. “The military burnt my house into ashes before my eyes. They killed my wife before my eyes, confiscated my properties,” he shares with a shuddered throat. Aamin has more to share. He and some of his family members were able to escape empty-handed. “They did not spare my brothers,” he shared.
Moh. Ayas, 37, too, is unaware of the whereabouts of his two sisters and a brother. Currently, he lives with his wife, parents and a son in Kapan.
Sayed, Alam and others are representative figures. The ministry has not taken initiative to find out the exact number of the Rohungya refugees in Nepal.
Majority of the Rohingya refugees want to be repatriated to their homeland. “We are waiting to go back with dignity and respect. We don’t want to stay in Nepal,” they said unanimously. However, they said the Myanmar government has to return their land and property.
Nepal government’s policy
Meanwhile, the Government of Nepal, which has given refugee status to Tibetan and Bhutanese refugees, is not in a mood to give the status to Rohingyas, who are also languishing in several camps of Bangladesh. The Rohingyas have been facing aversion in Bangladesh as well and are at times accused of carrying out terrorism activities there.
The Rohingyas, who live majorly in Rakhine of Myanmar, are not recognized as citizens of the country. Reason: It has been said that they were brought to Myanmar as laborers by the British during their rule. The Myanmar government has been alleged of carrying out ethnic cleansing by forcing them to leave the country in one pretext or the other. It has been said that the discrimination against Rohingyas is because of the difference in religious faith since more than 80 percent in the country follow Buddhism.