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India should play a key role in safe repatriation of the Rohingya refugee: Shiekh Hasina

Kolkata: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Friday that India should play an important role in ensuring the safe repatriation of the Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar.

Speaking at Shantiniketan University while inaugurating the newly constructed Bangladesh Bhavan here, Prime Minister Hasina said her government had provided humanitarian support to the Rohingyas while calling for international help to ensure that Myanmar takes back the refugees back to their country safely.

“Rohingyas have taken shelter in Bangladesh. We have given them a place on humanitarian grounds. We want them to return to their country as early as possible. I request you to help us to interact with Myanmar so that they take Rohingyas back,” she said.

Recalling the Liberation War of 1971, she invoked former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was instrumental in securing the complete independence of Bangladesh (then called East Pakistan) from then West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan).

Prime Minister Hasina lambasted erstwhile West Pakistan’s “oppressive” rule over Bangladesh claiming that its forces had suppressed the cultural heritage of the Bengalis and Rabindra Sangeet (Tagore Songs) was banned in the country.

She added that when the Pakistani forces were committing genocide on the people of Bangladesh, Gandhi had intervened in the middle and ensured that the Pakistani forces did not succeed.

The Bangladesh Prime Minister also called prominent poet Rabindranath Tagore a “great” as he composed two national anthems for India (Jana Gana Mana) and Bangladesh (Aamar Shonar Bangla – or My Golden Bengal).
“Rabindranath Tagore belongs to both the countries because he has written the national anthems of both the nations. He wrote most of his poems in Bangladesh and that is why we can claim a greater right over him,” Prime Minister Hasina further said.

Thanking India’s opposition parties for passing the landmark Land Boundary Agreement in the Parliament, Prime Minister Hasina said it gave an option to every citizen to become a proud Indian or a proud Bangladeshi.

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