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Dozens of Rohingya flee India for Bangladesh: officials

AFP  |  Dhaka 

Dozens of Rohingya Muslims have crossed the border into from in recent days, officials said Tuesday, as faces censure for deporting the persecuted minority to

Last week handed a Rohingya family of five to authorities, despite the there being accused of genocide against the stateless group.

The forced return -- the second in recent months -- was criticised by the and rights groups who accused of disregarding international law and sending the Rohingya to danger.

India, which is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, arrested 230 Rohingya in 2018 -- the most in years as Hindu hardliners called for the displaced Muslims to be deported en masse.

border officials and police said dozens of Rohingya had been detained crossing from India in the past week. They were sent to refugee camps in the country's south, where a million of the displaced Muslims live in hardship.

The round-ups in India, and fear of deportation to Myanmar, had fuelled the recent exodus, officials said.

"They told us they panicked after India started detaining Rohingya refugees and deporting them to Myanmar," said Shahjahan Kabir, a in the eastern Bangladeshi border town of

He told AFP that 17 Rohingya were detained last Thursday after crossing into Bangladesh, followed by 31 at a different border point. Most had been living in India for up to six years, Kabir added.

In Cox's Bazar, a border district where some 720,000 Rohingya have sought refuge from a crackdown in August 2017, local officials said at least 57 had arrived in recent days.

"They have come from places like and Jammu and Kashmir," said Rezaul Karim, of the giant refugee camp in Cox's Bazar.

For decades the Rohingya have faced persecution and pogroms in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which refuses to recognise them as citizens and falsely labels them "Bengali" illegal immigrants.

They were concentrated in Rakhine state, the epicentre of a brutal offensive in August 2017 that UN investigators described as genocidal in intent.

Dozens of Rohingya were also deported from to Bangladesh at the weekend, reported the London-based website.

Indian officials say around 40,000 Rohingya are living in India. The refugee agency says around 18,000 Rohingya are registered with the UNHCR.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 22:12 IST