Bangladeshis seek refuge after clashes

Thousands of Chakma and other minority group of Bangladesh have gathered along the barbed wire fencing in Indo-Bangla border in northern Tripura seeking refuge in India following ethnic clashes in the Chittagong Hill Tract of the neighbouring country since Saturday. Border Security Force personnel prevented them from crossing over the border and reportedly taken up the matter with Bangladesh.
Mr Bhaskar Rawat, deputy inspector-general of the BSF, said they have gathered in four places, including Silachari and Karbook, but none was allowed to cross the border. He said the total number of people seeking refuge is around 1,500 but local sources said it may be much higher. However he is optimist that the issue may be settled by Sunday as the tribal welfare minister of Bangladesh, Mr Dipankar Talukdar, has reached in the other side of Karbook in Chittagong Hill Tract and discussing with the people seeking refuge. He reportedly requested them to return to their home and assured full security.
Sources from across the border said the trouble started after BNP leader Kamaluddin was allegedly kidnapped by a group of tribals and angry Bengali Muslim settlers attacked tribal villages, burned down hundreds of houses and looted properties.
Buddha Chakma, one among the refuge seekers at Karbook told the reporters that the attackers indiscriminately bitten who ever came on their way. Though no confirmation is available he said some of them died too.
This is for the first time large number of Bangladeshis sought refuge in India after 1997 when over 55,000 refugees returned to their homeland following an agreement with the Bangladesh government. That time they stayed here for nearly 11 years in the wake of large scale ethnic clashes in Chittagong Hill Tract.
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