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Bangla to take back refugees

Agartala, June 6: The Bangladesh government has agreed to take back over 450 of its citizens who have taken shelter in Tripura since Monday following ethnic strife in Chittagong Hill Tracts, an official said today.

The sub-divisional magistrate of Gandacherra in Tripura’s Dhalai district, Bhaskar Dasgupta, said officials of the BSF and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) held meetings on the issue on Wednesday and today.

“The BGB officials have sought a list of names, group photographs and details about the infiltrators to take follow-up actions,” Dasgupta said, adding, “after verification of the names and other details of the tribals, the BGB will take back the refugees,” Dasgupta told reporters.

The Tripura government had communicated the matter to the Union home and external affairs ministries earlier.

A Tripura home department official said state chief secretary Sanjay Kumar Panda and Dhalai district magistrate Milind Ramteke had separately spoken to the Indian high commissioner in Bangladesh, Pankaj Saran, to take up the matter with the neighbouring country.

The Dhalai district administration has provided food and relief to the refugees.

Over 70 families of Chakma and Tripuri tribes have taken refuge in four villages of Tripura’s Gandachara area, around 200km northeast of Agartala, along the Bangladesh border since Monday.

State government officials said the refugees, mostly Buddhists and Hindus, fled from their villages in Bangladesh after some “miscreants” allegedly attacked their homes in Chittagong Hill Tracts, a tribal-dominated area in southeast Bangladesh that borders India and Myanmar.

Chief minister Manik Sarkar, who has spoken to Saran, said, “Our officials are in touch with Bangladesh government officials over the issue.”