Dhaka Courier

An overcrowded boat carrying about 138 Rohingya refugees

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An overcrowded boat carrying about 138 Rohingya refugees from Bangladeshi camps sank in the Bay of Bengal, leaving at least 15 confirmed dead, mostly women, Bangladeshi officials said. The coast guard, navy divers and other rescuers recovered the bodies after the wooden boat capsized off St. Martin’s Island, the top elected official on the island said.

Noor Ahmed said by phone from the scene that 71 refugees on the boat survived. It was unclear how many remained missing. The passengers were enticed by traffickers to board the boat from various points as it headed for Malaysia, he said. Iqbal Hossain, a police superintendent in Cox’s Bazar, said by phone the overcrowding of the boat, which may have also been carrying additional cargo, caused it to capsize. Traffickers usually lure refugees by promising a better life overseas. Many past attempts to travel illegally by boat were thwarted by the coast guard.

 

Saudi Arabia requested Bangladesh to take back over 50,000 Rohingyas, claiming that these Myanmar nationals migrated there using Bangladeshi passports issued over the years, according to Saudi diplomatic sources. The Saudi authorities also made an identical request to Malaysia to take back several thousand Rohingya people on the grounds that they too migrated to Saudi Arabia using Malaysian passports.

The Arab country had handed over several lists containing the names of 50,000 Rohingya people with the request for starting the repatriation much before the latest influx of the people of the community from Myanmar to Bangladesh took place in August, 2017. The matter was last raised by the Saudis in a meeting with Bangladesh diplomats in Riyadh earlyier this month, according to officials.

 

The High Court declared illegal all types of gambling across the country and directed the government to take steps against the organisers of gambling and gamblers. The HC bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Md Mahmud Hasan Talukder passed the order disposing of a writ petition filed by two Supreme Court lawyers in 2016. The petition sought an order to stop gambling at 13 posh clubs in Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet and Narayanganj cities.

The court asked the law-enforcement agencies to instantly seize the equipment used in gambling wherever it could be found. It said that games whose results depended on ‘chance’ or ‘luck’ rather than ‘skill’ were gambling and that the results of games like housie, dice and one-ten depended on chances and law forbade these games. Games like three cards, flash and housie are illegal in both cities and outside cities and that those involved in such games are offenders in the eye of the law, the court said.

 

The Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation Bill, 2020 was passed in the parliament, aimed at offloading 49 percent shares of the corporation in the capital market. In the bill, a new provision has been incorporated among the functions of BRTC that it will render transport services during emergency situations like hartal, blockade, transport strike, national disaster, Bishwa Ijtema, freedom fighters' rally, etc.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader placed the bill in the House which was passed unanimously by voice votes. According to the proposed law, the government will own 51 percent shares while 49 percent will be offloaded for the public. The bill was placed to update an ordinance promulgated in 1961, keeping a provision to offload the shares of BRTC in the capital market.

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