1703Published on September 2, 2018
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accused Myanmar of spreading disinformation over their minority Rohingya population through misleading photographs of corpses, calling the act “disgusting”.
“This is an act of magical trick . . . What they are doing is disgusting,” she said as foreign media investigations found Myanmar army used fake photos in their bid to show so-called Rohingya atrocities on Burmese Buddhists decades ago.
The premier said Myanmar committed a heinous act attacking and driving out tens of thousands of Rohingyas of their homeland but “the biggest matter is that they tarnished their own image”.
“They destroyed (further) their position internationally through this fraudulence,” she said referring to the book launched by Myanmar army carrying three fake photographs, one framing the corpses of Bengalis killed during the 1971 Liberation War.
The caption of the photograph says the image shows Buddhists murdered by Rohingya – members of a Muslim minority the book refers to as “Bengalis” to imply they are illegal immigrants.
“But a Reuters examination of the photograph shows it was actually taken during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war, when hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis were killed by Pakistani troops,” the international wire service said in a report on Saturday.
It added that the second picture was grabbed in Tanzania while the third one was falsely labeled as depicting Rohingyas entering Myanmar from Bangladesh, when in reality it showed migrants leaving the country.
The premier said Myanmar pledged to take back their forcibly displaced people from Bangladesh, but the reality is that they don’t act accordingly.
“Myanmar is Bangladesh’s next-door neigbour, so we never wanted any conflicting position (with them) . . . the international community gave supports to Bangladesh on the issue and I extend my thanks to them for it,” she said.
The prime minister said Bangladesh has given shelter to over 11 lakh Rohingyas and made all kinds arrangements for them while Dhaka was continuing talks with Myanmar for their repatriation and signed an agreement to this end.
“When talks are held with Myanmar they don’t make any objection on the repatriation of the Rohingyas. But the reality is different,” she said.
The Myanmar side, she said, prepared a form which was filled up and accordingly, a list containing the number of Rohingyas who would return to their homeland was given.
The premier compared the fraudulence of Myanmar military with BNP-Jamaat’s propaganda against the government in 2013, 2014 and 2015 using fake photographs.
“I want to remind you the incidents happened during the years as the BNP- Jamaat nexus posted photos on Facebook that a human chain was formed in Makkah Sharif protesting the Sayeedi’s life-term imprisonment,” she said.
The premier also recalled the pictures containing bodies of Haiti’s earthquake victims were posted by them to mislead the people.
“I wonder if they (Myanmar) learned the fraudulence from the BNP-Jamaat,” she said.
Responding to a question about the new government in Pakistan under the leadership of former cricketer Imran Khan, the prime minister said Imran Khan was a cricketer and having sportsman spirit.
“Imran Khan came to power after making massive struggle. We will extend cooperation to him if he seeks it from us . . . we’ll do it considering the welfare of the people of Pakistan, not the conspirators,” she said.
The premier added: “We’ve no objection to share experiences with them for the welfare of the common people.”
Sheikh Hasina said Imran Khan hit many sixes in the field but now “it is the time to see whether he could hit those sixes by remaining in power . . . we’ll be happy if he can do it”.