December 30, 2012
Kolkata — The 128 Rohingyas, whose boat drifted into India's Andaman islands earlier this month, say they don't want to go back to Myanmar.
Authorities in the Andaman archipelago say the Rohingyas were trying to reach Malaysia from Myanmar's Rakhine state, but their boat drifted towards the Andamans.
The boat came ashore at Narcoddum islands on Dec 9. Indian coast guards who intercepted the boat were told by the Rohingyas that they were trying to reach Malaysia.
"They said their condition in Myanmar is desperate and so they want to reach Malaysia. But now they are stuck here in the Andamans," said an Indian official.
The Indians are in a fix. The Rohingyas are determined not to return to Myanmar because they anticipate trouble if they are handed back. Malaysia, or any other country, will not take them for obvious reasons. India can only keep them for some time.
Hundreds of Muslim Rohingyas are trying to flee from Myanmar's Rakhine state ever since the riots between them and Buddhist Rakhines erupted in summer and then again in autumn. Close to 80,000 of them have been rendered homeless and herded into makeshift camps by Myanmar authorities. Many have died at sea when their boats capsized.