Dhaka, April 29, 2017: India will give Rs 350 million to descendants of freedom fighters in the next five years under the new ‘Muktijodha scholarship scheme for Bangladesh, Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said.
He was speaking at a scholarship award ceremony in Chittagong on Saturday, bdnews24 reported.
The Muktijodha Scholarship Scheme was started by India in 2006 for descendants of the 1971 freedom fighters. Up to now, more than 10,000 scholarships worth Tk150 million have been disbursed.
This year, scholarships have been awarded to 600 undergraduate students. Of them, 48 were from Chittagong.
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Earlier, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India announced that another 10,000 students will receive scholarships under the new Muktijodha scholarship scheme.
All freedom fighters are now eligible for five years multiple entry Indian visa and 100 of them will be provided free medical treatment in Indian hospitals every year.
Shringla said under the new scheme, students at the higher secondary level will get a onetime grant of Tk 20,000 and those at the undergraduate level will get Tk 50,000.
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He said the initiatives announced by Modi reflect “our continued solidarity with the valiant Muktijodhas”, the daily reported.
“You have fought shoulder to shoulder with Indian troops in 1971 and continue to be our eternal friends. May Almighty bless you all with good health, prosperity and happiness,” he told the freedom fighters gathered at the ceremony.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mosharraf Hossain was also present. (IANS)
Sep 21, 2017: Facebook is reportedly removing posts and suspending accounts of activists who are documenting the “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Daily Beast has reported.
The activists said their accounts are frequently being suspended or taken down and hoped that the social media giant would let them speak the truth.
Myanmar considers the Rohingyas illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, whereas Bangladesh considers them Myanmar citizens.
The Myanmar government does not use the term “Rohingya” and does not recognise the people as an official ethnicity, which means they are denied citizenship and effectively rendered stateless.
“We want Facebook to be a place where people can share responsibly and we work hard to strike the right balance between enabling expression while providing a safe and respectful experience,” Facebook spokesperson Ruchika Budhraja told Daily Beast on Wednesday.
“In response to the situation in Myanmar, we are carefully reviewing content against our Community Standards,” Budhraja added.
Besides repeatedly disabling his accounts, an activist who uses the name Rahim said Facebook has also removed individual posts he put on the site about Rohingya refugees.
“We removed this content because it doesn’t follow the Facebook Community Standards,” read a message from Facebook.
There are several such examples being reported across Myanmar.
After revealing that fake Russian accounts bought nearly $100,000 of political ads during the 2016 US presidential election campaign on its platform, Facebook has handed over more details to American Special Counsel Robert Mueller. (IANS)
Floods in India, Nepal and Bangladesh have claimed more than 1,300 lives in the last two months
According to UNICEF, over 16 million children in the three countries are in urgent need of life-saving support
Persistent rainfall has damaged school infrastructure, apart from depriving children of safe places to stay at, and necessities like drinking water and food
New Delhi, September 4, 2017 : Hurricane Harvey created havoc in Houston in August, claiming 15 lives and displacing tens of thousands of people. The event was largely covered by national and international media alike, keeping people abreast with the latest updates. However, the floods in South Asia, which are equally devastating, are yet to receive due coverage from international media. According to data released by UNICEF, the unusually heavy monsoon over the last several weeks has claimed more than 1,300 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
In its entirety, over 45 million people have suffered the direct impact of the rains and its resulting floods.
For over two months, incessant rains have submerged numerous villages thereby forcing vast numbers of people into evacuation centers and relief camps.
According to a UN Agency report, over 16 million children residing in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh are in dire need of life-saving support due to weeks of torrential monsoons that have given rise to ‘catastrophic’ floods in the three South Asian countries.
UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, Jean Gough noted that millions of children have already been affected by these devastating floods as incessant rains continue to pose potential threat. “Children have lost their homes, schools, and even friends and loved ones. There is a danger the worst could still be to come as rains continue and flood waters move south,” she added, according to a report by PTI.
According to official figures, at least 1,288 deaths have been reported since mid-August.
Gough believes the persistent rainfall and the resulting water accumulation have damaged school infrastructure among other things which will hamper children from attending classes for weeks, or even months. According to her, “Getting children back into school is absolutely critical in establishing a sense of stability for children during times of crisis and provides a sense of normality when everything else is being turned upside down”
Among other urgent needs of these children are clean drinking water, sufficient food supplies, hygiene supplies to control and combat the spread of potential diseases and safe evacuation places for the children to stay at, study and play.
According to a report by PTI, in the northern part of the country, over 31 million people have been affected in four states due to the extensive flooding. Out of this, 12.33 million sufferers are believed to be children.
The tally of houses damaged by the floods has reached 805,183 while 15,455 schools have been damaged, that has disrupted the education of children.
Additionally, the heavy downpour in Mumbai has already claimed five deaths due to drowning while twelve people, including two children have died due to the collapse of a building.
More than 8 million people are reported to have been hit by the floods in Bangladesh, out of which 3 million are allegedly children. Primary and community educational institutions across the country have been terribly hit with as many as 2,292 schools reportedly damaged by the high water.
The country has also reported over 13,035 cases of water-borne diseases.
Devastation from floods in Nepal
Floods in Nepal have displaced 352,738 people from their homes, thus, affecting over 1.7 million people. The water has reportedly surfaced to dangerous levels, to escape which people are making use of makeshift rafts and elephants for rescue operations.
According to a report by PTI, damage to nearly 1,958 schools has affected the education of over 253,605 children.
Major media giants across the world are pledging their support to help combat the scale of destruction.
In a blog post, Google Vice-President of South East Asia and India wrote, “We are committing $1 million from Google.org and Google employees to Goonj and Save the Children for their relief efforts.”
The NGO, Goonj aims to offer assistance to over 75,000 affected families across India and provide them with basic needs like food, blankets and hygiene supply while on the other hand, Save the Children is focused on setting up child-friendly public spaces for the children to have access to educational material.
Similar organizations have taken up an active role to help rebuild infrastructure for the community like roads, bridges and physical infrastructures.
What causes floods in South Asia?
Apart from the high magnitude of rainfall received this year, the floods in south Asia are believed to have been aggravated by human actions such as reckless construction on floodplains and in the coastal areas, waterways clogged by garbage and a faulty drainage system
According to a report published by VOA, experts have pointed out the inefficiency of the governments of the three countries and have said that is has become increasingly evident that the South Asian governments were unprepared for the annual monsoon showers.
However, disaster management officials also assert that it will be unfair to criticize the governments in view of the magnitude of the floods this year.
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Thousands of people have fled their villages and sought shelter in temples, schools, and mosques in other Rakhine town
Volunteers were struggling to find food for the displaced
Myanmar considers the Rohingya to be migrants from Bangladesh and not one of the country’s many ethnic minority groups
Rakhine, Myanmar, September 3, 2017: About 400 people have died in violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state over the past week, military officials say, almost all of them Muslim insurgents.
A military Facebook page reported the numbers, saying 370 were insurgents, and 29 killed were either police or civilians.
Members of the minority Rohingya Muslim community, however, have reported attacks on their villages that left scores dead and forced thousands to flee.
Human Rights Watch said Saturday that satellite imagery recorded Thursday in the Rohingya Muslim village of Chein Khar Li in Rathedaung township shows the destruction of 700 buildings. The rights group says 99 percent of the village was destroyed and the damage signatures are consistent with fire, including the presence of large burn scars and destroyed tree cover.
“Yet this is only one of 17 sites that we’ve located where burnings have taken place,” said Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy Asia director.
The United Nations says at least 38,000 people have fled from Myanmar into Bangladesh, most of them Rohingya. Community leaders in Bangladesh have told VOA that some Hindus, also a minority in Myanmar, have crossed the border.
Robertson said the U.N.’s Fact Finding Mission should get the “full cooperation” of Myanmar’s government “to fulfill their mandate to assess human rights abuses in Rakhine State and explore ways to end attacks and ensure accountability.”
HRW said Rohingya refugees who have recently fled from Myanmar into Bangladesh told the agency that Myanmar soldiers and police had burned down their homes and carried out armed attacks on villagers. The agency said many of the Rohingya refugees had “recent bullet and shrapnel wounds.”
Sources in Bangladesh have told VOA’s Bangla service that as many as 60,000 have crossed the border in recent days.
Struggling to feed displaced
In addition, thousands of people have fled their villages and sought shelter in temples, schools, and mosques in other Rakhine towns.
The deputy chairman of the Emergency Relief Committee, Khin Win, told VOA’s Burmese service by phone that 800 people are sheltering at two Buddhist monasteries in the town of Maungdaw.
“Security in Maungdaw is not even safe and some fled to Min Byar, Sittwe and Yathetaung. No one can guarantee their safety. People fleeing homes increasing and there are a few left in villages. There is only one police outpost in a village and police do not have the capability to protect villagers,” he said.
Volunteers were struggling to find food for the displaced, he said.
“We need drinking water, meat, fish, and medicines,” he said. The group has gotten rice and donations from other communities but little from the government.
“Government aid agency provided a few bags of beans and instant noodles. Three boxes of instant noodles for 500 people is not effective. Just a superficial help,” he said.
Hla Tun, a Rohingya from the village of Alae-Than-Kyaw, told the Burmese service that Muslims cannot rely on security forces for protection or help.
“Our villages are located near the rugged coastal area from south of Maungdaw to Alae-Than-Kyaw village. Almost every village has been burned down and people have nowhere to stay. People are hiding in the forest. In order to avoid authorities they can move only during night time to flee to Bangladesh,” Hla Tun said.
The violence began a week ago when a group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army launched a series of attacks on police posts in Rakhine, which is home to most of the Rohingya minority group. The police responded with attacks on villages, to hunt down the insurgents.
Myanmar considers the Rohingya to be migrants from Bangladesh and not one of the country’s many ethnic minority groups. Rohingya are denied citizenship, even if they can show their families have been in the country for generations.
Sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims has flared periodically for more than a decade. Until last month’s attacks, the worst violence was last October, when insurgents attacked several police posts, sparking a military crackdown that sent thousands fleeing to Bangladesh.
The Myanmar government has denied allegations of abuse against the Rohingya and has limited access to Rakhine to journalists and other outsiders; but, the country’s ambassador to the United Nations says the government plans to implement the recommendations of a U.N. commission to improve conditions and end the violence. (VOA)