Stark contrast to last year as one million Rohingya refugees celebrate Eid at Bangladesh camps
DHAKA: One year on Rohingya refugees at Cox’s Bazar camps were celebrating the first day of Eid Al-Adha on Wednesday with cows sacrificed in the camps, a gift from the Bangladeshi authorities.
It was in stark contrast to the year before — and brought back poignant memories.
Mohammad Islam, 50, a refugee at Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar area, remembered that the Myanmar Army started his crackdown operations on the Rakhine villagers last Eid.
“In this year Eid ul Adha, it is much better than last year. I have been able to offer the Eid prayer in the local mosque. Last year the Myanmar army locked all the mosques in my town and prohibited the villagers from offering any prayers,” he said.
Islam used to run his own grocery in his village in Rakhine, but now he runs a tea shop in the camp.
“It is not easy to meet the needs of eight family members though a small tea shop in the camp here. I am trying to run my family’s day-to-day affairs. With the little earnings from the shop, I have managed new dresses for my two little daughters this Eid.”Salimullah, a former fish cultivator from Rachidong, Akiab, remembered sacrificing cattle last Eid in a covered way in a bamboo garden near his home after. “Today I received a share of a cow sacrificed in my camp, and I noticed joy in the eyes of every member of my family during lunch as we got the opportunity to enjoy a rich lunch with beef after many months,” he added.
The Bangladeshi authorities took a rare initiative to sacrifice cattle in the camps. Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Abul Kalam said that they sacrificed 2,500 cows in the camps of the Rohingya refugees during the first day of Eid.
Kalam added that the initiative was a Eid gift from Bangladesh to the Rohingya. ”We are expecting 500 more cows in the next two days to be distributed among the Rohingyas.”
Eid Al-Adha brought much excitement to the children in the camps also.
“My father brought me this new dress on the occasion of Eid. I enjoyed a ride on the Merry Go Round set up inside our camp,” said Morium Begum, 9, who is in the Kutupalang camp.
“During last Eid ul Adha in Myanmar we could not share the Eid greetings with the neighbors and relatives as none of us were allowed to go out of their homes,” added Morium.