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Bangladesh seeks Indian support to resolve Rohingya crisis

Dhaka - Dhaka has sought New Delhi's support for safe and respectful return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled a violent military crackdown in Myanmar, a common neighbour to both Bangladesh and India, an official said on Sunday.

They say satellite images show Rohingya villages are being bulldozed to make way for military bases.

"What we are seeing in Rakhine State is a land grab by the military on a dramatic scale", said Amnesty's Crisis Response Director Tirana Hassan.

An Amnesty report published on Monday echoed previous ones by saying the remains of some of those villages - and some buildings not previously damaged - had been bulldozed.

Amnesty International claims Myanmar's authorities are erasing evidence of crimes against humanity. But the process stalled as both Myanmar and Bangladesh could not complete the initial process for repatriation of the displaced people. "No-one wants to stay because they are afraid of more violence against them".

"Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanizing discrimination they have faced in Myanmar", Hassan added.

The UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour last week said that "ethnic cleansing" against the Rohingya was continuing in Rakhine State through a "campaign of terror and forced starvation" intending to drive the remaining Rohingya population into Bangladesh.

Amnesty said Myanmar's "reshaping" of the region where the Rohingya lived appeared to be created to accommodate more security forces and non-Rohingya villagers, and could deter refugees from agreeing to return.

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More than 670,000 people have fled into Bangladesh, where they are now facing the prospect of forced repatriation to Myanmar. The images also show new refugee reception centres surrounded by security fences.

In one Rohingya village, satellite imagery showed buildings for a new border police post appearing next to where a recently demolished mosque had stood.

The attacks prompted a response by Myanmar's authorities, resulting in clashes and the death of hundreds of Rohingyas. Most rely on aid for their basic needs.

Rakhine state has been largely sealed off from rights groups, the media and United Nations investigators.

"Rakhine State is one of the poorest parts of Myanmar and investment in development is sorely needed".

"The remaking of Rakhine State is taking place in a shroud of secrecy".

Almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have crossed the border into Bangladesh since last August, clearing forests and camping on hillsides already crowded with more than 300,000 refugees from previous waves of migration. The authorities can not be allowed to continue their campaign of ethnic cleansing in the name of "development".

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