Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali has said that the Rohingya muslims, migrants from the Rakhine state of Myanmar, may be a threat to the national security.
"Twenty to 25 percent people in Cox's Bazar are now Rakhine Muslims. Such huge presence of Rakhine Muslims in the area will pose a threat to the national security in future," he told the Parliament on Thursday in a reply.
The minister said Myanmar intruders are harming Bangladesh in many ways, including socio-economic, political and environmental aspects, reports the Daily Star.
He added, "The Rakhine people have been engaged in various misdeeds, including drug smuggling on bordering areas and arms and human trafficking. They've become a national security concern for Bangladesh."
"They are also putting a negative influence on our overseas labour market," said Ali.
The minister said some 33,000 Rohingyas, registered as refugees, are living in two camps run by United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cox's Bazar but it is estimated that some three to four lakh unregistered Myanmar citizens have been staying in five districts, including Cox's Bazar.
Ali said some 75,000 Myanmar citizens entered Bangladesh afresh since October 2016 till now following the military drives in Rakhine state.
Rohingya's are an ethnic Muslim group in the majority Buddhist country of Myanmar and make up around one million of the total 50 million population.
They hail from the country's northwest and speak a Bengali dialect. Almost all live in Rakhine, one of the poorest states, with a population of three million.
They are not regarded as one of the country's 135 official ethnic groups and are denied citizenship under Myanmar's 1982 Citizenship Law, which effectively renders them stateless.