DHAKA: More than 1 million Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, observed Eid Al-Fitr on Saturday.
They performed Eid prayers in more than 500 small mosques in squalid camps, offering a special prayer for an end to their plight.
“It’s a very sunny Eid day in Cox’s Bazar, but we can’t enjoy this moment,” said Iman Ali, a refugee in Kutupalang camp.
“Last Eid (in Myanmar’s Rakhine state), I gave new clothes to all my family members and close relatives, but this year it became very tough to get new clothes for my three children.”
Morium Begum, a refugee in Balukhali camp, could not hold back her tears as this Eid reminded her of happier times in Rakhine.
Her husband Joinal Abedin, who was a businessman, was shot dead last September, allegedly by the Myanmar army, prompting her to flee to Bangladesh with her five children.
“This year, my life is fully dependent on relief and aid,” said Begum. “I don’t want the next Eid in a camp. I wish to go back home with my full rights and dignity.”
Eid is supposed to be a happy occasion, but the malnourished children in the camps look gloomy.
“My father managed only three pieces of new clothes for my three brothers and sister. He couldn’t buy anything for himself or my mother,” said Ekhlas Miah, a child in Balukhali.
“Last Eid was a happy moment for our family. My maternal uncles and grandparents visited us. I got precious gifts from my uncles.”
Shahana Akhter, another child in Balukhali, said she feels no joy this Eid, which would normally mean lots of new clothes and delicious food.
She lost her father in Rakhine last October, and fled with her mother and younger brother to Bangladesh.
“Last night, I noticed my mother weeping because she couldn’t buy new clothes for me or my brother this Eid,” said Akhter. “We want to go back home. This isn’t a life in a refugee camp.”