Bangladesh EC installs server for Rohingya data

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - The move is aimed at preventing Rohingyas getting NIDs.

The Election Commission has set up a separate server to store information and fingerprints of Rohingyas in order to prevent the refugees from obtaining National Identity Cards and becoming voters.

The authorities have names and fingerprints of the Rohingyas from a previous biometric registration programme. The EC would now cross-check those with the country’s main NID data to identify the Rohingyas, officials said.

“We have set up separate servers for Rohingyas… to identify them,” Director General (NID) Brig Gen Mohammad Sidul Islam of the EC told The Daily Star on Saturday.

The EC has basic information and fingerprints of over 11 lakh refugees.

The EC’s Director (operations, NID) Abdul Baten said, “If someone wants to get an NID card from anywhere in the country, we will cross-check their details with Rohingyas’ database.”

The EC’s move comes amid allegations that many of the refugees have been obtaining Bangladeshi passports with the help of influential locals and officials.

Through offering bribes and using their connections, a syndicate manages collects the NID card, citizenship certificate, birth registration certificate and police verification certificate for the refugees.

On Thursday night, police in Chattogram arrested three Rohingya men with Bangladeshi passports in the city’s Kattoli area.

At least 73 suspicious applications for national identity cards were uploaded to the Election Commission database, a government committee has found while probing the forged NID card of a Rohingya woman in Chattogram last week.

A Bangladeshi Smart NID Card was recently found with Nur Mohammad, the alleged ringleader of a Rohingya robber gang.

There are also allegations that many Rohingyas managed to go abroad with Bangladeshi passports and got involved in illegal activities tarnishing the country’s image.

In 2011, officials deleted around 40,000 names of Rohingyas from the voters’ list and the NID server, said Abdul Baten.

In 2013, the EC formed special committees in 32 upazilas in Chattogram division to prevent Rohingyas from becoming voters.

To become voters, residents of these upazilas fill out a special form, mentioning the information regarding the citizenship of their grandparents and other relatives and need recommendations from the special committee, consisting upazila nirbahi officer, police and intelligence.

Any EC officials helping Rohingyas get enrolled in the voters’ list would face stern action, Baten added.

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