DHAKA – Police in Bangladesh are searching for a man who defied a ban and married one of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled across the border to escape violence in Myanmar.
Shoaib Hossain Jewel, 25, and his 18-year-old Rohingya bride Rafiza have been on the run since marrying last month, said police in Jewel’s home town of Singair.
The Dhaka Tribune newspaper said Jewel, a teacher in a madrassa or religious school, fell in love with Rafiza after her family fled the latest bout of violence in Myanmar and took refuge at a cleric’s house in Singair.
In a police crackdown, the family was forced to move back to the main refugee camp in the southeastern district of Cox’s Bazar – some 265 miles from Singair.
Jewel rushed to Cox’s Bazar, running from one camp to another in search of Rafiza. He finally found her and asked her parents for their daughter’s hand in marriage.
Their wedding in Cox’s Bazar was the first known one between a Bangladeshi and a Rohingya refugee since the August flare-up, the newspaper reported.
Soon after the wedding, police officials went to the man’s home at Charigram village to look for him but they did not find him there and his parents don’t know where he has gone.
Jewel’s father Babul Hossain said his son married a Muslim who took shelter in Bangladesh.
In 2014 Dhaka banned marriages between Bangladeshis and Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim refugees following claims that members of the persecuted community were attempting to gain citizenship in the mainly Muslim nation.
More than half a million Rohingya refugees have flocked to Bangladesh since an army crackdown began on August 25 in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, a process the UN has described as ethnic cleansing.