J&K administration begins drive against illegal Rohingyas

The Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) administration has initiated action against illegal Rohingyas when it sent them to holding centres on Saturday. The holding centres have been established at Kathua’s Hiranagar sub-jail on the basis of a home department notification issued on Friday in accordance with provisions under Section 3(2)e of the Foreigners Act.  The number of Rohingyas sent to holding centres is estimated to be between 155 and 168 as per various news reports.

As per the statement of a government official quoted by The Indian Express:

These immigrants were not holding valid passports required in terms of Section (3) of the Passports Act. We are in the process of identifying more such immigrants. After sending them to the holding centres, nationality verification will be done as per the prescribed process and on the basis of this, the procedure for deportation will be initiated.

Rohingyas in Bharat

Government data estimated that more than 13,700 foreigners including Bangladeshis and Rohingyas were illegally settled in Jammu and Samba districts. Official data also suggests that their numbers increased by more than 6000 between 2008 to 2016 period. Several groups including social organizations and political parties had called for urgent action from the central government on the illegal Rohingyas issue. They also held that there was a deliberate attempt to alter the demographics of the region.

Actions initiated on Rohingyas

The drive entailed the collection of biometrics and other data including place of stay etc. The J&K administration’s verification drive those Rohingyas who couldn’t produce valid documents were detained. The action comes in the wake of the Division Bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s order passed in February this year asking the administration to file a response within a month citing the steps taken by them to identify and deport illegal Rohingyas and Bangladeshis in the region.

Government stance on Rohingyas

The PM Modi-led BJP government has made it clear in no uncertain terms that Rohingyas who are illegally staying in Bharat would be deported. The security threat posed by Rohingyas can’t be overlooked as pointed out by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.

Patra had said in the 2017 India Today conclave that Rohingya settlements face a greater threat of being infiltrated by terror groups. He also cited the statements by terrorists like Zakir Musa in Kashmir Valley and Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan supporting Rohingya Muslims to back the claim that the illegal migrants could pose a serious security threat.

Available information suggests that a comprehensive survey of their numbers followed by a security audit was conducted by security agencies of the Jammu and Kashmir Government. However, the matter of deportation of Rohingyas with the Myanmar Government would be taken up by the Ministry of External Affairs once the Home Ministry (Ministry of Home Affairs) compiles the entire data including full details about the nationality of the illegal immigrants.

Security threats posed by Rohingyas

Security agencies have pointed out the threat to national security posed by Rohingyas with some of them accused of being involved in the terror attack at the Buddhist shrine in Bodh Gaya. Furthermore, agencies have held that Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) has been attempting to use Rohingyas for terror attacks in Bharat.

There were inputs suggesting a large number of Rohingyas had been radicalized by the LeT and had become a major security concern in Bangladesh. LeT chief Hafeez Saeed has been vocally supportive of the community’s alleged grievances and has held several camps over the past few years reports indicated.

Additionally, intelligence agencies have also emphasized the role of Rohingyas in smuggling and drug trafficking in the Northeast in order to raise funds for terror activities.

Speaking on the issue J&K administration officials said “The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday 6th March began a drive to collect biometric and other details of Rohingyas staying in Jammu. The verification process of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar was carried out at the MAM Stadium here amid high security. Under the drive, their biometric and other details, such as place of stay, were collected”. 

(Featured Image Source: UCA News)


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