Gulf dreams land Rohingya refugees in trouble

A scene inside a refugee camp of Rohingya Muslims who migrated to India and came to Hyderabad a couple of years ago.

A scene inside a refugee camp of Rohingya Muslims who migrated to India and came to Hyderabad a couple of years ago.   | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

Police crack down on illegally acquired Aadhaar cards and passports

They all fled strife-torn Rakhine State of Myanmar to save themselves from the alleged ethnic cleansing and made far away Hyderabad their home to start lives afresh.

For over 4,500 Rohingya Muslims, Hyderabad has turned out to be fairly comfortable and peaceful city.

Gulf dreams

Over time, some began to dream of making it to the Gulf. But their bid to adopt illegal ways to get the much needed passport has landed over four dozen Rohingya Muslims in trouble as theRachakonda police launched a crackdown on illegal passports andAadhaar cards obtained by these refugees through illegal means.

Taking advantage of their desperation, touts in the Old City are making a killing by taking huge sums and also managing them passports and Aadhaar cards. In the process, lower rung staff of some of the Government departments are allegedly turning a blind eye to the goings on.

On July 9, the Balapur police of Rachakonda arrested two Rohingyas in separate cases, for illegally procuring Indian passports and Aadhaar cards.

One of the accused, Abdul Khair (34), obtained a passport in November last year and fled to Saudi Arabia on a Umrah visa, which was valid for 30 days.

“As his visa had expired and he overstayed there for six months, the local police arrested him and remanded toJeddah prison, after which he came to India,” said Balapur police.

Khair, with the help of local touts and tour operators, went toJeddah for employment.

This year alone, the Rachakonda police have booked 12 cases and arrested 23 persons, including refugees and local agents who helped him to secure the documents.

Last year, the police arrested more than 25 persons in 11 cases for obtaining documents illegally.

A top police official said the enquiry of arrested Myanmar nationals revealed that a passport for these refugees was being arranged in the city by charging as high as ₹ 1.5 to ₹ 2 lakh and added that e-Passport verification has also come in handy for them.

Modus operandi

As the first step, the refugees are procuring a Voter ID, and Aadhaar card as address proof. Then they apply online for passport based on the available documents.

“By securing an Aadhaar card they are getting authentic documentation to fly out of the country,” saidRachakonda Commissioner of Police, Mahesh. M. Bhagwat.

Hyderabad is home to an estimated 4,500 Rohingyas and the highest number of refugees (around 3,700) have made Balapur of Rachakonda as their home for the past several years.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 7:48:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/gulf-dreams-land-rohingya-refugees-in-trouble/article24485333.ece

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