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Panic grips displaced Rohingyas in Jammu

Security personnel stand guard outside the central jail in Srinagar. File   | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

Panic gripped the displaced Rohingya population in Jammu on Sunday, a day after the J&K administration rounded up over 150 immigrants as part of “a verification process”.

“We will go one day. It’s just that the situation in Myanmar is not safe for us. The police are summoning our people [in Jammu]. Thirteen men who were asked to visit the police stations on Saturday have not returned,” Salamtullah, a Rohingya Muslim who escaped the genocide in Myanmar between 2016-17, said.

He said there were Rohingya families where the elders were rounded up and the kids were left behind. “I thank India for the hospitality and giving us the opportunity to earn our livelihood. But the kids who are left behind after the latest drive are crying inconsolably. They should be allowed to meet their families,” he said.

Another Rohingya man, whose brother-in-law was also detained, said he fears for his life if deported to Myanmar. “It’s known that around 10 lakh Muslims were killed in Myanmar. The Army has even detained the Prime Minister there. We fear for our lives if deported,” he said.

Scores of Rohingyas were seen fleeing the camps erected in several localities of Jammu.

According to official estimates, around 6,500 are staying there.

Official sources said a verification process was started on Saturday on the directions of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and over 150, including children, men, women, and elderly were assembled at the M.A.M. Stadium. Sources said many have been put up in “holding centres”.

However, police sources said no one was detained on Sunday.

Congress leader Salman Nizami questioned the government’s move. “In Jammu there are 7,690 Tibetans and 5,743 Rohingya refugees. But 155 Rohingyas were sent to holding centres. Why verification for Rohingyas only just because they are Muslims? This exposes BJP government’s Islamophobic and inhumane nature!”.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 8:23:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/168-rohingyas-living-illegally-in-jammu-sent-to-jail-officials/article34011319.ece

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