Other States

61 Rohingya held in Assam, Tripura

Assam Police on January 21 arrested at least 30 Rohingya, including 12 children, from Churaibari village near the Tripura border.   | Photo Credit: Abhisek Saha

The police in Assam and Tripura have detained 61 Rohingya, including minors, since January 21 night. Local courts on January 22 sent them to judicial custody for 14 days.

Officials in Tripura capital Agartala said the Border Security Force (BSF) handed over 31 Rohingya to the police at Rayermura in West Tripura district. Rayermura is about 15 km from Agartala.

The 31 had been stranded for four days in no-man’s land beyond the barbed-wire fence along the India-Bangladesh border because of a stand-off between the BSF and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB). The two border forces had since January 18 been accusing each other of pushing the 31 Rohingya into their territories.

“The decision to take the Rohingya in was taken after our headquarters in New Delhi obtained an approval from the Home Ministry. We have been providing food and shelter to these people,” a BSF officer said, declining to elaborate how the Rohingya happened to reach the no-man’s land – along the Zero Line on the border between two countries and 150 yards from the barbed-wire fence – in the first place.

Abdul Sarkar, one of the Rohingya men, claimed they had come from their Jammu refugee camp and were trying to sneak into Bangladesh before the BSF personnel caught them and snatched their UN refugee cards.

The police in Tripura could not confirm if the 31, including 16 children and nine women, belonged to the same group as 30 other Rohingya detained in Assam on Monday night.

Following a tip-off from their Tripura counterparts, the police in southern Assam’s Karimganj district had caught the 30 including 12 children from a Guwahati-bound private bus at Churaibari on the border between the two States. Churaibari is about 200 km from Agartala.

Noor Islam, one of the 30 detained in Assam, said the group had travelled from Jammu after a Kolkata-based youth offered them jobs in Tripura.

“We left Jammu for Delhi partly to escape the winter and partly to get jobs. We arrived in Agartala via Guwahati and booked a hotel, but after a few days the hotel authorities asked us to leave because of our identity. So we boarded a bus to Guwahati but got caught,” he said after being produced at a local court in Karimganj town.

A Karimganj district police officer said the detained Rohingya produced refugee registration cards provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “We will have to find out if they are authentic,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, there are about 40,000 Rohingya spread across Delhi, Hyderabad, Jammu, and Kanpur. The UNHCR, however, has put the number of registered refugees at 18,000.

Thousands of Rohingya, mostly Muslims, have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine area following ethnic violence. The last exodus from that country in August 2017 saw 7.20 lakh take refuge in Bangladesh.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 1:04:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/61-rohingya-held-in-assam-tripura/article26062958.ece

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