155 detained, lodged in `Holding Centre’ at Hiranagar
Nearly 6000 identified in Jammu, some may have mixed with locals
JAMMU, Mar 6: The Central and Jammu and Kashmir Governments today set in motion the exercise for deportation of Rohingyas settled illegally in Jammu region for past several years by sending 155 Myanmar nationals to the first-ever ‘Holding Centre’ created at Hiranagar Jail and initiating registration of the foreigners settled in different parts at MA Stadium.
Even though registration of Rohingyas is on at MA Stadium where they are being shifted from their habitations including Sunjwan, Belicharana and Samba, preliminary estimates put their numbers around 6,000. However, the numbers could rise and exact figures would be known within a couple of days when the registration is completed.
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Sources told the Excelsior that Jammu and Kashmir Police and Intelligence agencies set off the exercise for registration of Rohingyas at MA Stadium after getting nod from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. All details including original addresses of the Myanmar nationals, time since they are settled here, total family members etc are being collected from the Rohingyas by the police and Intelligence agencies which will be forwarded to the Union Home Ministry.
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Jammu Zone Mukesh Singh told the Excelsior that after verification 155 illegal immigrant Rohingyas staying in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir were today sent to the ‘Holding Centre’ (erstwhile Hiranagar Jail) established vide Home Department notification dated 5th March, 2021.
“This was done under Section 3(2) e of the Foreigners Act. Due process of law was followed in this exercise. These immigrants were not holding valid travel documents required in terms of Section (3) of the Passports Act,” the Jammu Police chief said.
He added that the exercise of identifying more such immigrants is still in progress.
“After sending them to the ‘Holding Centre’, the process of nationality verification will be done as per the prescribed process. After completion of the nationality verification, the process of deportation of these illegal immigrants will be initiated,” Mukesh Singh said.
The Home Ministry had to take up the issue with the Ministry of External Affairs for further deportation of the Rohingyas.
Few days back, the Government had ordered shifting of all inmates lodged in Hiranagar Jail of Kathua district to other jails of Jammu and Kashmir. Hiranagar Jail, which was vacated, was yesterday declared as `Holding Centre’ by Home Department of the Union Territory Government.
“The Holding Centre Hiranagar can accommodate up to 200 persons or a little more and the Government will either have to declare more ‘Holding Centers’ or lodge the Rohingyas at MA Stadium or other places selected by the Home Department after being identified by police and Intelligence agencies,” sources said, adding the exercise in this regard is on.
Sources said the Union Ministry of Home Affairs initiated the long pending exercise for deportation of Rohingyas from Jammu and Kashmir to Myanmar as it was election promise of the Bharatiya Janata Party and demand of several other political parties and organizations in the Jammu region on the ground that they had been settled to alter demographic setup of Jammu by the then PDP-Congress and National Conference-Congress Governments from 2002 to 2014.
However, it is the Ministry of External Affairs which has to take up the issue of deportation of Rohingyas with Myanmar Government after entire data is compiled by the Ministry of Home Affairs including full details about nationality of the illegal immigrants.
While some initial estimates had put the number of Rohingyas in Jammu around 15,000, sources, however, said so far about 6000 of them had been traced including 5500 in Sunjwan and surroundings, 100 in Belicharana and some families in Samba. However, there had been reports that after Narendra Modi Government declared intentions to deport Rohingyas from Jammu and Kashmir, some of the families left for Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Bangladesh where they mixed up with the local population to avoid their deportation to Myanmar where living conditions are not good for them.
Security agencies feared that some of them even might have mixed up with population in Jammu and Kashmir as well to avert expatriation to their country but said they will be traced. Efforts to this effect are already on, they said.
Ever since, the BJP stormed to power in 2014 and retained it in 2019, the Central Government had made it categorically clear that all Rohingyas and Bangladeshi nationals illegally putting up in Jammu and Kashmir will be deported to their countries. A comprehensive survey of their numbers followed by security audit was conducted by security agencies of the Jammu and Kashmir Government.
Most of the Rohingyas are settled in Jammu and Samba districts and came to the erstwhile State over the years after entering India illegally through either Indo-Bangladesh border or Indo-Myanmar border. The agents used to help them cross the borders and drop them right up to Jammu in trains charging specific amount from them.
Previous PDP-Congress and National Conference-Congress Governments from 2002-2014 under whose regimes majority of Rohingyas were settled in Jammu and Samba took no initiatives ever to deport them but rather ensured that they get all facilities in their localities.
An estimated 50,000 Rohingyas are living in different parts of the country. Besides Jammu and Kashmir, they are settled in Hyderabad and Haryana after entering the country illegally.
The role of Rohingyas in insidious activities has been flagged by the security agencies. Few of the accused persons were allegedly involved in the terror attack at Buddhist shrine in Bodh Gaya.
There were also attempts by the Pakistan-based terror Lashkar-e-Toiba to exploit the Rohingyas for carrying out terror activities in India and Bangladesh. The Rohingyas’ role in smuggling and drug trafficking in the Northeast for raising funds for terror activities has also been underscored by the Intelligence agencies.
Rohingyas originally belong to Rakhine province of Myanmar and many of them had left the country after the crackdown against the community by the agencies there.
Inputs also suggest a large number of Rohingyas have 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.
Saeed has also been instrumental in creating an umbrella organization in Pakistan to radicalize more people from the community for pursuing the wider terror agenda of the outfit in the region.