Confine illegal Rohingya to designated camps: Centre to states

NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked Jammu & Kashmir and other states to confine illegal Rohingya settlers to pre-identified locations within their respective jurisdictions, record their personal particulars, including biometric details, and not to issue them Aadhaar number or any other identity proof. 

The meticulous preparation of their personal particulars has been sought so that these details can eventually be shared with Myanmarfor likely repatriation, said a government source. 

This indicates the government’s intent to prevent a wider diffusion of Rohingya in India beyond the camps, and the Centre’s concern over possible presence of radical elements among them and their involvement in crime. 

In a letter to the chief secretary of J&K government on Saturday, the home ministry highlighted the “ security risks posed by some of those Rohingya/foreigners who entered India illegally and were involved in illegal activities such as fraudulent procurement and/or fabrication of Indian identity cards — PAN, voter IDs etc — money laundering, crimes and other anti-national activities”, sources told TOI. 

Some of the Rohingya refugees, it added, are also vulnerable to radicalisation. 

A home ministry officer told TOI that similar letters had gone to other states as well. According to estimates put together by the intelligence agencies last year, there are around 40,000 Rohingya Muslims illegally settled across the country. 

Of these, 7,096 are in J&K (Jammu), 3,059 in Hyderabad, 1,114 in Mewat (Haryana), 1,200 in western Uttar Pradesh, 1,061 in Delhi (Okhla) and 400 in Jaipur. 

According to central agencies, a network of touts based in West Bengal and Assam have been arranging forged identity documents for the Rohingya soon after they enter the country illegally. In fact, some NGOs run by Muslim organisations in West Bengal are arranging logistics for their stay in camps. 

“Of late, some attempts by Rohingyas to move to states like Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have come to notice. There has also been new influx of immigrants into Jammu, Hyderabad, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands,” said an intelligence officer. 

The advisory seeking confinement and monitoring of Rohingyas follows up on a September 2017 advisory that had asked the states to detect Rohingyas and report them to the Centre for likely deportation. Interestingly, a question that has intrigued the home ministry is why, despite being Muslims, they have preferred to settle in Jammu rather than the Valley. 

The September 2017 advisory has been challenged in court. The SC had in its observations made while hearing the challenge, sought a humane approach to the issue. 

The communication dated June 2 reiterated the detailed steps, which had also been communicated earlier, to be taken by the J&K government. The first measure seeks to confine Rohingyas’ stay to specific identified locations. Second, the state has been told to enrol and record their personal particulars, including biometrics of each immigrant along with their address in Myanmar. Third, the advisory asks the states not to issue Aadhaar or any other such document to illegal immigrants including Rohingyas that may help them later in claiming Indian identity. 

It was mentioned by the home ministry in its letter that a detailed form for capturing personal particulars of the illegal immigrants was shared with the J&K government in October 2017 but the required information has not been received yet.



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