India to identify, detain and deport nearly 40,000 Rohingya Muslims
The Union Home Ministry is working towards identifying thousands of Rohingya Muslims who entered India illegally after fleeing persecution in Myanmar over the past 5-7 years. Once identified, the Rohingyas will likely face arrest or deportation under the Foreigners Act. A senior home ministry official said an estimated 40,000 Rohingyas have taken refuge inside India. Around 10,000-11,000 of these reside in Jammu.
Rohingyas find home in Jammu
J&K Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti stated that about 13,400 Myanmarese and Bangladeshi migrants were living in camps in Jammu as of June 2016. The security establishment sees them as a threat after a foreign militant killed in South Kashmir turned out to be Myanmarese. 3 million of the 4 million Rohingyas in Myanmar fled to Bangladesh, India, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Thailand.
Rohingyas believed to be world's most persecuted minority
The Rohingyas are an ethnic Muslim group who constitute around one million of Myanmar's predominantly Buddhist 50 million population. They speak a Bengali dialect, mainly reside in the country's impoverished northern Rakhine state. Myanmar views them as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and doesn't officially recognize them as its citizens, rendering them stateless. The Rohingyas have allegedly been subjected to human rights abuses by Myanmar.
Rohingyas refugees fleeing alleged 'genocide' by Myanmar
Several rights groups have accused Myanmar of mounting a genocide against the Rohingyas, a charge Myanmar denies. To flee persecution, thousands of Rohingyas have fled Myanmar for neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh (where around 3 lakh Rohingyas reside), Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and India.
India doesn't recognize Rohingyas as refugees
The Rohingya Muslims residing in India have been recognized by the UN Human Rights Commission as 'refugees'. India however doesn't accept this UN recognition and considers them to be foreigners living in the country illegally. As per the Foreigners Act, this provides grounds for their detection, arrest, prosecution and deportation. The Rohingyas' deportation may not be easy as Bangladesh doesn't consider them its citizens.
Why India wants to deport the Rohingyas?
Most of the Rohingyas in India are poverty stricken and are seeking safety and trying to make a living. Security agencies fear they could be radicalized, especially by Pakistan-based terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), to carry out attacks. LeT chief Hafeez Saeed has been a vocal supporter for the Rohingyas' cause. Intelligence inputs suggest several Rohingyas are involved in LeT-driven terror activities in Bangladesh.