A Rohingya woman shows her UN-issued refugee card in Jammu on Saturday. (HT PHOTO)
A Rohingya woman shows her UN-issued refugee card in Jammu on Saturday. (HT PHOTO)

155 Rohingyas sent to ‘holding’ centre in Jammu as admin starts verification

The exercise of identifying more such immigrants is going on and the UT administration is collecting biometric and other details of Rohingyas staying here.
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 05:39 AM IST

At least 155 illegal Rohingya immigrants who escaped persecution in Myanmar and were living in Jammu and Kashmir were on Saturday sent to a “holding centre”, under section 3(2)e of the Foreigners Act. The immigrants were not holding valid travel documents required under section (3) of the Passports Act, said officials.

Inspector general of police (Jammu zone) Mukesh Singh said, “155 illegal immigrant Rohingyas staying in J&K were today sent to the holding centre established vide home department notification dated March 5, 2021,” adding, “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 exercise of identifying more such immigrants is going on and the UT administration is collecting biometric and other details of Rohingyas staying here.

“After sending them to the holding centre, their nationality verification will be done as per the prescribed norms. Following that, the process to deport these illegal immigrants will be initiated,” said the IGP.

Earlier today, the J&K administration started the verification process of Rohingyas at the MA Stadium here.

A burqa-clad Sabina, who is currently staying near the Bawe shrine, said, “The officials sought details like my name, parentage where I lived in Myanmar.”

Mohammad Haroon, another Rohingya who lives in Bathindi’s “Burma market”, said, “The police officials had asked us to reach MA Stadium, so we came with our families. They took our details from the UNHCR cards and also conducted Covid tests.” Haroon was among the around 200 Rohingyas who came to the venue, to which media was not allowed access.

Shabir Khan said that besides the Covid test, the officials jotted down his credentials and took his thumb impression. “I have been living here for the past over 12 years now and have appeared 50 times for such verifications by now,” he said.

Men, women, young and old, including toddlers, were seen coming out of the stadium after the verification exercise.

It has been learnt that the administration has vacated the Hiranagar sub-jail in Kathua district, where CRPF personnel had been putting up earlier. “We were asked by the higher authorities to make security arrangements which we have in the sub-jail. What the administration wants to do with it is not known,” said a top prison department officer.

The BJP has termed the move as the beginning of deportation of Rohingyas from the region.

Party’s spokesperson Brig (retd) Anil Gupta said, “The long wait for their deportation from J&K seems to be getting over.”

“They (Rohingyas) will probably be shifted to a camp. It is good news for the people of Jammu. Security forces and intelligence agencies have always been apprehensive about them and they are seen as a ticking time bomb in this border region. I hope their deportation outside J&K starts soon,” Gupta added.

It may be stated here that the last PDP-BJP government had been asked by Centre to prepare a database of Rohingyas in J&K so that they could be deported to their native land.

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