More than 10,000 Rohingya Muslims belonging to Myanmar are currently living in Jammu and Kashmir, and the central and the state governments are exploring ways on how to identify and deport them.
The Rohingya Muslims are mostly living in Jammu and Samba districts and came to the state after entering India illegally through either Indo-Bangladesh border or Indo-Myanmar border or travelling through the Bay of Bengal.
The issue of Rohingya Muslims, who are living illegally, was discussed at a high-level meeting convened by union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and attended by Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary Braj Raj Sharma and director general of police S.P. Vaid.
“We are exploring ways on how to identify and deport the Rohingya Muslims,” a home ministry official said.
According to the Jammu and Kashmir government’s estimate, Rohingya Muslims are numbered at around 5,700 but it could go up to 10,000. There are around 40,000 Rohingya Muslims living in different parts of the country and all of them have entered illegally.
Even though some of them registered with a UN refugee body, India does not recognise it. Some of the Rohingya Muslims were found to be involved in petty crime but no one was found to be involved in any major crime nor anyone has been found to be radicalised.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had said in the state assembly on 20 January that some ‘Madrasas’ were associated with Rohingya Muslims in the state. Mehbooba had said no Rohingya Muslim has been found involved in militancy-related incidents but 17 FIRs have been registered against 38 Rohingyas for various offences including those related to illegal border crossing.
Some NGOs namely ‘Shikawat’ run by Mohammad-ul-Umar of Srinagar along with Rashid, SR Institute of Development of Rambagh (Srinagar) and Delhi-based NGO Daji were helping Rohingyas in cash and kind from time to time, Mehbooba had said.
Rohingyas originally belong to Rakhine province of Myanmar and many of them have left the country due to alleged persecution by the majority Buddhist community.