India developing mechanisms to deport Rohingya Muslims: report

The Indian government has started identifying Rohingya Muslims who have entered the country from Myanmar for arrest or deportation, Times of India reported on Wednesday.

Rohingya Muslims, fleeing atrocities in Myanmar, have settled in India and are living “illegally in various pockets” including held Kashmir, the Indian daily reported.

Rohingya threat Our Special Correspondent  Srinagar, April 7: Jammu's chamber of commerce and industries today threatened an "identify and kill" movement against Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi settlers if the Centre failed to deport them within a month.  Chamber president Rakesh Gupta asked the government to also book Rohingyas' landlords under a stringent act that allows detention without trial for six months.  "(Otherwise) we'll have no option but to launch an 'identify and kill' movement against such criminals," he told a news conference.  Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled alleged persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and settled in India and Bangladesh, where their roots lie. Of the estimated 40,000 Rohingyas in India, some 6,000 are in Jammu, living in shanties and doing menial jobs. ×  But many are clamouring for their expulsion, with the Panthers Party alleging a plot to settle the Rohingyas in Hindu-majority Jammu to change its demography. The Centre says it's exploring ways to identify and deport them.  No Rohingya has been found involved in militancy, the state government says, but many in the security agencies view the community as a security threat.  "Quit Jammu" hoardings have surfaced in Jammu asking Rohingyas and Bangladeshi settlers to leave the state.  Jammu is called the "land of refugees" as lakhs of people from Pakistan, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Kashmiri Pandits, almost all of them Hindus, have made it their home over the past seven decades. This is the first time that Jammu-based groups are seeking the expulsion of any community from the region.  Rohingyas have been living in Jammu for years, and the opposition to their presence is a recent development, apparently triggered by Valley-based groups' resistance to the issuance of identity certificates to Hindu Pakistani refugees in Jammu.  These Pakistani refugees had migrated during Partition and have since then been fighting for citizenship rights in Jammu and Kashmir.  The Rohingyas claim they are not illegal settlers and are legally registered with the United Nations in India.  Gupta said the state government is not a signatory to any United Nations treaty for settling refugees, nor does Article 370 of the Constitution --- which confers a special status on Jammu and Kashmir --- allow illegal immigrants any permanent settlement in the state.  "The chamber is aware that the district administration has initiated a process to identify such settlers and that the Union government has asked for details about these settlers from the state, but the chamber feels it is not enough," he said.  Gupta's threat has triggered outrage on social networking sites. The Jammu-based Muslim Action Committee said the Rohingyas should not be singled out and all immigrants should be deported with them.

A meeting was chaired by India’s Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi on Monday during which mechanisms for the detection, arrest and deportation of Rohingya refugees was discussed, TOI reported.

Quoting an official at the Indian home ministry, TOI reported that 40,000 Rohingya have entered the country using three infiltration routes. These include a route through the Bangladesh border, one through the Myanmar border, and by sea.

According to the the home ministry, 5,500-5,700 Rohingya Muslims have settled in India-held Kashmir alone, the daily said. However, the number may be a lot higher, it was added.

While the United Nations Human Rights Commission recognises 14,000 Rohingya settlers in India as refugees, the country does not accept this status, TOI said.

Under the Foreigners Act, Rohingya Muslims seeking refuge in India are considered “illegal migrants.”