Rohingya Refugees: Lawyers exploring options to deal with threat perception

Lawyers representing Rohingyas are exploring various options to deal with the heightened threat perception of these refugees after the open threat for starting a ‘Catch and Kill’ movement for the forcible ouster of these refugees from Jammu region.

Division Bench of the High Court comprising of ex-Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir N.Paul Vasanthakumar

Advocates, Shah Faisal and Fidel Sebastian along with the team of other lawyers are looking to adopt all possible means to ensure that rule of law is respected and the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are not harmed. Faisal told Kashmir Life exclusively that their application for impleadment is yet to be accepted and Rohingyas are yet to be made party to the PIL filed by the legal cell member of BJP Advocate Hunar Gupta. “On our last hearing on April 6, 2017; Division Bench headed by Chief Justice of J&K Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed directed the state as well as central government to explain their position vis-à-vis the PIL filed for deportation of Rohingya refugees,” said Faisal.

He added that the Bench has given three weeks time to the two governments to file their status reports. “The next hearing is in the first week of May. We are sure court would hear us and our application for impleadment as party to the PIL would be accepted,” added Faisal. Regarding the threat of the President of Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Rakesh Gupta, Faisal said “How could someone sitting on such an important position threaten to kill someone especially those who are refugees and UNHCR card holders.”

If now violence takes place against the Rohingyas or someone from this displaced community is killed somewhere, police knows the door it has to knock since he is the person who has tried to incite a whole peacefully living community of Jammu region against the Rohingyas, said Faisal. He added “The video of his threat is there for the police to see. What makes this a serious issue is that a PIL has been filed in the court. The court is hearing the PIL. We suspect an attempt is being to deliver the Judgment on the roads before the court actually delivers one.”

It needs to be mentioned here that two days, ahead of the hearing (April 3, 2017) of their case before the Division Bench of the high court for impleadment as party in the public interest litigation (PIL) field by Advocate Hunar Gupta, a member of the legal cell of BJP and standing council of the central government, there were reports in the media quoting an unnamed official of the Union Home Ministry was planning to identify, track and, if possible, deport Rohingya Muslims living allegedly illegally in Jammu and Kashmir.

Advocates, Shah Faisal and Fidel Sebastian, had moved an application on February 27, 2017 pleading that they be heard before an order is passed in the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filled by a member of the BJP’s legal cell seeking their deportation from Jammu. Senior Advocate Sunil Sethi, who is also Chief Spokesperson of BJP in Jammu and Kashmir, is appearing the PIL alongwith the Advocate Hunar Gupta.

In the PIL filed by Advocate Hunur Gupta, prayer has been made for issuance of directions for shifting all the illegal immigrants of Myanmar and Bangladesh from State to any other place as no refugee camp has ever been declared either by State or by United Nation in J&K. The prayer has also been made for withdrawal of all benefits given to the illegal immigrants of Bangladesh and Myanmar from the State exchequer and from the scheme and benefits meant for the residents of J&K.

Division Bench of the High Court comprising of ex-Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir N.Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur had admitted the PIL and issued notices to Chief Secretary, Director General of Police and others on February 1, 2017. Fate of the application moved by the two lawyers for impleadment of Rohingya as party will be decided when the matter comes-up for hearing before Division Bench headed by new Chief Minister Badar Durrez Ahmed on April 6, 2017. But the media reports of MHA planning deportation of Rohingyas from Jammu and Kashmir, two days ahead of the hearing of their application, has alarmed them.