The Rohingya Muslims who are supposed to have fled the Rakhine state of Myanmar to escape the persecution of the Myanmar army, have found a surprisingly cosy home in India. Boosted by the UPA government’s indifference to check their illegal immigration, they made the country their home without checking with the owners and as per a ground report by Swarajya have made Jammu the epicentre of their settlement.
Just to remind, it was famously reported how the erstwhile UPA government had in 2012 turned a blind eye to the illegal immigration, due to domestic political pressure and international concern over human rights. As a result of this inflow, their numbers have been pegged at about 40,000 which was excluding the 14,000 odd Rohingyas who are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The impression of the Rohingya community though started to morph from being simple refugees to being a security threat after it was found that the Rohingyas had started to get radicalised by the Lashkar-e-Toeba (LeT) to avenge the sectarian violence in Myanmar. And it was also found that their retribution was also for some reason aimed towards India.
Since then it was also noted how an Al-Qaeda agent was arrested in Delhi while trying to recruit Rohingyas, which further fuelled speculations about the dangerous nature of the refugees.
In the backdrop of such strong threats, these developments from Jammu might indicate a worrying trend.
As per the ground report, the locals and authorities have developed an intense wariness to the illegal Rohingyas who they call a ploy to transform Jammu into an Islamic demography.
A senior official in Jammu and Kashmir police’s intelligence wing spills out the Rohingyas’ modus operandi to reach Jammu, which takes a two-day train from West Bengal’s Sealdah. By some accounts, they end up inside West Bengal by making a Rs 3,000 bus journey from Bangladesh. In Bengal, the police officer claimed that they are helped by a syndicate which facilitates their trip to Jammu.
The journey though always seems to stop in the Hindu majority Jammu, with Kashmir bereft of any such refugee influx, even though they demographically share the same religion. As of January 2018, there are a total of 1,548 Rohingya families in Jammu out of which 192 are housed at the largest camp in Muslim dominated area of Bhatindi.
Incidentally, the police officer even floated a possible conspiracy of them being settled around army camp and in light of their involvement in terror activities, authorities are maintaining a strict eye on them.
The Rohingyas, in contrast, are seen recounting their plight while speaking to the reporter, which incidentally are riddled with contradictions. One such instance being a certain Mohammed Yunus lamenting that he would be killed if he attempts to go to this native Rakhine. Just minutes earlier he was happily recounting how he went to Rakhine three months ago to attend a family wedding. After spending a happy week there he returned to Jammu with his brother’s family.
Hinting at the Rohingyas having a godfather helping and nurturing them, the report claims that a market operated by them is bigger and better stocked and others within just five years of its existence. This has led other shopkeepers to speculate that the Rohingyas have a support system supplying them with land and resources.
The support also extends to them getting documents like Aadhaar, voter cards and permanent resident certificate (PRC) via fraudulent means. Only J&K are allowed to obtain PRC cards which allow them to buy land, get government jobs to name a few.
This disdain for the Rohingyas also extends to BJP leader and J&K Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta who questions why 19,960 Hindu families who migrated from Pakistan in the past 70 years have never been given citizenship while the Rohingyas have by all accounts been made state subjects.
As per the chairman of National Panthers Party Harsh Dev Singh, this Rohingya settlement is a conspiracy to alter Jammu’s demography so that resident Dogras are rendered a minority. An advocate Ankur Sharma who had filed a PIL in the supreme court asking for the elimination of minority benefits for J&K Muslims, outright called the Rohingya settlement a plot to Islamicise Jammu. The view that Rohingyas as an Islamist project which suits the politics of “some”.
The Hindu residents living near Rohingya camps allege that the Rohingyas are involved in criminal activities like selling drugs, with 60-70 KG of Heroin being seized from them till date. What also irked the locals was the families once slaughtering a cow in full public view. The practices of Rohingyas fighting among themselves and roaming around at night has also unnerved the locals.
They, as a result, have been calling for the deportation of the Rohingyas which is challenging to say the least considering Myanmar doesn’t recognise them as citizens. The law enforcement also doesn’t seem to bother them as many of them are coolly back to their old ways after serving a jail sentence.
This sordid tale of a possible change of Jammu’s demography raises the question whether forces are at play to make Jammu the next Kashmir for the Hindu inhabitants, and if yes, then what can be done to stop this nefarious agenda at play.
You can read Swarajya’s ground report here