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‘We have nowhere to go’ — Rohingya refugees flee relief camps in Jammu fearing detention

J&K administration Saturday rounded up over 160 Rohingya refugees and placed them in 'holding centres' set up under Foreigner's Act.

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Srinagar: Hundreds of Rohingya refugees fled relief camps in Jammu Sunday, where they had been staying for almost a decade, a day after over 160 of them were detained by the Jammu and Kashmir government.

On Saturday, the J&K administration rounded the refugees and placed them in ‘holding centres’ that had been set up under the Foreigners Act in the Hiranagar sub-jail of Kathua district.

The holding centres were set up by a Home Department notification Friday under Section 3(2)e of Foreigners Act, said a senior government official, who wished to remain unnamed.

“The refugees were not holding valid passports required as per Passports Act. The individuals were sent to holding centres in order to carry out verification process as per law,” the official told ThePrint.

As a result, hundreds of refugees started leaving the relief camps fearing detention.

“We left the camps and started walking on the highway. We don’t know where to. We have nowhere to go. We can’t go back to our country,” 42-year-old Abdul Rohim, who was staying in one such camp since 2014, told ThePrint.

According to Rohim, police forces walked into the camp late Saturday and detained the refugees, which included his 26-year-old son, Mohammad Yaseen, and daughter-in-law Ruqaya Begum.

“The police just told us that they needed to do verification checks. But our children were taken to the holding centre instead. Today morning policemen came again to detain. We panicked and just left the camps,” Rohim said.

Jammu Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Verma, meanwhile, said that he had seen videos of the refugees leaving on social media and was trying to verify the same.

Inspector General (Jammu range) Mukesh Singh, however, did not offer any comments when contacted.

ThePrint also reached J&K DGP Dilbag Singh, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, District Commissioner Sushma Chauhan and SSP Jammu Sridhar Patil for a comment via calls and messages but they did not revert till publishing.

Also read: India emphasises early return of displaced Rohingyas from Bangladesh to Myanmar at UNGA

Mostly male members of families have been detained

Ali Johar, co-director of the Rohingya Human Rights Initiative, a Delhi-based NGO, said he had received reports and calls from camps in Jammu and Samba district from refugees pleading to “rescue their family members”.

According to Johar, who is also a refugee, Jammu houses 6,523 refugees at 39 camps that are located across the region.

He noted that at least 45 of those detained were from two locations in Samba and the rest were all from Jammu.

“Mostly male members are being detained but we have also got reports that children, women and the elderly too have been taken by the police. We are not sure what has led to this. The refugees carry a card provided to us by the UNHCR (United National Human Right Commission). There might be some cases where the validity might have expired but most of us have the cards,” Johar told ThePrint.

He added that the UNHCR card’s validity varied from four years to two months and could be renewed. However, it was currently difficult to get it renewed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have been following all the laws and procedures. I am not sure what has led to this. People are extremely scared. They have no place to go,” said Johar.

Samba District Commissioner Samba Rohit Khajuria, however, said he “wasn’t aware of any such development” in his district.

Meanwhile, social media has been flooded with pictures and videos of Rohingya refugees leaving their camps and walking on the roads along with their belongings.

Also read: Bangladesh relocates 1,600 Rohingyas from Cox’s Bazar to remote island for ‘better abode’


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  1. What were refuge seekers doing so far from their country of origin? Bangladesh forms the first port of entry
    Assam and West Bengal could be the next logical places to go
    What business did these people have in j&k?
    Or rather, who had malicious business behind settling them in j&k?

  2. Most of them will be terrorist, dacoits, cold blooded murders, they will not even spare local Muslims.

  3. Those who are illegal must go back and those who are crying ask Muslim countries to give them a shelter because what’s the use of being a Muslim nation if they are not caring for Muslim and blaming on India ,this India is not a shelter for illegals who can play a victim card one side and kill Hindus and other minority in countries where they are in majority we don’t want our India to become a illegal terrorists sleeping cells shelter.

  4. Rohingya wanted to be part of Pakistan, what better way than creating an other Pakistan near border, non reliable muslim back to their victim card.. If State is incapable to handling these future terrorists people would take initiative themselves..

  5. Same thing happened with illegal Bangladeshi Muslims, initially when they were detected, congress, Left and secularists cried and requested to allow them to stay in India for some time till things settled down in Bangladesh, once they stayed 10 years and most of them started having kids , these secularists started crying , how can you saparate father from children and they stayed for a decade in India, Hensy citizenship should be given , congress made their vote Bank and now Muslims in West Bengal and Assam started to take over Hindus there, sane drama will happen with these Rohingya Muslims, they will get citizenship and wipe out remaining Hindus in Jammu.

  6. Sad at how all muslim countries are blind to Rohingya refugees PLIGHT.
    But a large numbers of Muslims in INDIA talk about muslim ummah and about being unsafe in INDIA and refuse family planning CITING religion.

  7. Rohingyas must be deported, India is no more a Dharma Chatra. India belongs Indians, not for foreigners.

  8. This jihadi is back to garner support for fellow jihadi wahabi tribal fundamentalists. Illegal ones at that.

    For the past 10 years these illegals were given state patronage including citizenship while kashimiri Hindus were excreting at refugee camps in their country.

    As if this was not enough in support of this national security risk every mawali maskin burnt and desecrated Amar Jawan jyoti.

    It’s time to send these jihadi wahabi tribal fundamentalist mawali maskin to where they came from.

    India needs to be mawali maskin mukt in next 10 years to preserve its heritage culture and civilization.

  9. I don’t understand why Rohingya refugees were in Jammu only and not in Kashmir valley? After all it is one state.

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