Jammu: Following the outcry in Kashmir Valley over providing the identity certificates to the Hindu West Pakistani refugees, BJP MLAs have now slammed their own government for being lax in allowing the settlement of over 6,000 Rohingya Muslims in Hindu dominated Jammu region even as they have the got the work permits from the government of India to carry out different jobs in the state.

The saffron party members have also asked the state government to take measures to “stop” the illegal settlement of Bangladeshi Muslims.

Representational Image. ReutersRepresentational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters

As per government figures, there are over 6,000 Rohingya refugees who are living in different areas of the Jammu city, a predominately Hindu majority area and are settled there for more than six years now. Over 1,200 Burmese refugee families comprising nearly 6,000 people are settled in some of the congested areas of Jammu city including Narwal. Inspector General of Police, Jammu range, Danish Rana, said that the Rohingya Muslims have been given the work permits by the government and are not “living illegally in Jammu areas”. “The number of people is over 6,000 and they are staying legally here. They have the work permit which has been issued by the government of India. They are Rohingya Muslims from Burma and are settled here due to the differences with Buddhist population in their own country.”

He said that the Rohingya Muslims started coming to Jammu region over six years back and “over a period of time their number has increased”. “They are mostly doing odd-jobs and are rag-pickers and even do begging to eke out a living,” Rana said.

However, the BJP MLAs have now demanded that the state government should spell out a policy on “whether Rohingya and Bangladeshi Muslims can stay in the state.” BJP’s Nowshera MLA, Ravinder Raina, said that the matter will be taken up in the upcoming budget session of the state assembly which is beginning in Jammu from 2 January.

“The government should spell out a policy on Rohingya Muslims. It is a very serious matter and the government should find out how have they come to the state. They are living without permission and could be a threat to the security of the state. We will ask the government to be serious about the issue and clear its policy,” Raina said.

BJP’s Ram Nagar MLA, Ranbir Singh Pathania, said that those Bangladeshi and Rohingya Muslims who are living illegally here should be dealt sternly. “Thos who are living illegally shall be dealt as per the law,” Pathania said.

Police officials, however, admit that many of the Bangladeshi nationals are living illegally. “Yes there are many who are living illegally,” said Rana. He said that there are many who are overstaying the period for which they have been permitted against valid travel documents adding there “were others who have entered illegally by crossing the border.’’ A senior police official said, “Since many of the Bangladeshi nationals having entered clandestinely there is a difficulty in having an exact record of those who are settled in the state.”

Legislator Raina demanded that a head count of the people who are residing in the state should be done. BJP MLAs have sought a clear policy even as the New Delhi has advised the government of Myanmar that “communal harmony” should be maintained in the Rakhine state of the country where the Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims have shown frequent differences. As per government documents, “the developments in the Rakhine state of Myanmar including the importance of maintaining communal harmony has been taken up by GOI (government of India)with the government of Myanmar.”

The government records reveal that the number of foreign nationals including those from Bangladesh who have been deported to their countries was significantly lesser in Jammu and Kashmir than other states. The number of those who have been deported from Delhi in the year 2009, 2010 and 2011 was 1,645, 989 and 161 respectively. However, from Jammu and Kashmir, the number per year has remained between one to three only.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 16:03 IST

Original article: 

BJP seeks headcount of illegally staying Rohingya, Bangladeshi Muslims in Jammu