Prof Hari Om
JAMMU: The Rohingya intruders are a threat to national security, environment and demography. The fear is real. And it can be seen from the unambiguous request Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made to the visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Dhaka on March 27. Her request read like this: “The return of 1.1milion Rohingyas back to Myanmar in the quickest possible time is needed since the lingering of the crisis could create grounds for their involvement in terrorist activities and drug trading”. She requested India, as a member of the UN Security Council, to play a “strong role” in the early repatriation of the Rohingyas back to Myanmar. In response, PM Modi told Hasina that “his country wants a sustainable return of the refugees in a sustainable manner”. What Hasina said could be construed as a significant statement on the threat the Rohingya intruders pose to peace and security.
A day earlier (March 26), India also witnessed three important developments as far as the issue of the presence of Rohingya intruders in Jammu was concerned. One was the statement of Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta. He said, “India is not the ‘immigrant capital of the world’. The continued stay of illegal immigrants would cause a threat to national security. Their continued presence also enabled the Rohingyas to get fake documents, including voter-ID cards, ration cards, Aadhaar cards and passports. The other was the statement of leading legal luminary Harish Salve. who among other things, said: “India was not a signatory of treaties that would ‘elbow the government’. As per the principles of international law, a municipal court could follow only what the Executive said regarding the recognition of a foreign sovereign”. The third was that the Supreme Court refused to hear the UN Special Rapporteur’s counsel’s submissions on the Rohingya issue. Salve, who represented the J&K Government, vehemently opposed the attempt of the UN Special Rapporteur.
All these three developments took place while the Chief Justice-headed three-judge bench was hearing the plea of Jammu-based Rohingya intruder Mohd Salimullah that all the over 150 Rohingyas detained at Jammu’s Hiranagar detention centre be immediately released and the Government of India be barred from deporting them to Myanmar. Prashant Bhushan represented the Rohingyas in the Supreme Court since years now. His spurious argument was that the Rohingyas were refugees and they deserve refugee status and all facilities in India under Articles 21 and 32 of the Indian Constitution.
Significantly, the three-judge bench reserved the order for a plea that sought the release of Rohingyas and to prevent them from being deported to Myanmar. It’s hoped the SC would reject the Rohingyas’ untenable plea, appreciate the rational and national arguments advanced by Tushar Mehta and Harish Salve and order the deportation of Rohingya intruders staying illegally in India. The Rohingyas have been living in different parts of India, including Bengal, parts of North East, UP, Uttrakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Telangana, TN, Kerala and Jammu.
As for Jammu, vested interests in the political establishment in J&K started settling them in this sensitive part as early as in 1996. The process continued unabated till June 2018. According to reports, many were induced to leave Delhi and settle in Jammu city in 2008. They were told by a Kashmiri that “J&K is a Muslim majority state and they would be safe in Jammu”. According to another report, “Rohingyas were sent to Jammu by trains from Sealdah, Kolkata”. The vested interests, including some NGOs and few individuals, settled most of them at strategic locations in and around Jammu City, including near vital Army installations, railway station, along the national highway and on Jammu’s high hills.
As per many reports, they were settled at ‘over 40 locations in and around Jammu and border district of Samba’. Sunjuwan, Bathindi, Narwal, Sidhra, Nagrota, Trikuta Nagar and Railway station are some of the places where the bulk of the Rohingya are found indulging in all kinds of activities, including heinous crimes like sale of minor Rohingya girls and drug trade. Reports also suggest the settlement of some Rohingyas in Poonch and Doda districts.
That the Rohingyas were settled at strategic locations in and around Jammu city should clinch the whole issue and establish that they were settled as a part of a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched to change the Hindu-majority character of Jammu district, create a Kashmir-like situation and help anti-India forces by using them to further their break-India agenda.
The worst part of the whole situation is that ‘around 150 Rohingyas’, according to a report, are still working with the BJP-controlled Jammu Municipal Corporation’s different contractors in Jammu. So much so, they have set up “Burmese Market” in the Narwal area.
J&K Government says that ‘there are 322 foreigners and 13,433 Rohingyas and Tibetans living in J&K’. “These include 7,690 Tibetans and 5,743 Rohingyas. While Rohingyas are mainly staying in Jammu and Samba, Tibetans are staying in Ladakh region,” the J&K Government said in 2017. It’s difficult to believe this statement. The number of Rohingyas living in Jammu district alone could be about one lakh. The reason is that ‘more than 7,000 Rohingya families have been provided electric and water connections’ and each Rohingya family has, according to one study, ‘8 to 10 children, and even more’.
It is heartening that the government has started the process of identifying the Rohingyas in Jammu. It’s a matter of time when we will come to know as to what exactly is their number? But their identification and detention of those staying illegally in Jammu alone cannot be the lasting solution to the serious problem. Their wholesale deportation alone can avert the impending disaster. They are ticking bombs. The fact that not even one Muslim country out 51 is prepared to accept them should make the policy-planners in the South and North Blocks to sit up and devise a definite policy calculated for ridding India of all approximately 5 to 6 crore illegal aliens, including Bangladeshis.
Let the vested interests in Kashmir and elsewhere oppose the ongoing process of Rohingya identification. Let them oppose their detention. Let them say that the Rohingyas’ issue is a human issue. These vested interests must be confronted with three questions: “Why did they deny citizenship rights to the persecuted Hindu-Sikh refugees from Pakistan living in Jammu since 1947? Why did they consistently denounce them as foreigners and outsiders? Were these Hindu-Sikh refugees not human beings?