DOST KHAN / ANCHOR
JAMMU: After discreet silence over the years, Jammu finally awoke to headlines ‘Biometric verification of Rohingyas begins’, ‘168 illegal settlers sent to Jail’, etc. Is it enough to address the concerns of the Jammu people over the overt and covert attempts of changing the demography of Duggarland? Though belated yet welcome, the process to identify and deport the settlers from Myanmar has finally begun. Will it end up after hogging a few headlines or reach the logical conclusion? It can be anybody’s guess.Watch the words of a Rohingya Muslim, who is reported to have stated: “I crossed into Bangladesh from Burma (Myanmar) when persecution of Muslims became unbearable. From Calcutta I shifted with my family to Delhi where I begged for food to keep myself and my family alive. It was in Delhi that I met a Kashmiri who told me J&K was a state in India where Muslims lived in majority”.Who was this Kashmiri and why didn’t he lead Rohingyas to the Valley instead of giving them Jammu address? The thread of their illegal settlement here was picked by some NGOs, one of them from Srinagar, which provided succour to illegal settlers. The then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti admitted this in Legislative Assembly in January 2017 that some NGOs namely ‘Shikawat’ run by Mohammad-ul-Umar of Srinagar along with Rashid, SR Institute of Development of Rambagh (Srinagar) and Delhi based NGO Daji were helping Rohingyas in cash and kind from time to time. What she did not tell the Legislative Assembly was the action proposed by her government, ironically in coalition with the BJP, to free the Duggarland from these unwanted settlers, who are a potential threat to demography and national security. Jammu’s concerns over criminalization of the atmosphere by their presence are not out of place. Rohingyas use in anti-national activities also remained a real time threat, especially after their sympathizers in the Valley resorted to widespread protests in 2019 which witnessed torching of police vehicles and stone throwing on the security forces. The whole-hog social media war in Kashmir for Rohingyas retarded the process of deporting unwanted guests back to their homes, notwithstanding the fact that Islamic Bangladesh bundled them out unceremoniously.The influx of Rohingyas to Jammu can’t be incidental. The role of some Kashmiri NGO in directing them to Jammu cannot be a coincidence. There must be some purpose. And nobody has bothered till date the purpose and motivation behind settling these people in the temple city in particular. A question arises how they chose Jammu, a far away destination from their originating point of Myanmar, bordering China, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia and parts of North Eastern states, to be their second home. After their arrival here, who lend helping hand by providing various logistics including schooling in Madrassas-the institutions some of which have attained notoriety for producing Jihadis rather than literates. Why didn’t the unknown Kashmiri ‘Columbus for Rohingya Muslims’ and his cohort NGO led them to Muslim dominated Valley?Rohingyas have strengthened their foot-hold by initially getting engaged into scrap collection. Gradually, they started with contractors and some of them turned vendors selling vegetables and other essentials. Their ambitions are soaring. Mohammad Rafik, who was 48 at the time, told Al Jazeera, “We have been forced to be scrap dealers as there are no employment avenues available. This is how they are claiming rehabilitation, as a matter of right. Who knows someday they too will become major stake-holders?In her capacity as the last Chief Minister of the Jammu and Kashmir State, Mehbooba Mufti is on record having told the Legislative Assembly on January 20, 2017, “”As many as 5,743 Burmese (Rohingyas) are staying in the state. They have entered the state on their own and are staying at various places in the districts of Jammu and Samba.” With the biometric details on, Jammu awaits to know the details of their population grown over the years, as Rohingyas don’t believe in birth control. Giving clean chit to Rohingyas for not having ‘contracted the virus of radicalisation’, the Chief Minister had said that 17 FIRs have been registered against 38 Rohingyas for various offences. She had informed the lawmakers that there were three madrassas in Jammu and 24 teachers had been deployed there for Rohingyas.Now that the administration has set the ball rolling to tackle with the menace of unwanted settlers, issuance of a white paper, listing the role of who’s who in the murky game of Rohingya settlement in Jammu will not be too much to expect.
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