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The New Arab Staff

India to deport Rohingya Muslim refugees to military-ruled Myanmar

Around 4,000 Rohingya refugees live in Jammu and Kashmir [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 March, 2021

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Local authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have been instructed to detain and deport Rohingya refugees.
Indian authorities have detained more than 160 Rohingya refugees with plans to deport the Muslim ethnic minorities to Myanmar.

Around 40,000 Rohingya live in camps and slums in India, having fled repression at the hands of the Burmese military now in control of Naypyidaw after a coup last month.

At least 4,000 of them live in Jammu and Kashmir - a Muslim-majority region stripped of its autonomy in 2019.

Local authorities were last month instructed to identify and deport all Rohingya refugees living in the area, Al Jazeera reported.

As part of those plans, more than 160 have been detained in the Hiranagar jail in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officials have described the detainees as "illegal migrants" and said they will soon be deported to Myanmar.

Activists say the refugees were rounded up under false pretenses.

Mohammad Ibrahim, a Rohingya living in Jammu, told Al Jazeera police had instructed community leaders to send groups of refugees to a nearby sports stadium where they would be given Covid-19 tests.

More than 300 people gathered in the stadium, where they were vaccinated for the disease and given biometric scans after showing their identity documents from the UN refugee agency.

"The gates of the stadium were shut and no one was allowed to leave," Ibrahim said. "In the afternoon, officials announced the names of some refugees and asked them to separate from the rest. Then they were whisked away in buses."

Police raided camps in the area over the weekend and detained more refugees.

The United Nations and human rights groups have expressed concerns for the fate of the around 600,000 Rohingya remaining in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

The Muslim minority are denied citizenship by Myanmar, which claims they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Min Aung Hlaing, the military chief currently leading Myanmar after last month's coup, has been accused of primary responsibility for the killing of thousands of Rohingya.

The Burmese military has also been accused of torching Rohingya villages and raping women as part of the crackdown in Rakhine state. 

More than 700,000 Rohingya fled the violence in recent years. 


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