Scores of Rohingya who fled Myanmar are being held in a detention centre in the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir, an official said Sunday, after being rounded up ahead of their expected deportation.
At least 168 people from the Muslim minority have been picked up by authorities in the northern territory since Saturday, Jammu’s Inspector General of Police, Mukesh Singh, said.
“After nationality verification of these illegal immigrants, details will be sent to the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi to be taken up with Myanmar for their deportation,” Singh told AFP.
Some 5,000 Rohingya are believed to live in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said.
The United Nations says there are 16,000 registered Rohingya in India, but many more are believed to be undocumented.
The Hindu-nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has for years asked state and territory governments to identify and deport the approximately 40,000 Rohingya it says are living in India.
New Delhi has described the Rohingya as a security threat and accused them of having links with the Islamic State and other Muslim extremist groups — charges denied by the community’s leaders.
Officials did not say why there was a push now to deport the stateless group.
Human Rights Watch had previously urged India, the world’s largest democracy, to follow the international principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits sending refugees back to places where their lives are in danger.
Courtesy – AFP