Thousands of illegal immigrants from Myanmar (also known as Rohingyas), camping in different parts of Jammu & Kashmir continue to occupy plots located close to the vital defence installations including Sunjwan Army camp, Police Lines, railway track without facing any resistance.
Out of an estimated population of over 40,000 Rohingyas currently staying in India at least 10,000 are camping in different parts of Jammu and its adjoining districts of Samba, Kathua, Rajouri etc.
Majority of these illegal immigrants arrived here in the last one decade via Bangladesh and made Jammu their second home.
According to a J&K Home department report tabled in the state assembly on February 2, 2018, “a total number of 6523 Rohingyas were found camping across 39 different locations spread across five districts of Jammu and Kashmir”.
According to this report, “6461 Rohingyas were staying in Jammu division and 62 in Kashmir division.
However, local activists and politicians, spearheading a campaign in support of their deportation often contest these figures claiming large number of these illegal immigrants are scattered and even their bio metrics have not been properly collected by the security personnel.
According to this report , “48 families comprising 206 Rohingyas were found camping in Sunjwan area on the outskirts of Jammu. A military station is located in the close vicinity.
On February 10, 2018, when a heavily armed group of terrorists (members of suicide squad) had stormed the Sunjwan army camp in the wee hours, security forces had raised serious concerns claiming these terrorists may have been sheltered by the illegal immigrants, living close to the boundary wall of an army camp.
However, in the absence of any clear evidence none of the illegal immigrants were investigated by the security agencies about their possible involvement in sheltering the members of the fidayeen group.
At least 40 Rohingyas were also found staying in Nagrota in the close vicinity of 16 corps headquarters of the Indian army.
According to the Home department report, “over 150 families have raised temporary sheds housing 734 Rohingyas opposite police lines in Channi Himmat area of Jammu”. Not only this, a grave yard plot in Narwal area of Jammu is second home for over 250 Rohingyas from Myanmar.
Instead of preventing their illegal entry, the concerning agencies, have been apparently caught napping as their numbers have gradually swelled in the region raising serious security concerns.
In January 2017 Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had informed the state assembly that over 5700 Rohingyas are camping in the state.
In 2018, their numbers swelled up to 6523.
These illegal immigrants have also managed to spread their foot prints from two to at least five districts across the state in the last one year. Apart from Jammu Rohingyas are staying in Samba, Doda, Poonch and Anantnag in Kashmir valley.
The biggest cause of concern is those illegal immigrants who have been staying here without any Refugee cards issued by the office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
According to the report, out of 6523 Rohingyas more than 400 are staying here without their refugee cards issued by the United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Jammu seems to be the first choice of Rohingyas. They are spread across 30 locations in Jammu only. Majority of Rohingyas in Jammu earn their livelihood by doing daily wage jobs and some of them have become scrap dealers. Children support their families by collecting and selling waste material, and a few women work as domestic help and in local factories in the area. Fears in the security establishment grew after one of the two foreign militants killed in a shootout in south Kashmir in October 2015 turned out to be originally from Myanmar.
“No Rohingya has been found involved in militancy-related incidents. However, more than two dozen other criminal cases have been registered against 50 Rohingyas for various offences,” official sources in the state Home department said.
Under pressure from different quarters to gather details of exact number of Rohingyas, the Jammu and Kashmir police had initiated special drive to collect their personal details in a proper format.
The drive was launched on the directions of the central government to gather 'biometrics' of Rohingyas ahead of their deportation to their native country.
While collecting personal details of these Rohingyas the policemen faced many hardships and lot of resistance from these immigrants on ground zero.