61 Rohingya Muslims Arrested

Zlatica Hoke (VOA) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

India is accused of pushing them back to Bangladesh

Police in Assam and Tripura states in the Northeastern part of India announced the arrest of 61 Rohingya Muslims[/tweeit] during the third week of January. There have been reports saying more than 1,300 Rohingyas have crossed over from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Among the arrests were 12 children of a 30 member group who were on a bus to the Assam state capital Gauhati. The remaining were held by Tripura police after they spent two days in the no man’s land sandwiched between India and Bangladesh and denied entry. The stranded Rohingyas were previously living in Jammu and Kashmir state.

About 40,000 Rohingyas other than the 61 mentioned above have taken refuge in different parts of India. It does not help their condition that the present Indian Government is made up of Hindu nationalists which are inimical to their plight. They claim the Rohingyas are extremists who are a danger to India’s sovereignty. Fewer than half of the total refugees (about 15,000) are registered with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Several refugees have been deported on charges of illegal entry into the country.

The consequent Indian roundups have led many Rohingyas, who do not want to be sent back to Myanmar, to be classified as stateless Muslims. A million Rohingyas reside in huge Bangladeshi refugee camps. According to Bangladeshi border security personnel, about 1,300 Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh from India in January. Indian border guards have flatly denied media reports that they have pushed refugees towards Bangladesh.

Rohingyas were forced to depart from Myanmar when security forces cracked down on the ethnic group after an insurgent Rohingya group attacked Myanmarese guard posts. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, and other human rights groups say Myanmar continues its punitive military actions against the refugees. Most of the Myanmarese do not regard the Rohingyas as Myanmarese despite the latter spending generations in the country. They think of Rohingyas as Bangladeshi refugees and members of another ethnic community.

India has faced intense criticism from international observers for deporting Rohingyas to Myanmar during the last few weeks. New Delhi has done so despite documented reports of atrocities done by the Myanmarese military against the Rohingya. An assorted number of rights groups have accused India of disregarding prevalent international law and sending the refugees to their probable slaughter.

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