Regarded by the United Nations Human Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as “one of the most persecuted, excluded and vulnerable communities” in the world, Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar living in Jammu are worried about an unusual situation that is threatening to rob them of their livelihood and their settlements, once again.
Advocate Hunar Gupta – a member of the BJP’s legal cell and standing council of the central government – filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Division Bench of the High Court seeking identification and deportation of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis from Jammu.
‘Where Will We Go?’ Ask the Rohingyas
"Where will we go?,” Maulana Shafiq, 52, who was among the first batch of refugees to arrive in this city, said, as he caressed his four-year-old daughter near his juggi. “It is not easy to find a place to live and make a living,” he adds. Shafiq and his family were the first Rohingya Muslims to make Jammu their home in 2009. They were followed by others, who came to escape persecution in Myanmar. Today, there are over 6,684 registered Rohingya Muslim families in the Jammu region.
Shafiq, like most of the Rohingya refugees settled in Jammu, said that he has nothing to do with politics and moved purely for economic reasons. “We get good wages, the vegetable market is close by, we get things very cheap, that's why we prefer to live in Jammu," said Zahid Hussain. But the rush of Rohingya refugees is now at the centre of a controversy – one that comes at a time when identity certificates for refugees from West Pakistan have sparked a debate.
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