The process of deporting over 150 Rohingya Muslims detained here in a special drive against illegal immigrants early this month has been initiated in Jammu and Kashmir, an official spokesman said on Wednesday. These people are presently lodged at a 'holding centre' in Kathua district, where all necessary facilities are being provided to them, the spokesman said.
He said Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Raghav Langer on Wednesday visited the centre at Hiranagar and expressed satisfaction over the facilities being provided to the inmates. On March 6, about 168 Rohingyas were shifted to the holding centre after they were found living illegally in Jammu city during a verification drive.
The Rohingyas are a Bengali-dialect speaking Muslim minority in Myanmar. Many from the community fled to India after violence in their country. Several political parties and social organisations in Jammu have urged the Centre to take immediate steps for the deportation of Rohingyas and Bangladeshi nationals who were illegally living in the region, alleging that their presence is a "conspiracy to alter the demographic character" and a "threat to peace".
More than 13,700 foreigners, including Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi nationals, are settled in Jammu and Samba districts J-K, where their population has increased by over 6,000 between 2008 and 2016, according to government data. As per the provision of Foreigners Act 1946, certain illegal immigrants have been kept at the notified holding centres by the authorities and the process for their deportation to the country of origin has been initiated, the spokesman said.
Accompanied by senior officers from Kathua including Deputy Commissioner Rahul Yadav, SSP R C Kotwal and Staff Officer to DG Prisons Saba Shawl, the divisional commissioner assessed the facilities being provided at the holding centre notified by J-K Home Department, the spokesman said. The in-charge of the holding centre apprised the divisional commissioner about the facilities being provided to the inmates like telephone or interview facility, medical care and recreation, the spokesman said.
The divisional commissioner was informed that round the clock security arrangement is in place at the holding centre. "All necessary facilities to maintain a standard of living in consonance with human dignity like clean drinking water, electricity with generator, proper sanitation and drainage system and accommodation with proper bedding and lighting are available in the holding centre, the spokesman said.
He was also informed that a special medical diet is being provided to pregnant women, old and infirm inmates, the spokesman said. He said Langer took a round of various sections including school, vocational centre and playing area in the holding centre.
He also interacted with the inmates and inquired about their wellbeing, the spokesman said.