Veteran journalist and nominated member Swapan Dasgupta today expressed concern over the reported influx of Rohingya refugees in Jammu and Ladakh saying it was a matter of national security. Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha, he said there was a “vicious” ethnic conflict and civil war going on in Myanmar, but since it was an internal affair of a friendly neighbouring country, “we refrain from commenting on it”.
“But it is curious and somewhat inexplicable as to why there should be so many Rohingyas who have migrated to Jammu and to Ladakh,” he said. Rohingyas are tribals from Myanmar, commonly also known as the ‘boat people’.
Dasgupta said as per the Jammu and Kashmir Government, there are approximately 5,700 Rohingyas in Jammu and 7,664 Rohingyas in Ladakh.
Whereas the UN High Commission for Refugees states there are 14,000 Rohingyas in the whole of India, the media reports say that the Home Ministry estimates there are 40,000, he added.
“Now to my mind…this is very, very suspicious. The suspicion arises not for humanitarian reasons or anything like, but because of what the Bangladesh Government has reported – that there are at least three terrorist organisations among the Rohingyas,” the member said.
He further said “we have seen” evidence of Rohingya involvement in the blast in Bodh Gaya and in October, 2016, that one of the two militants killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir, turned out to be from Myanmar.
“To my mind…it is something which is a pressing matter, which goes beyond the humanitarian aspect…,” he said, adding that the Rohingya refugees have also been flaunting voter cards and Aadhaar cards.
“It is only when they tried to register themselves as State Subjects that the issue came to the fore and assumed great importance. I would urge the Government to take this matter very, very seriously,” Dasgupta added.