Updated: March 5, 2018 9:16:31 am
Nearly a year after Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry threatened to “identify and kill’’ Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi nationals settled in the area if they were not deported within a month, various organisations have started attempts to mobilise public opinion against their stay.
Advertisements calling for eviction of Rohingya have started appearing in local newspapers. Some of these advertisements, issued by leaders of organisations like Chamber of Commerce and Industry and National Panthers Party, read, “Rohingyas: a ticking time bomb. Evict them to save Jammu’’, and “Threat of Rohingyas loom large over the heads of peace loving Jammuites. Let us unite to save Jammu’’. Panthers Party has held demonstrations, demanding that Rohingya be deported.
The issue gained momentum after three terrorists attacked family quarters inside Sunjuwan military station on February 10 and killed six soldiers and a civilian before being gunned down. A large number of Rohingyas live in civilian areas near the military station.
During her visit to Jammu after the attack, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said “demography of the cantonment and adjoining areas indicates the possibility of local support to the terrorists’’. Hours after terrorists entered the military station, BJP MLA and Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta had named migrants from two countries, holding them responsible for such attacks — his remarks on the communities and countries were expunged later.
Panthers Party president Balwant Mankotia said they were “getting in touch with like-minded outfits so that they can pressure the government to shift the illegal immigrants outside the state”.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Rakesh Gupta said that while they were against Rohingya settling in the state, they were waiting for the Supreme Court’s verdict in the matter. Chamber Secretary Gaurav Gupta said that they believed in communal amity, but were against settlement of outsiders as this would affect the state’s special status under Article 370. “These settlers pose a security threat as local police has no record of their antecedents”.
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