The Jammu and Kashmir Police has started collecting personal details of all Rohingya Muslims living in the state to identify how, from where and when they came to India, and travelled further on to J&K.
Inspector General of Police, Jammu zone, S D Singh Jamwal, said this is being done on instructions from the Central government to identify these people and maintain records. Asked whether it has to do something with their deportation, Jamwal said, “It may be a process for that.”
Written in Burmese language, with English translations, these “personal date forms’’ were circulated by the police in some Rohingya settlements in Jammu city on Sunday as well.
Each settler from Myanmar has been asked to fill up these forms, furnishing personal details of not only self but of parents, spouse and siblings, too.
The seven-page form seeks details such as the applicant’s name, parentage, occupation or present address, colour of his/her eyes and hair, other name, and special particulars. Applicants are asked to furnish passport-sized photograph, besides details about place of birth, height, national identity card, address in Myanmar, education, spouse’s current occupation, address and even of school and university where he or she studied, among several others.
J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik had earlier this month said that biometric details of Rohingya refugees in the state will be collected within two months. His statement came nearly a month after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said that all states have been asked to identify Rohingya refugees living within their boundaries and collect their biometric data, a compiled report of which will be sent to Myanmar.
There are nearly 8,000 Myanmar nationals staying in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts of Jammu region, with nearly 90 per cent of them settled in Jammu city and outskirts, according to the police.
While these Myanmar nationals have been living in J&K for several decades, their settlement here took a political colour after Valley-based politicians opposed the decision to issue identity cards to Hindu refugees from Pakistan settling in Jammu region, calling it a move to give them the status of permanent residents of J&K. Reacting to the opposition, Jammu-based political parties, including the BJP and the Panthers Party, and many social, religious and trade organisations started describing settlement of Rohingya Muslims as ostensibly an attempt to change the region’s demography , with even big hoardings coming up in the city asking these settlers to leave in view of their being a security threat.
Several senior BJP leaders have sought their deportation, calling them a security threat.