Jammu and Kashmir: 168 Rohingya refugees sent to ‘holding’ centre as administration starts verification
Photo Credit: PTI

As many as 168 Rohingya refugees, including women and children, living in Jammu and Kashmir were on Saturday sent to a ‘holding centre’, under section 3(2)e of the Foreigners Act, reported The Indian Express. This comes a day after Jammu and Kashmir administration set up “holding centres” under the Foreigners Act in the Hiranagar sub-jail in Kathua.

As per the report, the holding centres with a capacity to hold 250 people were set up by a Home Department notification on Friday under Section 3(2)e of Foreigners Act. A senior official told the Indian Express that the Rohingya refugees were not holding valid passports required in terms of Section (3) of the Passports Act.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday began a drive to collect biometric and other details of Rohingyas staying in Jammu.

The Rohingyas are a Bengali-dialect speaking Muslim minority in Myanmar. Following persecution in their country, many of them entered India illegally through Bangladesh and took shelter in Jammu and other parts of India, reported news agency PTI.

The verification process of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar was carried out at the MAM Stadium in Jammu amid high security. Under the drive, their biometric and other details, such as place of stay, were collected.

Certain political parties and social organisations, had urged the Centre to take immediate steps for the deportation of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis alleging that their presence is a "conspiracy to alter the demographic character" of the region and "a threat to the peace in the region".

More than 13,700 foreigners, including Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi nationals, are settled in Jammu and Samba districts, where their population has increased by over 6,000 between 2008 and 2016, according to government data.

(With inputs from PTI)

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