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Rohingyas: Politics over national interest

All those politicians who justified atrocities towards north Indians in Mumbai are today silent on Rohingya Muslims migrating to the City. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi once refused to wear skullcap, but received Abe and his wife Akie Abe at the mosque. Since BJP came to power the population of Rohingya Muslim illegal immigrants have gone up from 10,000 to 40,000. Many of them possess Indian Passport, Aadhar card, pan card. India is decoyed in poverty but the migrants were never a subject of concern for state politicians.

India’s national security fears are based on the inputs received on Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’s connection with Lashkar-e-Taiba. Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) has a Pakistan chapter, and the Jamaat-ud-Dawa front Falah-e-Insaniyat had a presence in Rohingya refugee camps in 2012. Rohingya crisis came to limelight, first time on August 12, 2012 at Azad Maidan in Mumbai. A large crowd of Muslims assembled at the venue to protest against the Assam riots and the Rakhine riots in Myanmar, which were a confrontation between the Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. The crowds soon turned violent which led them to vandalise public property, molesting women cops, and desecrating the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial. The riots led to the death of two people. Many police officers were injured and public properties were destroyed.

Those days Rohingyas had made their way, all the way from Myanmar through Bangladesh, to illegally enter India. We all know India is already cursed with Bangladeshi Muslim migrants. With their conditions pitiable and them enduring the long and traitorous journey, they seemed to have found a safe haven in Hyderabad where various Islamic organisations extended their help, as social media messages had already flared up passions. Even, in Mumbai most of the Muslim dominating areas have not only given shelter to these migrants they are well protected by Indian political groups.

Their status of being oppressed minorities in process of rehabilitation slowly started to change after reports started emerging in 2013 about some of the Rohingyas getting radicalised by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) to avenge the sectarian violence in Myanmar. The retribution though, for some strange reason, was also aimed at India, which ironically gave them the shelter. Perhaps presence of Buddhists in India was one of the reasons. Some political parties may back them for their vote bank politics, but in long term they are damaging the very right of Indians.

Currently there are about 40,000 Rohingyas in India out of which only 14,000 are officially registered. They remain concentrated in states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi. All this emerged after it was speculated that the Bodh Gaya blasts on July 7, 2013 were possibly retribution against the Buddhists for what was going on in Myanmar. This was almost confirmed after interrogations revealed that the blasts at the Buddhist shrine were aimed as a revenge for the Rohingyas.

In December 2014 the Hyderabad police put Rohingyas under surveillance. Khalid Mohammed, a Rohingya Muslim, was nabbed by the NIA in connection with the Burdwan blast in Oct 2014. Recently the people of Jammu have been actively protesting against the settlement of Rohingyas in the state. Reports indicate that there has been a sharp rise in the number of refugees from 5,107 in 2010 to about 13,400 in June, 2016. The security forces there too have started perceiving the Rohingyas there as a security threat after one of the two foreign militants killed in a shootout in south Kashmir turned out to be a native of Myanmar. This has also led to feeling of anger and anguish among many Indians that while the Rohingyas are being settled in Jammu and Ladakh, efforts to rehabilitate the Kashmiri Pandits were being opposed.

However, the issue might need quick resolution as the rise in this new ethnic group, especially along India’s eastern border poses a severe security threat and challenges of illegal immigration. Last month, India cautioned Myanmar about the long known exploitation of Rohingyas at the hands of Pakistan based terrorists. This might also prompt the Indian government too to rethink its stance of turning a blind eye to the illegal immigration, like it did for the Rohingyas chiefly in 2012 as there was domestic political pressure to allow them and international concern over human rights.

This settlement of the refugees may be the largest since India gave refuge to the Dalai Lama and 80,000 Tibetans who fled due to atrocities of the Chinese in 1959. However, the consequences are turning out to be very different in both the cases. In recent days, thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Burma have made their way to neighbouring Bangladesh and from there to India. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister personally welcomed Dalai Lama to India; India remains home to the Dalai Lama and about 110,000 Buddhist Tibetans, whose precise legal status in the country remains ambiguous.

BJP promised before elections that they’ll clear the menace of Bangladeshi illegal immigrants if they come to power but did nothing till date on the issue. Rather, BJP is turning a blind eye towards Rohingya illegal immigrants. As a result of this, they grew by four times in numbers during BJP rule. Suddenly the government has woken up and are raking up Rohingya immigrant issue by deporting them. Other opportunistic parties too have jumped up to this opportunity and are issuing statements in favour of these illegal immigrants under the garb of humanitarian grounds. On one hand, BJP government is trying to hide its failure on Bangladeshi illegal immigrants by raking up Rohingya’s deportation while opposition has got the opportunity to play their all-time favourite minority vote bank politics. Unfortunately, no party is bothered about National security and Indian tax payers’ money is being leeched by these illegal immigrants. It’s nothing but playing politics over national interest.

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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