Rohingyas in Jammu Hold Protest Demanding Release From 'Holding' Centre
About 270 Rohingyas are being held inside the holding centre in the Kathua district district of Jammu since the past two years despite community members and rights groups calling for their release.
(Representational) Image credit: Outlook
Srinagar: Scores of Rohingya refugees on Tuesday held a protest in Jammu after reports of police action on some of the members incarcerated at Hiranagar holding centre surfaced, triggering panic in the community.
Several community members alleged that at least eight inmates were injured during the clashes following which the security forces fired tear gas canisters at the protesters, sources privy to the incident said.
The situation was, however, brought under control after additional forces rushed to the spot earlier in the morning. The members, who later protested against the alleged use of force, said they were concerned about the safety of those being held inside after a purported video of the clashes was circulated on social media.
“We don’t understand why they are being held there in the first place. They have not committed any harm or crime and now the worst treatment is being meted out to us,” a community member Murshid Alam told NewsClick.
The protesters dispersed peacefully after the police intervened, however, there is fear and discontent within the community, who have fled from India’s neighbouring Myanmar to escape mass persecution by the ruling Military Junta. Referred to as one of the world’s largest stateless population by the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Muslim Rohingyas faced genocidal violence in their country causing a majority to abandon their homeland in the Rakhine state.
About 270 Rohingyas are being held inside the holding centre in the Kathua district district of Jammu since the past two years despite community members and rights groups calling for their release. The inmates have since held several protests against the detention. Many like Alam urged the authorities to be considerate in view of their plight.
“There are children whose parents are being held and parents whose have been separated from their children. It is up to them whether they want to deport us all to Myanmar or detain us all. I hope government takes positive steps for the community and not divide families,” Alam added.
The members have been living in Jammu’s Bhatindi and Narwal areas for the past eight years in camps and have many times been the target of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and other Right-wing groups in the region “inciting” hatred against them.
Earlier, the inmates had started a hunger strike demanding their release that was later called off after intervention from the authorities that a decision about them will be soon taken after directions from the central government.
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