While the refugees from Myanmar have been living in Jammu for the last eight years, it is not known what prompted the action
NEW DELHI — Authorities took at least 168 Rohingya refugees in detention and put them in jail after gathering hundreds of them at a sports ground in Jammu on Saturday.
According to reports reaching from Jammu, the refugees were subjected to Covid-19 tests and verification of documents including the ID cards issued by the UN refugee agency. The exercise was conducted amidst the presence of police force in and outside the stadium.
Jammu: #Rohingya refugees were earlier today gathered in a stadium for verification by authorities
Some of them have been taken to Sub Jail Hira Nagar.
Authorities are tight-lipped so far as refugees are worried.
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— Zafar Aafaq (@ZafarAafaq) March 6, 2021
The detained refugees were sent to Hiranagar sub-jail which has been turned into a “holding centre” with a capacity of 250 people. Authorities invoked section 3(2)e of the Foreigners Act saying that the detained refugees lacked “valid travel documents” required according to the Passports Act, reports said.
The police also conducted searches at the refugee camps in the Channi area in the evening “to detain more undocumented refugees”.
While the refugees have been living in Jammu for the last eight years, it is not known what prompted the move to send them to detention.
In India, which is not a signatory to UN refugee conventions, the UN refugee agency has documented around 20,000 Rohingyas who fled the genocidal violence in their home country Myanmar some years ago. Some estimates say around 13,000 refugees are putting up in camps in Jammu.
According to a report in the Indian express, the jail had been prepared to hold refugees “staying illegally” nearly a week ago after inmates were shifted to other jails.