Rohingya refugees issue likely to damage BJP in J&K

At a time when the debate over Article 35-A has taken a sharp regional turn with Jammu seeking its abrogation and Kashmir region threatening mass agitation, reports of PDP-BJP government taking the issue of the settlement of Rohingya refugees in Jammu region is both shocking and painful. PDP and NC alongwith Congress have virtually joined hands to stop New Delhi from interfering with the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Amid this, BJP and JKNPP, which are both Jammu based are yet to sit across and chalk out a strategy for creating atmosphere congenial for the abrogation of Article 35-A first and then, discriminatory Article 370 which has kept Jammu and Kashmir away from national mainstream. We are part of India and yet Article 370 has acted as barrier between the state of Jammu and Kashmir and rest of the country. And while this debate is going on, BJP has miserably failed to address issue of settlement of Rohingyas in Jammu and Kashmir. This is despite the fact that there are credible reports that some of the Rohingya refugees could become potential threat to the security of the state. More pertinent question is that if Article 35-A and Article 370 don’t allow people who are not resident of this state to settle in Jammu region, then why Rohingyas? BJP should explain why it is handling the issue of the Rohingyas with complete non-seriousness and why it has failed to get a strategy devised to send them back.
Group of Ministers (GoM), which was specifically constituted to hold deliberations on this serious issue, has failed to come up with any suggestion so far. The group has so far maintained complete silence over the issue. Union Ministry of Home Affairs recently said that a concrete plan is being made to evict Rohingyas from Jammu region and send them back to the country from where they have become. MHA has asked the intelligence agencies and the state administration to keep a close eye on the activities of the Rohingyas in Jammu region. But the state government is sitting silently. A PIL is pending in the court of Law wherein a Jammu-based lawyer had demanded that the Rohingyas should be identified and evicted from Jammu region since they could be threat to the state. Besides, their settlement in Jammu region is brute violation of the Article 35-A and Article 370. The pertinent question here is why we are allowing such people, whose own country disowned them, to settle down here? These people pose a threat to security as well as law and order.
They are staying here illegally and have occupied government land in Jammu. Their presence is a threat for the state is the overwhelming feeling among the residents of Jammu. More shocking is the fact that these immigrants have penetrated the state machinery. This has already raised many an eyebrows in the security establishment of the state as well. Aadhaar cards were recovered from the temporary shelters of Rohingyas camping in Jammu. The startling revelation raised question marks over the working of state government departments, which had failed to detect the fake documents or deliberately connived with these border crossers at the behest of their political sympathizers who wanted to resettle them with the sole purpose of changing the demography of Jammu region. Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) had threatened to launch a campaign against the settlement of Rohingyas. But nothing has changed. It is bewildering that while Myanmar and Bangladesh have declined to acknowledge Rohingyas thinking about security concerns and Saudi Arabia has requested illegally settled Bangladeshis to leave their nation within 90 days, PDP-BJP government is yet to take the issue of the Rohingyas seriously. At the time of Independence refugees from West Pakistan settled down in border areas of Jammu. They are yet to be integrated into the state. Certain people from the Valmiki community who were brought to the state in pre-Independence times are also not fully integrated into the fold of the state. When the State has no legal provision of integrating migrants, it should not allow Rohingya refugees to settle in Jammu region. Sanction even on humanitarian grounds would require amendment to the existing State law. BJP should realise its mistake and take corrective measures at the earliest. The sooner the Rohingya refugees are shown the door, the better it would be. Any further delay would aggravate the problem.

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