Don’t ‘Communalise’ Rohingya stay in Jammu: PDP

In a development that could lead to face-off between the ruling People’s Democratic Party and the Bhartiya Janta Party, the PDP on Tuesday cautioned against “communalising” stay of Rohingya Muslims in Jammu saying the refugees from Myanmar were “protected under international laws” to which government of India is a signatory.
“A tirade has been launched against Rohingyas by locals in Jammu. They are being made subject of every day discussions. There is international law governing Rohingyas’ protection in the entire country. They too have human rights and are protected under constitution of India as well. Who am I or anybody else to start a tirade against them?” said PDP’s chief spokesman Muhammad Rafi Mir.
This open stand of the PDP on Rohingyas is in contradiction with that of its coalition partner, BJP, which has been demanding the refuges should be deported from the state.
Along with National Panthers Party and other right wing groups, the BJP has started a fresh campaign in Jammu asking Rohingya Muslims to leave the region, terming them as “security threat”.
This campaign picked up after a deadly attack by Fidayeen militants on an army camp in Jammu on February 11 in which 10 people including four attackers were killed.
The same day the speaker J&K Assembly Kavinder Gupta had blamed Rohingya refugees for the attack, sparking uproar in the House. Gupta later, however, took back his remarks following protests by the opposition as well as some PDP members.
“It is unfortunate that a senior politician had talked in such a way. This is a wrong conception (that Rohingya were involved in the attack), it is a communal thought and an unfortunate thing. The whole issue is being politicised and communalised. These Rohingyas are very poor people, living in miserable condition. How can they afford to attack a camp?” asked Mir.
Last year the state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti told the state assembly that a total of 1,219 Rohingya families comprising 5,743 souls were living in the state – all of them in Jammu.
She had dismissed apprehensions about instances of “radicalization” in the community, though she revealed that 17 FIRs have been registered against 38 Rohingya for various offences, including those related to “illegal border crossing.”
Originally from Myanmar, Rohingya have settled in India and Bangladesh since 1990s, fleeing persecution from the army and the government in their country.
“There are so many other refugees settled in India. The Rohingyas should be allowed to live a peaceful life in Jammu till the Supreme Court and the government of India decides on their stay. These refugees need to be protected by the state government till their case is decided,” said Mir.
He cautioned that the tirade against the refugees would end up aggravating the situation in J&K. “We should let them live peacefully,” said Mir.
Terming the “hate campaign” launched against Rohingyas as “disturbing and condemnable” Mir said Rohingyas are most persecuted community, and “not radicalized as is being falsely portrayed by some local politicians”.
“Such a campaign against them has exhibited a low communal posture for political gains. It is against the very essence of customary International law and perhaps unfortunately this is being done purely because Rohingyas are Muslims.
“The country should live up to its own constitution by exhibiting human values and stop capitalizing on the growing trend of hate and electoral gains,” said Mir.

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