Hated For Religion

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Few months ago hoarding surfaced in the temple city of Jammu against few thousand Rohingya Muslims asking them to vacate Jammu or face dire consequences.

Even president of Jammu Chamber of Commerce, Rakesh Gupta issued a death threat to Rohingyas who are living in slums at Jammu. These hoarding were erected by National Panthers Party (NPP), a small Jammu based mainstream party that has been winning few seats in the region, however, during last elections the party lost even in its bastion to the BJP.

Lost with its political slogans especially on Dogra issues in Jammu, the National Panthers Party leaders took the issue of Rohingya Muslims living in city with an aim to revive its political fortunes in the region. Though leaders of Panthers Party vehemently oppose the Rohingyas who are living in Jammu and registered with UNHCR, the party is fighting for the citizenship rights of West Pakistan Refugees who came from Pakistan and now are settled in Jammu and are around 3 lakhs.

Rohingyas are the most persecuted community in the world which is now even acknowledged by the United Nations. They face death, destruction, mass rapes from the army and Buddhist monks who want them to leave the place where they have been living for centuries. They have even been denied basic rights and thousands of their houses have been set ablaze in the last one month. Such is the trauma on them that more than three lakh Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh in past few weeks and are struggling for survival.

“If the government does not deport Rohingyas, we will identify and kill them,” Rakesh says without any emotions towards the displaced and hapless community. “Otherwise, people will have no choice but to deport them under the  law. It can be civil war or communal riots.” Said Rakesh Gupta . “They want to change Jammu into an Islamic state which will not be tolerated by the people.”

Though more than 40000 Rohingyas are living in India around more than 5700 live in Jammu and many of them are registered with UNHCR. These Rohingya Muslims had come to Jammu with a hope they could go to neighbouring Pakistan, however due to strictness on border and the LoC they got struck in Jammu and now are living in a miserable conditions at Qasim Nagar and Narwal areas.

In February this year, Hunar Gupta, a member of the BJP’s legal cell filed a PIL in the J&K high court asking for their deportation, citing ‘national security’ reasons. Since then the members of community are facing threats from various quarters especially from those Hindu religious groups. Recently, the shanties of these Rohingyas were set ablaze by unidentified people triggering a panic and insecurity among the refugees. The J&K government has registered every individual who live in these makeshift camps and are keeping close watch on them, however, still Hindu religious groups supported by BJP and RSS are trying to bully them.

 “The Rohingyas living in Jammu are poor and the most persecuted community on the earth. Their presence is felt threat to the security of region on the grounds of their religious identity given to the recent stir against them by some right wing political groups.

They don’t look towards them on humantrain basis,’’ said a human rights activist based in Jammu. “First of all we are humans and everyone knows how badly these Rohingyas are treated in Myanmar. If they are deported to their country they will be killed.

For centuries, India was known for democracy. We gave refuge to Buddhists from Tibet, people from Afghanistan unfortunately now things are changing in this country that is against humanity.’’

We are living under fear since our makeshift huts were set ablaze. If somebody comes to our place we can’t fight them. At least we can save our lives by raising alarm,’’ said one of the Rohingya living in Jammu. “We are opposed because we are Muslims. The people in J&K should look towards us as humans and not to identify by our religion. For us it is better to die here than go to Myanmar where everyone from our community is being humiliated and then killed.’’

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