Rohingya refugees attacked, shacks burnt in Jammu

Srinagar, April 15: Strongly condemning the torching of seven shacks of Rohingya Muslims by certain communal elements in Bhagwati Nagar in Jammu, the High Court Bar Association here on Saturday described it as distressing and horrifying crime.

A Rohingya camp in Jammu (Greater Kashmir)

Bashir Sidiq, General Secretary of the Bar Association, in a statement here on April 15 described the statement of certain police officials stating that it was a case of short circuit as false and an attempt on their part to protect the criminals who had committed the distressing and horrifying crime.

The shacks were reduced to ashes in a fire that broke out under mysterious circumstances in their settlement at Bhagwati Nagar in Jammu during wee hours of April 14.No loss of life or injury was reported as a result of the fire.

The issue has snowballed into a major controversy after Jammu Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI) president, Rakesh Gupta, on April 7in Jammu threatened to launch “identify and kill” campaign against Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis to force them to leave Jammu and other areas of the state where they are living temporarily. Gupta has been quoted as saying, “If this is not done, we would be left with no option but to launch a movement “identify and kill” against foreign settlers who are criminals across the state. It would not be an offence if they are pushed over to death (Maut kye ghaat utarayn gay) since they are not citizens of this state.” The next day Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (Inc) threatened of dire consequences and warned that same could be applicable to the West Pakistan Refugees as well. Even the High Court Bar Association had on April 8, described the threat by JCCI president “intemperate, arbitrary, ruthless and barbaric.” The Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has assured action against JCCI leaders for threatening and intimidating Rohingya refugees.

Following widespread condemnation, JCCI president on April 9 retracted and said that he meant to ‘identify’ and ‘kill’ the issue. The JCCI president had been quoted as saying “the hard words ‘identify and kill’ used in our press note yesterday were meant to identify these foreign settlers and take effective measures to kill the issue, which otherwise may result into rioting someday and it could lead to loss of precious human lives.” Almost a week later, a Rohingya family in Patta Bohri, on the outskirts of Jammu was thrashed and threatened to leave the state, said media-reports.

Pertinently, there are around 5,700 Rohingya refugees in Jammu as per official reports.

Hoarding in Jammu threatens Rohingyas to leave the area