Hyderabad: According to the IB and the Hyderabad police, Rohingya Muslims who are either unregistered or attain unrenewed refugee cards with the UNHCR, pose a serious security threat to the state. There are about 3,800 registered refugees in the three police commisionerates of Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda. But around 300 to 400 Rohingyas who migrated from Myanmar have no refugee card and are still considered illegals.
“Even those having refugee cards are not supposed to have voter ID card or ration card and should not avail benefits meant for Indian citizens. However, our investigations found that many of them have got voter ID and ration cards. We have booked four cases recently for obtaining these cards,” said DCP V Satyanarayana said about an alert which has been received from the Centre. “Refugees enter India via the porous Bangla border,” he added.
Police said the Counter Intelligence wing is monitoring three Rohingyas for links with ISIS suspects in the city. Mr Satyanarayana said, “Two or the three are under our scanner for activities linked to terror. Unauthorised Rohingyas pose a serious security threat.”
“There are about 10,000 Rohingyas in Kolkata. Hyderabad is the second largest shelter for them, particularly Balapur, Pahadishareef, Hafeezbabanagar, Kishanbagh and Bahadur-pura,” he added.
On August 5, the police conducted a search on 22 families of Rohingyas living in Asadbabanagar and arrested six of them all were having a valid UNHCR refugee card. They were released on station bail.
UNHCR runs a refugee facilitation centre in the city along with COVA – “Confederation of Voluntary Associations”. “Without local help these refugees can’t get voter ID cards and ration cards. There are instances where they have got passports too. We are asking the police to take action against such people and also against agents and officials who aid them,” said Mazhar Hussain COVA director.
But, as he points out pertinently, “The government and its agencies should differentiate between refugees and illegals. There are international conventions regarding refugees.”
Most importantly he pointed out restrictions placed on refugees is forcing them to opt for illegal methods to survive. For example, the refugee card does not entitle them to get a SIM card or open a bank account. “No one can live without a SIM card these days, so to obtain the SIM card they are trying to get voter ID cards,” Mr Hussain explained.
The fact of the matter is that most of the refugees are daily workers who earn Rs 400 to Rs 500 a day. Some of them get funds from their relatives abroad. As they don’t have bank accounts, they get money through ‘hawala’. “The government should allow them to have SIM cards and open bank accounts with the refugee cards so that these illegal activities can be curbed,” Mr Hussain said.
“Refugee cards are given after rigorous verification. Police is free to take action against those who are staying illegally but it will be gross injustice to send back those who are holding refugee cards as they face serious threat to their lives back in their country,” Hussain added.
“We have not come across a single instance of anti-national activity among refugees here,” said Hussain.