Jammu: In first ever official statement since the detention of Rohingya refugees in Jammu earlier this month, the Union Territory administration has said that “process for their deportation to the country of origin has been initiated.”
In a surprise move, the police authorities has on March 6, 2020 summoned hundreds of Rohingya refugees to MA Sports Stadium in Jammu with no one, including many in the administration, having any clear idea of the purpose. After daylong of mystery and suspense over hundred of them were transported in buses away from Jammu city.
It later turned out that the authorities had detained the Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim refugees and taken them to a sub jail in Hiranagar town of Kathua which had been notified by the Home Department of Jammu and Kashmir as ‘holding centre’.
No official statement on the day of detention or at any point since then has been issued by the Jammu and Kashmir administration on the process and criteria of detention of the Rohingya refugees or their subsequent internment at the holding centre.
Even as the event has been widely reported by the local, national and international press as also a petition has since been heard by the Supreme Court, but the first ever official information from the Jammu and Kashmir administration comes today following visit of Jammu’s new Divisional Commissioner to the holding centre in Hiranagar.
An official handout detailing the visit of Divisional Commissioner Raghav Langar to the holding center in Hiranagar makes no mention of the identity of the internees, their number or the country of origin as it concludes at the end of the visit: “It is pertinent to mention that as per the provision of Foreigners Act 1946 certain illegal immigrants have been kept at the notified holding centers by the authorities and the process for their deportation to the country of origin has been initiated.”
The official handout further said that the in-charge holding center apprised the Divisional Commissioner about the status of internees and the facilities being provided to the internees which include, inter-alia, telephone/interview facility, medical care and recreation facilities.
He informed the Divisional Commissioner that round the clock security arrangement is in place at the holding center and all necessary facilities to maintain the standard of living in consonance with human dignity like clean drinking water, electricity with generator, proper sanitation/drainage system, accommodation with proper bedding/lighting, etc., are available in the holding center. He informed that a special medical diet is being provided to pregnant women, old and infirm internees.
The Div Com expressed satisfaction over the facilities being provided to the internees by the authorities. He took a round of various sections including school, vocational centre, playing area & other sections of the holding centre. He also interacted with the inmates and inquired about their wellbeing.
The Div Com also directed the CEO, CMO, ICDS and other line departments to provide all necessary support and facilities at the holding centre as per guidelines issued in this regard.
The Divisional Commissioner was accompanied by Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, Rahul Yadav; SSP Kathua, R.C. Kotwal; Staff Officer to DG Prisons, Saba Shawl; CMO, CEO, besides senior officers of Handicraft, Social Welfare, Municipality, Sports and other concerned.