Assam: Cachar district on NIA radar over Rohingya trafficking
A team of the National Investigation Agency is in Silchar to question the Rohingya Muslims arrested last week for travelling from Jammu to the South Assam town without valid travel papers. From Silchar, they “planned” to enter neighbouring Bangladesh.
A senior official said an NIA team reached Silchar in South Assam’s Cachar district on Thursday. Sources said the team “visited” the detention/transit centre in Silchar where the Rohingya refugees were being kept since their arrest on Saturday night. The arrested included 12 minors.
Two more groups of Rohingya refugees, a minority Muslim group from Myanmar, were arrested in Tripura (24) and West Bengal (13) before they could sneak into Bangladesh from Tripura which, also shares border with the neighbouring country. Like the group arrested in Silchar, these two groups had also been residing in Jammu for many years.
Sources said the NIA, a central counter-terrorism agency under the Union ministry of home affairs, has been keeping a close eye on the bordering districts of Assam, among others, following the registration of a case on December 27 involving trafficking of Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh to India on forged Indian documents.
Cachar SP Ramandeep Singh Dhillon had on Sunday claimed the Rohingya Muslims arrested last week had been residing in Jammu for many years, were planning to enter Bangladesh and were in touch with a person from Silchar whom they are trying to locate to unearth their plan.
Sources said a “reverse” migration is at present underway, facilitated by a section which too needed to be probed and curbed.
A reason for them leaving India could be the BJP-led central government viewing them as illegal immigrants who are also threat to national security. The Rohingya Muslims find Bangladesh a safe bet. There are over 40,000 Rohingya Muslims in the country.
In March, the NIA arrested six persons, including five from Cachar district for their alleged involvement in the trafficking of Rohingya refugees to India on forged papers. The racket was operating in Assam, Bengal and Meghalaya, states sharing their border with Bangladesh.
The five arrested from Cachar district included Kumkum Ahmed Choudhury (arrested in Bengalore), Sahalam Laskar, Ahiya Ahmed Choudhury, Jamaluddin Ahmed Choudhury. One person -Wanbiang Suting - hailed from Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district.
Assam has 262-km border with Bangladesh of which Karimganj shares 92km and Cachar around 30km. The distance from Silchar town to the border in Katigorah is about 30km.
The Bangladesh government has expressed concern over Rohingya refugees entering the country from India. Dhaka had sent a formal note to India in May to stop the their entry.
At an event in Guwahati in May, Bangladesh foreign minister A.K. Abdul Momen had also sought the help of India to repatriate Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar for their overstay could only lead to extremism affecting stability in the region.
Bangladesh shelters over 1.1 million Rohingya refugees, mostly from the Rakhine district of Buddhist-majority Myanmar, fleeing to escape persecution, mostly since 2017. Myanmar sees them as illegal migrants despite them living in that country for generations.