January 7, 2019
Days after India deported a Rohingya Muslim family of five lodged at an Assam prison to Myanmar, Saudi Arabia on Sunday prepared to send scores of Rohingyas to Bangladesh.
Rohingyas, some of whom have already spent five to six years in Saudi detention, were being are lined up for deportation at the Shumaisi detention centre in Jeddah on Sunday, reported the Middle East Eye.
According to video footage sent to Middle East Eye, a detainee, speaking in Rohingya, could be heard saying, that he has been in Saudi Arabia for the past six years and is now being sent to Bangladesh, where he, like other Rohingyas, will become refugees.
“I’ve been here for the last five to six years, now they are sending me to Bangladesh. Please pray for me,” he said.
Some of them were also put in handcuffs after they reportedly attempted to resist their deportation to Bangladesh, according to the voice notes sent to the Middle East Eye.
Another voice note said: “They came to our cells in the middle of the night, telling us to pack our bags, and get ready for Bangladesh. They put handcuffs on me and now making us wait.”
According to Rohingya activist Nay San Lwin, if these Rohingya detainees are released in Saudi Arabia, they can support their families held in refugee camps in Bangladesh, instead of being deported to Bangladesh.
“They are not criminals to be held in handcuffs, and I am very sad to see them being treated like criminals by the Saudi authorities… Now they will be sent to refugee camps and will increase the number of refugees in Bangladesh,” Lwin was quoted as saying.
Many Rohingya locked up in the Shumaisi detention centre reportedly went to Saudi Arabia on Bangladeshi passports, obtained via fake documents. Some of them have also reportedly entered the country on passports from Bhutan, India, Pakistan and Nepal.
On January 3, India deported a family of five Rohingyas lodged at an Assam prison to Myanmar. A day before that a Rohingya Muslim migrant from Myanmar’s Rakhine state who was kept at Ambala jail in Haryana, was sent back.
They were reportedly handed over to Myanmarese authorities at the border check point in Manipur’s Moreh town.
This was the second batch of Rohingya immigrants sent to Myanmar. A batch of seven Myanmar nationals, believed to be Rohingya Muslims, were handed over to their country in October last year through the Manipur border after the Supreme Court refused to stop the first such deportation from India.
As many as 10 others still await deportation at Tezpur jail in Assam.
Rohingya Muslims escaping persecution in Myanmar and entering India has become a bone of contention between the Indian government and human rights activists. While the government dubs them as a “security threat”, law-enforcement agencies in various states have been instructed to to arrest them upon identification.
In December last year, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said in the Rajya Sabha about some of these illegal immigrants living in the country illegally after fraudulently obtaining Indian identity documents such as Aadhaar card, pan card and even passports.
In 2017, the Centre had informed Parliament that over 14,000 Rohingya people, registered with the UN refugee agency UNHCR stay in India.
According to government sources, most Rohingya immigrants have been staying in Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka and Kerala.