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Fear strikes: Rohingyas start leaving their only camp in West Bengal

At the camp in in South 24 Parganas district. Indian Express photo.

By Muslim Mirror Staff

KOLKATA : As some 40,000 Rohingya refugees in India are fearing a possible deportation threat, some of them living in the only camp for them in West Bengal have already started to leave out of fear of crackdown by government agencies and Police.

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Earlier Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who chaired the 23rd meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council on October 1 in Kolkata which was attended by West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had  said that states have been asked to identify Rohingya refugees and collect their biometric data, the report of which will be sent to Myanmar.

Out of the 29 men, women and children from eight families, only 12 people from three families currently remain in the camp. Hussain Gazi, head of the organisation that set up the camp in 2017, says the camp is likely to be dismantled.

“They have read reports and are in fear. They have started to leave over the past two weeks. They have faced atrocities in Myanmar and say they will be killed if they return. They have told me that they would rather commit suicide here if they are forced to return than be hacked to death there. In Assam, Rohingya are detained and pushed back to Myanmar,” said Gazi to The Indian Express.

According to Gazi, the Rohingya panicked following a recent advisory by the Centre to the state governments to identify Rohingya and collect their biometrics. “The recent developments in Assam, where seven Rohingya were sent back to Myanmar has added to the fear.”

More than 650,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine in August 2017 after Myanmar’s army launched a massive crackdown in its northern state, retaliating the attacks by insurgents, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on the country’s police posts and a military base.

 

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