5-member Rohingya family held in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: Five members of a Rohingya family, who arrived here from Hyderabad, has been taken into custody, police said Tuesday.

This comes days after the Centre directed the states to be cautious and observe the movements of the Rohingya, citing national security.

“The presence of Rohingya is confined not only to the northeastern states. They have reached south Indian states including Kerala,” Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had recently said, calling all Rohingya in India “illegal immigrants.”

The five, including a woman and a toddler, were picked up from Vizhinjam Tuesday and are being questioned, police said.

They told police they arrived here from Hyderabad by train Monday and left for Vizhinjam by road. Speaking in Hindi, one of them told a TV channel: “We heard that we will get good jobs here. The sea is also nearby… there we do not get good wages for our work.”

Talking tough on the issue, Singh, during his recent visit to Kerala, had said all states, including Kerala, have been asked to collect data related to Rohingya as they have moved to different parts of the country. State governments have been asked to observe their movements and obtain their personal details so they could be deported to Myanmar, Singh said.

Singh, who recently said all Rohingya in India were “illegal immigrants” as none of them had applied for asylum as refugees, had also asked opposition parties not to make it a “political issue.”

Hundreds of minority Rohingya have been killed in the northern Rakhine province of Myanmar by the military in alleged ethnic cleansing, setting of an exodus with lakhs taking shelter in camps in Bangladesh.

Many of them are also living in India. Singh had earlier said India would not be violating any international law if it were to deport Rohingya as New Delhi is not a signatory to the UN Refugees Convention, 1951.